Gone but not forgotten: The legacy of Dagenham Market lives on
PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:14 28 July 2020
Ken Mears Photography
Dagenham Market may now be closed after 18 years as a community mainstay, but its legacy lives on.
Since the closure was confirmed in June, many traders and customers have made Romford Market their new place to work or visit.
The Post caught up with a few people from that category on Sunday (July 26), who all spoke fondly of what Dagenham Market meant to them.
Richard Green was one of the 20-plus Dagenham traders who relocated to Romford as part of a trial by Havering Council to open the market every Sunday.
A trader since the age of 13, Richard said: “We’ve actually had quite a few customers from Dagenham who have come across to see us.”
Part of this is driven by what Richard sells; larger-sized menswear, which is “not easy to get”.
This gives the lifelong trader “a bit of a niche following”.
For Richard, seeing those familiar faces softens the blow of losing Dagenham Market.
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Another trader to relocate was Safrian Biag, who moved his perfume stall to Romford after two years at Dagenham Market.
Safrian described its loss as “really sad”.
He said: “They [Dagenham Sunday Market owners] were going to stop; they had about six months remaining, but looking at the current situation, they decided they couldn’t carry on.”
He is thankful that, despite a new location, “the types of customers are still the same”.
The market has also been missed by customers.
Dagenham resident Sian Nye — out shopping with mum Christine Hooper, son Louie Harding and niece Maisie Kew — misses the “buzz” of Dagenham Market, once Britain’s biggest outdoor venue with more than 600 stalls.
Though Romford isn’t too far away, there is definitely something missing in Dagenham without the market.
The official line given for the closure was that it would be impossible to comply with social distancing regulations, despite the efforts of owners Charfleets who explored “every possible option”.
The letter confirming the closure said: “We cannot see a financially workable and safe way forward. Therefore, we have to sadly announce that the market will not be reopening in September.”
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