By Alex Jones
VINTAGE photos of one of London’ oldest markets, where entrepreneur and businessman Alan Sugar first set out his stall, show the hustle and bustle of the capital city in the 1950s.
Remarkable photos, captured in 1957 in Petticoat Lane in the East End, show a flamboyant hawker showing off his display of tropical birds and cages, a crateload of impossibly adorable puppies for sale, and a cigarette smoking vendor standing impatiently by his collection of historic medals waiting for a sale.
Other striking images show a throng of punters looking to grab a bargain and the self-proclaimed mayor of petticoat lane flogging his blankets.
The world-renowned market dates back hundreds of years, from at least the early 1700s. Somewhat confusingly, the name ‘Petticoat Lane’ no longer exists on modern maps but is a hangover from the Victorian era. According to some sources, the name was changed to avoid upsetting some punters with very conservative sensibilities. It’s now listed as Middlesex Street.
The market still attracts crowds of clients every week and has over 1,000 stalls, mainly specialising in clothes and household goods but with something for everyone.
The market was also where a 16-year-old Alan Sugar first started his own business before opening his computer company Amstrad aged 21 in 1968. His business acumen must have been apparent from a very early age as Petticoat Lane is renowned for the ‘patter’ and showmanship of the stallholders, making it difficult to stand out from the crowd.