It was back to business as defiant traders, customers and well-wishers, including Prince Harry, attended the reopening of Borough Market after the terror attack earlier this month. The traders began selling food and drink again on Wednesday.
Prior to the reopening, there was a minute’s silence to remember the dead and injured from the attack on June 3 at London Bridge and Borough Market. The quiet reflection ended with the sounding of a bell at 10am to signal the reopening.
Three attackers ploughed into pedestrians with a white van on London Bridge on June 3 and outside the Barrowboy and Banker pub, before stabbing revellers in the nearby market which left eight people dead. Donald Hyslop, chairman of trustees, said: “We give this place back to you with love, and we only ask you two very small favours. Firstly, a call that echoes through a 1,000 years of history; spend a little money with us if you can. And secondly, come here today, come here at the weekend, come here when you can, it’s your market. London is open. Borough Market is open.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Prince Harry were among the guests at the reopening. Hours of trading will be extended in coming weeks to help businesses affected by the attack. Some traders have created special dishes which they will be selling in exchange for donations to the Borough Market Trader support fund.
The fund, set up by the Borough market Trust to help those who have suffered financially due to the market’s closure has already raised more than £90,000. Staff at El Pastor were hailed as heroes for throwing objects at the terrorists as they burst in brandishing knives. The restaurant’s owners said: “We are emerging from a tough time as a stronger family, a tighter Borough community and more committed than ever to serving those who value the pleasures of eating and drinking and coming together.
“The kindness and bravery shown by individuals and groups on June 3 and afterwards has been awe-inspiring.
“Our thoughts remain with the victims and their families for the senseless loss of life.
“We hope to see you for tacos and mezcal at El Pastor and other delights at our friends’ places in Borough Market soon, as we all get back to business,.”
The reopening of the market came as inquests into the deaths of the eight victims of the attack are held at Southwark Coroner’s Court over two days. Borough Market, positioned at the south end of London Bridge, has existed in one form or another for about 1,000 years, making it one of the oldest markets in London. All the businesses caught up inside the crime scene are being offered automatic rate relief from Southwark council.
The council is offering a discretionary business rates discount for up to one month for businesses affected by the police cordon while forensic investigations took place. Councillor Peter John, Leader of Southwark council, said: “We want to fully support our local businesses, many of which are smaller, independent shops, restaurants and cafes that would had been significantly impacted by the closures during the investigations.
“As well as offering emotional support to their staff through our community assistance centre at Southwark Cathedral, we wanted to offer practical support to help them get back to business as normal during this difficult time.”
Any businesses who can prove an even bigger impact will also be able to apply for hardship relief, but will need to prove the impact to their business and each case will be taken on its own merits.