Esoteric London

No. 217: The Piazza, WC2

Posted in Lettering, Markets by esotericlondon on December 28, 2010

The Piazza, Covent Garden, London, WC2. Photo © Roger Dean 2010

London Scenes – W.R. Titterton, 1920:

At midnight the market, Covent Garden Market, is empty, a serene shuttered solitude counting the quick footfalls of stray passengers. Yet it has an air of expectation; it seems on guard against the morrow.

In the early morning hours, up all the main ways of the Metropolis laden carts rumble from the country behind tired horses – carts piled mountain-high with crates, boxes, tubs, stacks of vegetables and fruits. A sleepy driver, cap pulled down well over the eyes, sacking or more luxurious horse-cloths pulled up above the waist, drowses at the reins.

In the open space about the market they gather – magically, from all quarters. Soon, in the blinkered low light of the market lamps you see rows of horses drinking from the troughs, or muzzling their way into a nosebag, while their drivers form groups of dancing Dervishes, stamping the feet, beating the arms across the chest. Darkly, as with an army encamping, the carts begin to unload.

See also post No. 123