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Stokey’s markets draw a huge crowd 

Moochers in search of the unique and unusual need look no further than Stoke Newington’s market scene.

Thousands of people recently flocked to the area the for the monthly Hackney Flea Market, after a social media post went viral. The market, which has amassed more than 100,000 followers on social media, recently celebrated its 10th birthday.

It’s run by Mark Farhall – having just taken voluntary redundancy from the National Gallery, he was looking for the next big project in 2013 when his landlord, who also owned Abney Hall, spotted his collection of vintage furniture, and suggested running a market there.

He said: “People find us on Instagram and they come from all over the country. It definitely brings tourists to the area.

“Last year we started a TikTok account and one post went viral – it had more than a million views. I don’t employ anyone to run the social media – it’s just everyday footage of all the things I find interesting.

“I really enjoy running this business; especially the art side – it’s such a joy.”

Hackney Flea Market is open once a month in Abney Hall, selling vintage furniture, home décor and lighting. Mark also runs DIY Art Shop in Dalston, selling artwork, homewares and accessories by artists from around the world.

The Women Will Create market, which also runs regularly out of Abney Hall, is another huge draw to the area.  Founder Rebecca Dickson launched it in 2021, giving women makers somewhere to sell their work.

She said: “Stoke Newington is definitely a destination for markets. Vendors are always very excited to come here because it has such a good reputation. It’s such a Saturday or Sunday activity; having a wander, picking up some bread and heading to a market. This area has such a community feel.

“We get a lot of passing footfall, but we know a lot of people come especially.”

Rebecca’s love of markets began when, as a child she’d head to the craft fairs at Ally Pally or to Spitalfields.

She added: “There’s something about buying something not everyone else can get.”

When she’s not running markets, Rebecca, who trained as a copy-writer, works for a charity helping tackle youth homelessness in the UK.

Other local markets include the Local Makers Market, Stokey Vegan Market and the Growing Communities Farmers’ Market (every Saturday, 10am-2.30pm).

Heidi Early, Chair of Stoke Newington Business Association, said: “Our local market scene ticks all the boxes for those who love a mooch and who are on the lookout for beautiful and unique items. There’s a lot to be said for the experience good markets can offer and, with our brilliant cafes, quirky independent stores and nature reserves, it’s easy to make a whole day of it.  We’re thankful to Mark and Rebecca and all the other local market entrepreneurs – the quality and character of these markets are really helping to put Stokey on the map!


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