23 April 2013
Waterloo Quarter unveils new ‘roaming’ market stall inspired by 16th century street market structure and chicken fortune tellers
Waterloo’s commuters, shoppers and locals took part in a St George’s Day celebration with a twist today when the area’s new roaming market stall was unveiled. Inspired by ‘totem’ structures found on London’s historic street markets and Lambeth’s rich history of fortune tellers and mystics the new multi-functional stall is part of the continued rejuvenation of Lower Marsh Market. Onlookers enjoyed performances from the Belles of London City, an all-female quartet of corseted Morris dancers, and took turns having their fortune told by Mystic Timberlina and her chicken fortune telling machine from the stall’s covered seating area. Going forward the new stall will act as a local information point, a portable anchor around which new satellite markets can be staged and a signage tool to help draw people through the area.
Designed by aberrant architecture the new satellite market stall is a multi-functional stall incorporating a covered seated area with built-in chess board, a stage on the roof for perfomances and a special ‘chicken’ signpost. The stall is inspired by drawings of ‘totem’ structures found in Hugh Alley’s idiosyncratic 16th century ‘A Caveatt for the Citty of London which were used as markers around which different traders assembled, often representing the part of the country where the produce was from. In addition the stall’s design is influenced by Lambeth’s history as a market area renowned for fortune tellers and mystics. The giant chicken sign being used at the top of the structure reflects stories of chickens being used to tell people’s fortunes, a tradition that goes back to Roman times. The sign is also formed of images of livestock, food and household items all sold on the ‘New Cut’ market according to records from 1849.
Commissioned by Waterloo Quarter Business Improvement District (BID) as part of its continued rejuvenation of Lower Marsh Market (one of London’s most historic markets), the stall is being delivered as part of Waterloo Quarter’s ‘Portas Pilot’ project for Lower Marsh and The Cut. The Waterloo Portas Town Team Pilot is funded by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and delivered by Waterloo Quarter BID in collaboration with the London Borough of Lambeth.
Talking about plans for the new stall, Helen Santer, Chief Executive of Waterloo Quarter Business Improvement District said: “The idea behind the stall is for it to complement the existing shops in Lower Marsh and on The Cut by directing people around the area and promoting Waterloo as a vibrant shopping destination. It will be moved around the wider area to act as a satellite sign-post for the Lower Marsh Market and play an active role at events like the Waterloo Food Festival.”
Kevin Haley from aberrant architecture was one of the designers of the stall and said: “It’s really exciting to see the stall unveiled today, and being used in such a playful way. We really wanted to challenge the idea of how a sign could become a physical experience and weave together the richness of the area’s past with the street’s character now. We were inspired by the history of the London’s historic markets but also wanted to celebrate Lower Marsh as one of London’s great independent streets.”