Winds of Change:

A Tale of Bermondsey’s Survival

A Film By Eloise Stringer


Project Info

Winds of Change

The documentary film: Winds of Change focuses on Bermondsey Antiques Market in London, situated in Bermondsey Square, which has been operating on its current site since 1947. Since its opening it has undergone rapid environmental change and progressive decline, due in part to the rapid urbanisation, gentrification and the harsh microclimate of the city and river. This has put it in precarious circumstances.

The documentary details the transition of the market from Caledonian Road in Islington (1855-1947) - the market’s heyday - to its current site post war. It hints at the glitz and glamour of the celebrities who used to frequent it as well as and its mysterious past of the ‘marche ouvert’ law - making it legal to sell stolen goods before day-break.

From the times of 100,000 punters a day; today it is upheld by a devoted core of around 30 traders.

The film features narratives from the past and present, using archival material and sources gained from spending time with the community, of which I am part. In order to be able to understand its current state and predict its future. The documentary looks back into traditional ways of life and how they struggle to remain today.

It interrogates what it means to live a life on ‘stones’ of the market on the edge of society and details oral stories of traders who have had generations of their families live and work there. Every Friday, wind or shine, through rough winters and optimistic summers, they remain and fight for its continuation despite unceasing ‘trials and tribulations’.