Covent Garden Market: 1968-1974

Anyone who has visited Covent Garden Market in Central London in the last twenty-five years or more will be aware that it is now a place of street performers, trendy small shops, popular pubs and restaurants, and is normally packed full of tourists. But it was originally a market specialising in the wholesale of fruits and vegetables and fresh flowers. I found this series of photos online, all taken by a keen photographer, Clive Boursnell.

The main Market Hall.

‘Clive Boursnell’s photos of Old Covent Garden Market, captured between 1968 and 1974, are a marvel to behold, his beautifully observed reportage capturing the myriad sights, characters and details making up central London’s main market in its final years.’

All images © Clive Boursnell

A porter rushing by with a heavily laden barrow. Clive caught his speed by blurring the image.

A trader talking to his horse. The horse seems to like him.

Two female market workers.

A trendy young couple with boxes of flowers.

A dandy of a man with his Dalmatian dog.

This local nun was shopping for flowers.

A tired-looking woman sitting next to her wares.

This dapper trader reads his newspaper as he waits for the next customer.

Two women in identical cardigans tying heather into bunches. They are probably East European or Gypsies, and would sell the heather on the streets.

A smart modern woman ties up her flower boxes.

This dealer’s display was sure to catch the eye of shoppers.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: A


I know, it’s a strange choice. Who doesn’t like apples?

At one time, I loved to eat them. My two favourite varieties were Worcester and Granny Smith.


Granny Smith.

I was also known to eat a Pink Lady apple, and sometimes a Braeburn. In my thirties, I might eat as many as four apples a day. They were easy to eat when I was working, and stopped me choosing bad things like doughnuts instead.

But years of shift work and hurried meals began to take their toll. I started to suffer from stomach pains caused by gastric reflux. A legacy of fast foods, and eating far too late at night. I was sure that apples were good for me, so carried on eating them as I avoided other foods that I thought were making me ill. But my doctor told me something I was unaware of. Apples are naturally hard to digest. They are fibrous, and contain a lot of natural fruit acids. He told me to avoid them, along with fresh pineapples too.

And a visit to my dentist led to more discoveries. I should not be eating apples without brushing my teeth after, or the fruit acid would linger, and affect the enamel. He also advised me that fresh pineapple was potentially damaging to my gums. I was in a busy job with the emergency services, and certainly had no chance to brush my teeth every time I had eaten something. So the apples had to go.

Every so often, I do allow myself some apple strudel, or a small portion of apple pie. Once the apples have been cooked, they don’t seem to affect me so badly.

But apples are on this list now. Sorry, apples.