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Petticoat Lane Market is a clothing market in East London. It consists of two adjacent street markets. Wentworth Street Market is open six days a week and Middlesex Street Market is open on Sunday only.
In the early 17th century, the area was a commercial district where second-hand clothes were sold and exchanged and became known as ‘Peticote Lane. When the Huguenots arrived it became a centre for manufacturing and selling clothes.
The late 19th Century saw the arrival of large numbers of Jewish Immigrants who settled in the area. At the end of the 19th century and early 20th century the market become an important centre for Jewish life in London.
Because the Market was generally unregulated, the local authorities often tried to close it down even to the extent in the 1930s driving police cars and fire engines up and down the market. Eventually they conceded defeat due to its massive popularity and in 1936 the rights of the market were protected by an Act of Parliament.
Many people were attracted to the ‘Lane’ for the entertainment with many traders renown for their ‘patter’, there were also a large number of ‘characters’ such as Ras Prince Monolulu who sold racehorse tips that frequented the market which added to its appeal. More recently one of the characters was entrepreneur Alan Sugar who had a stall at the market.
Although a pale imitation of its ‘glory days’, the lane is still considered one of the sights of London and still attracts large numbers of people. But if you are looking for a street name for Petticoat Lane itself you will be disappointed because in 1830, Peticote Lane’s name changed to Middlesex Street, however the old name continues to be used for the market and area.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday (8am to 4pm)
Opening hours: Sundays (9am to 2pm)
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