Why Tufnell Park Food Market has now closed

Its last day was meant to be tomorrow but a lack of traders mean its gone for good. Founder Saira Baker explains why

In its prime. Photo: Stephen Emms
The Market back in 2013. Photo: Stephen Emms
Without fanfare, the Tufnell Park Food Market has, for now, slipped away. Its final appearance was meant to be tomorrow but a “lack of traders” has put an end to even that, says founder Saira Baker.

It opened in July 2011 and was a collaboration between the management of the Tufnell Park Tavern, Islington council & Tufnell Park Transitions who had been campaigning for a local market for sometime. This, if you recall, was before all the foodie openings on nearby Fortess Road.

And its audience grew steadily: on our many visits it was always buzzy, even mid-afternoon. We would pick up a chewy sourdough, and potter round Ted’s Veg, or peruse stalls selling good quality and ethical meat, eggs, pies, brownies, local honey and ice cream.

“As a food market the emphasis was on artisan producers which would also attract more customers to the Tavern itself,” says Saira. In 2015 she took on the responsibility of paying for the licence and overall running of the market in an attempt to keep it going for the community – once the Tavern decided to step away.

The first day of the market. Photo: Facebook
The first day of the market. Photo: Facebook
But with the rise of the mighty Fortess Road as shopping destination there’s been a simultaneous “big decrease in footfall”, she says. “It’s been very quiet since last year. We just don’t have enough interest anymore.”

“And then the closure of Tufnell Park station affected footfall greatly, which in turn created less interest in the market as a weekly event.”

So for now it’s gone. But in 2017, says Saira, there’s hope to bring Tufnell Park “a new, fresh, vibrant market in a different location”, which will encompass both community-based projects and local businesses alongside artisan producers and handcrafts.

If Tufnell Park is now saturated with high quality independent food shops, while nearby Parliament Hill’s own farmer’s market is always thriving, we say why not consider relocating it to Queen’s Crescent Market, which has been forlorn for the last year since being taken over – and subsequently left to its own devices – by Camden Council?

Just a thought. Let us know any other ideas you may have below.

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Keep up to date with Tufnell Park Food Market on Twitter @Tptfoodmarket & Facebook

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