Bermondsey’s newly refurbished Market Place is being relaunched with a special celebration event this weekend.
All are welcome at the community event, from midday to 4pm on July 31.
On the day there will be family-friendly entertainment and food and drink to mark the completion of key improvements to the beloved Bermondsey landmark.
A highlight at Saturday afternoon’s event will be the unveiling of the Blue’s new clock tower.
Inspired by one that used to sit on top of Peek Frean’s biscuit factory, the tower is clad with 3,000 tin can discs made in Old Kent Road.
There are new murals and artwork celebrating The Blue’s industrial roots, and new paving with a mosaic reading the inscription of Bermondsey’s coat of arms: ‘Art Profits The People’, along with improved lighting, greenery and seating areas.
For traders from The Blue and Make it Blue markets, the refurbishment has included improved storage, new electrical power points, and adaptable fixed stalls that can be used for events and festivals.
There will also be information about the next stages of the two million redevelopment at The Blue, and the wider Biscuit Factory redevelopment.
Ongoing work at Market Square includes improvements to shop fronts and a new pedestrianised cut-through, due to complete in September.
A consultation into turning the former Thorrowgoods furniture shop into an arts centre with a cinema is also underway.
The project is a partnership between Southwark Council and The Blue Business Improvement District, Community Opportunity and Big Local Works, who secured £2m of capital funding from the Mayor of London’s LEAP Good Growth Fund.
Hayatsu Architects, located just five minutes from The Blue’s Market Place, were appointed to lead the design team with Turner Prize-winning art and architecture collective Assemble.
Cllr Kieron Williams, Southwark Council’s leader, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to work with the community to deliver these improvements to one of our much loved town centres.
“Thanks to the local community, businesses and council working together, with backing from the mayor of London, we are putting Bermondsey’s historic town centre firmly on the map as the ‘Larder of London’ for locals and Londoners alike to visit, shop, eat and socialise.
“We hope you’ll join us this Saturday for the opening of the new vastly improved market square, to celebrate what’s been achieved so far and experience first-hand the incredible community spirit driving forward plans to bring a buzz back to The Blue.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I am thrilled to support the regeneration of the Blue Market, all made possible by local people and organisations working together to design a new market space that will support community activities, events and local businesses.
“Markets like the Blue have a long history in the capital and throughout the pandemic have played a crucial role in providing local people with access to goods and services.
“The transformation of the Blue market will restore the heart of Bermondsey, provide a space that the community can feel proud of and put the Blue Market on the map as a new destination for Londoners to visit”.
Takeshi Hayatsu, director of Hayatsu Architects said: “A true regeneration project cannot be delivered without the strong will and commitment from local community partners. “The positivity and creativity of The Blue BID, Community Opportunity, Big Local Works and other locals really pushed the project forward.
“We hope our built interventions add a new exciting chapter to the long history of the market, represent the community vision and pride, and leave a lasting legacy for the brighter future of Bermondsey.”
The celebration will take place from midday to 4pm on Saturday, July 31 at The Blue, Market Place, SE16 3UQ.
Free workshops and activities on the day include drop-in wood carving sessions, storytelling for children from Vanessa Woolf and music from Unity Music Arts Team.
The new clock tower will be unveiled at 1pm.