Queen’s market: a successful and specialised market serving diverse communities in Newham and beyond (case study)

This case study on Queen’s market (London) is drawn from the Markets4People research project, which sought to assess the economic, social, and cultural benefits of traditional retail markets. Based on a survey with 500 market users, focus groups, and interviews, it showcases how Queen’s market is an important community asset, particularly for Black, Asian, and older groups, providing specialised food, clothing, and textiles. The case study covers key benefits of the market, challenges faced, and future recommendations.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 17 August 2021

*This resource is about markets. It is not specifically about the High Street, but has been included in response to requests for more studies/information about this topic, as well as linking to the markets, experience, and merchandise priorities for High Street vitality and viability*

This case study on Queen’s market (London) is drawn from the Markets4People research project, which sought to assess the economic, social, and cultural benefits of traditional markets. Based on a survey with 500 market users, two focus groups with market users, and 10 interviews with key local actors, the case study covers market facts, key benefits, challenges faced, and future recommendations, as summarised below.

Key benefits of the market

  • The market has a long-standing, diverse and active customer base, and is especially well-used by Black, Asian, lower-income, older, and female resident groups (44% have used the market for more than 20-years).
  • The market also plays an important role for supporting families with children.
  • The market is especially recognised for providing a unique, differentiated and specialised food and textiles offer, and is seen as a quality and affordable shopping destination of choice for users.
  • The market also helps to drive footfall and spend to the wider town centre.
  • The market functions as a welcoming, caring and supportive community hub.
  • The Friends of Queen’s market is an important community group who cares about the future of the market.
  • The wider trend towards online shopping does not seem to have been detrimental to the market, with just 12% of users shopping online for food.

Challenges faced

  • There is a perception from the Council that the market is over-saturated with fruit, vegetable and meat stalls, which can lead to tensions with traders and vacant stalls.
  • The governance structures of the market are very fragmented, involving a lot of different Council department and teams.
  • The market is thought to suffer from a poor and deteriorating environment due to an historic underinvestment, with basic improvements in things like lighting, flooring, and toilets desired.
  • Due to past failed redevelopment plans, there is some distrust between the Council, traders, and local community, as well as fears and uncertainty over trader displacement, demolition, and gentrification of the market.

Future recommendations

  • Celebrate the market’s current success and customers through putting them at the centre of any future plans for the market.
  • Identify the impacts of any future changes to the market on different user groups, minimising any impacts on key user groups.
  • Continue to address the problem of fragmented governance structures through more joined-up partnership working.
  • Address basic market environment improvements, before progressing any other redevelopment plans, recognising it is already successful in its current form.
  • Trailblaze a community wealth building approach to markets.
  • Place the market at the centre of Newham’s Covid-19 recovery strategies.

For more resources from the Markets4People project, please see the following:

Case study on Bury Market [link to resource]

Case study on Grainger Market [link to resource]

Market users survey template [link to resource]