Tucked away in Vinegar Yard, by London Bridge Station, you’ll find the feel of a European flea market right in the city
Katie Smith, who manages Flea on a day-to-day basis, talks us through what customers can find at the flea market, as well as sustainable shopping and where to get a bite to eat once you’re done mooching the stalls.
What is the story of Flea so far?
Katie Smith: Owner Christian Scrimgeour had been living in Spain and, on her return to London, was inspired to set up a vintage market based on the markets she enjoyed while there. There were not many markets of this style at that time.
We opened our first market in 2016. It was an outdoor market at Flat Iron Square, which was partly a car park at the time. Traders would drive in with their vans and we had a great selection of stalls selling furniture and weird and wonderful objects they found mainly on their travels to Europe.
The market moved to Vinegar Yard in 2019 and started to include more artisan makers. The market has a vibrant community feel, and being a small market means that visitors can shop in a relaxed environment.
What can customers find at Flea?
Customers will find a fantastic selection of jewellery, vintage clothing, ceramics, handmade accessories, art, upcycled goods and vinyl.
All of our traders are independent small businesses, and many are regulars who have been market traders for many years.
To name a few, there is Gloria, who sells a fabulous range of vintage costume jewellery to suit all budgets, jeweller Sharla who makes gorgeous one-of-a-kind pieces in her studio in Hastings, Jacqui who sells a cornucopia of vintage clothing and treasures from around the world.
All of our traders have a tale to tell, and customers will love hearing their stories as much as the products they’re selling.
Why should people visit?
You should visit because it’s a great community of traders, and you’ll be supporting small businesses by buying directly. At Flea, you can find one-off treasures that you won’t find on the increasingly homogenous high street. Being quite small makes shopping a more leisurely and enjoyable experience with less pressure. We are also dog-friendly!
Why is shopping more sustainably so important these days?
Customers should shop at Flea because they care about reducing waste, the environment and preserving the planet for future generations. We also believe it is vital to support independent traders and for people to be able to start up new businesses within an inclusive platform. It is cheaper to buy directly from the maker as well as being a more interesting experience for the buyer to meet the designer.
Do you have any recommendations for post-wandering around Flea?
While at Flea, customers can enjoy a delicious lunch from one of Vinegar Yard’s many street food traders, and a drink or two from the bar. You should also take some time to take in the extraordinary sculptures from Joe Rush inside the building, as well as the iconic mechanical ants on the train, which sits above the entrance.
72-82 St Thomas Street, SE1 3QX
Sponsored by Team London Bridge