Chapel Market

Chapel Market, Islington

A thriving but threatened street market, located off the southern end of Liverpool Road, near the Angel, Islington

Chapel Market, 29 March 2014, Paul Hudson

At the close of the 18th cen­tu­ry town­hous­es with rear gar­dens were built along what was then Chapel Street, when it formed the east­ern bound­ary of the new sub­urb of Pen­tonville. A fire engine house was erect­ed in 1792 and height­ened in 1822; it sur­vives today but in poor con­di­tion.

The essay­ist Charles Lamb lived at two address­es in Chapel Street in the late 1790s.

To the annoy­ance of the well-heeled res­i­dents, coster­mon­gers began to sell their wares along the street dur­ing the 19th cen­tu­ry and by the 1860s a ful­ly-fledged and rel­a­tive­ly rep­utable mar­ket was in oper­a­tion. Offi­cial des­ig­na­tion as a street mar­ket came in 1879.

Chapel Mar­ket in March 2014*

Three years lat­er John James Sains­bury opened his first Isling­ton store at 48 Chapel Street, man­aged for a while by his eldest son, John Ben­jamin. The ven­ture was so suc­cess­ful that the Sains­burys opened three more shops in the street, includ­ing their first branch spe­cial­is­ing in poul­try and game.

By the 1890s Chapel Street had one of the two largest mar­kets in the Clerken­well and Isling­ton areas, divid­ed rough­ly equal­ly between food and non-food stalls. Fur­ni­ture, earth­en­ware, sec­ond-hand cloth­ing and drap­ery were among the most pop­u­lar mer­chan­dise. The coun­cil renamed the street Chapel Mar­ket in 1936.

A few main­stream retail­ers and fast food out­lets now occu­py premis­es towards the east­ern end of the street but for the most part this remains a tra­di­tion­al and unpre­ten­tious mar­ket, sell­ing main­ly house­hold goods and food. It is open every day except Mon­day. Despite its con­tin­u­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty, Chapel Mar­ket is vul­ner­a­ble to a future change of use owing to the high val­ue of land in Isling­ton.

Madame Vasso, former medium to Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, gave tarot readings at a sanctum in Chapel Market in the mid-1980s.

Postal district: N1


*The colour and black and white pictures of Chapel Market on this page are reformatted from original photographs at Flickr, both copyright Paul Hudson, made available under the Attribution 2.0 Generic licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.