Covent Garden Market

The fine art of ducking and diving

 

My father worked as a porter in Covent Garden Market for most of his adult life, as did his father.

 

Harry Hutchins (left) and Albert McSweeney. Covent Garden circa 1950
Harry Hutchins (left) and Albert McSweeney. Covent Garden circa 1950
Covent Garden Market Enamel Porter's Badge
My father’s enamel Porter’s Badge
Covent Garden Market, circa 1963
Covent Garden Market, circa 1963

 

Taken sometime in the early 1960s, the above photograph shows my Dad, in the foreground, pulling a barrow and looking to his left. This was probably as a precaution, in case the Old Bill were doing their job. In its heyday, much of the activity in the market was centred around nicking anything that wasn’t nailed down.

My Dad preferred to describe his working day as one spent ducking and diving.

 

My father Albert McSweeney, Covent Garden Market, circa 1973
My father Albert McSweeney, Covent Garden Market, circa 1973

 

In 1974, when the market moved to Nine Elms in Vauxhall, the authorities installed CCTV. This proved to be a futile gesture as the cameras were immediately stolen. Alfred Hitchcock made use of these activities to great effect for one scene in his film ‘Frenzy’.

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