If curry and creativity break Brick Lane into territories, the Sunday market knits it together.
In the 17th century the Brick Lane Market sold fruit and vegetables. In the 19th century it was a Jewish market, with a special dispensation to trade on Sunday.
These days the Brick Lane market defies shape, territory and definition. From daybreak to 2.p.m. it sprawls along Brick Lane in a riot of colour and noise. It spills up Petticoat Lane to Spittalfields. Bangladeshis, Iraqis, Ethiopians, Jewish, Polish, Russians, Chinese, and Cockney traders compete for custom. Food stalls, clothing, and fabric of every kind and ethnicity jostle for space with electrical appliances, household goods and nick-knacks, old and new. Garden supplies nudge works of art, flowers, crafts, trash and treasure, bargains and rip-offs.
The Brick Lane Festival, held every September also binds all the people and the cultures of Brick Lane. Established in 1996 as part of the East London city-side regeneration project, it now attracts more than 60,000 people. Every September Truman’s Dray walk becomes the Festival Food Village. Stalls and concerts showcase the diversity of community cultures. Fashion shows feature traditional Indian fabrics and clothing as well the latest British designs and textiles.
The Banglatown International Curry Festival takes place at the same time. New menus are launched and celebrity chefs fly in from all over the sub-continent to show off their skills.
To see Brck Lane in all its colours, drop by the Sunday Market and definitely, don’t miss the Brick Lane Festival in September.