Our occasional contributor takes a sideways look at Spitalfields.
A Yankee at the stables
" Under a high, red, rubbed-brick arch that quietly looms over the wide, trendy, Tribeca-esque city street whose bleakly literal name, simply and persuasively bestowed, is “Commercial”, a few doors down from modern fashion house All Saints but light years away in style, is the narrow, tardis-like entrance to an astonishing survivor from another age. Inside, a towering courtyard opens out in a way that puts you in mind of an Italian opera house, with galleries and offices on three levels ascending under the wide span of a pitched slate and framed glass roof. Here was the old stable block that served Spitalfields Market and surrounding streets going back two hundred years or more, before the age of the modern motor vehicle, when goods were transported in and out of the wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower markets all by horse-drawn cart, and when I saw this great edifice some ten or so years ago now (though I do not know exactly what has become of it since), it was scarcely altered since those times."