It was a delight to host over 100 people in celebration of our wholesale food markets: Billingsgate, Smithfield and Spitalfields.
It causes reflection, and I’m happy to say some pride as I look back on three years as chairman, and before that two years as your deputy chairman of the markets. I feel we have achieved much to be proud of, and whilst there is always healthy tension in talking as landlord with our tenants I believe we have very good relations and the tenants know I am a great champion of our markets.
When I offered myself as your Deputy and later Chairman I did so on the basis of the one thing everyone warned me to stay away from – moving any of the markets – in particular the sacred cow of Smithfield.
Well I’m happy to say I have yet to be weigh laid late at night or in the early hours by butchers with cleavers, or fishmongers with knives, nor threatened with sharp and pointy fruit…instead I’ve found a great appetite for the long term future success of our markets, and a welcome willingness to discuss what each market and their traders needs for the future… we will I’m sure be looking at proposals for parliament later in the year that I hope sees us invest in the long term future of the greatest wholesale markets in our country….and a fabulous new market in Dagenham.
London’s wholesale food markets are a vital part of the supply chain feeding London, and the South East, as well as playing a key role in our national and international food chain. Challenges abound for our food industry with changing relationships in Europe, and now the Covid19 outbreak, yet everyone was in positive mood and optimistic for our plans to build a new wholesale market in Dagenham. It was also a pleasure to hear the views and thoughts of our guest speaker Lance Forman of H Forman & Sons, London’s smoked salmon company behind the ‘London Cured Salmon’ which is a Protected Geographic Indication awarded to products of specific geographic origin and unique qualities and reputation, a great example of the UK food offer and London’s place in our food industry.