Recently our local traditional Saturday market has been invaded by some expensive yuppy newcomers selling trendy foodstuffs at greatly inflated prices.
OK, it has enlivened the depleted Battersea High Street market, which used to have many stalls and operated on Fridays as well as Saturdays. But are the newcomers the right kind of market for this street?
We’ve all heard of the wrong kind of leaves, snow and now sun which stops trains running on time at various times of the year, but now I’m worried that the wrong kind of market stalls in Battersea High Street will drive out the working-class traders on whom many of us rely for our fresh produce and cheap groceries/household products.
The regular stalls include a fruit and veg stall, a butcher’s van, a stall selling groceries and household products, plus the odd plant, CD and clothes stall. All very reasonable, even cheap.
The newcomers sell trendy yuppy-type foodstuffs at greatly inflated prices, of little interest to the working-class shoppers who use the other stalls.
Of course Battersea is now a very mixed area, with the white-dominated millionaires’ row along the River, the largely ethnic council estates where I live, and the oases of ex-council estates sold off to yuppies in order to obtain a permanent Tory majority in the borough.
Trendy wine bars and restaurants have already closed down traditional pie and mash shops, working-class cafes, barbers, etc. Trendy high-priced yuppy stalls have also ruined nearby Northcote Road market, where one used to be able to buy cheap fruit and veg and fish, etc.
If I wanted to pay £3+ for a loaf of bread or a tiny pie filled with yuppy muck and squalor instead of the working class steak, kidney and gravy then I’d go to Harrods or somewhere similar.
Battersea High Street (a misnomer for a narrow street with hardly any shops) is the last traditional, working-class market in the immediate area, and I just hope it isn’t driven out by the yuppy newcomers. Long gone are the costermongers who made up bargain lots and drew large crowds by shouting out as they did so.
I do hope I’m not reduced to buying all my fruit, veg and meat from the big supermarkets. Shopping in my local market every Saturday for these things not only saves me money, but is a traditional experience I’d be reluctant to forego.
Perhaps there’s room for both types of market in Battersea High Street, but I just hope the prices for a pitch are not raised so high they drive out the bargain stalls like they did in Northcote Road.
Anyone for a slice of spinach and ricotta quiche at £3.50 or so? No thanks, you can keep your posh tarts at your posh prices. Oh for an old-fashioned British meat pie with the gravy running down yer chin!