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Trading at the Hart of Surrey Street Market

The Harts are another long established trading family of Surrey Street, Leaonard Hart used to walk with his barrow from Wandsworth to Surrey Street daily at the turn of the century.

Needless to say when a house, along with a yard and stabling became available in Handcroft road, Croydon, his family took up residence there.

At one time the Hart family had three stalls supplying fruit and vegetables in Surrey Street, very close to the Dog and Bull public house.

The Supplies came from Borough Market, which dates back to medieval times and claims to be London's oldest fruit and vegetable market.

The market dealt with small distributors such as grocers and market traders, and most of the Harts stock came from there.

Their main line was cauliflower and from the customers' point of view this may have seemed like an easy living. But a view from behind the scenes reveals stallholders waist-high in wet cauliflower leaves and stalks, which were cut off prior to display.

Leonard's grandson, Mark Hart, wore the porter's working apron, made of leather able to withstand the sharp razor cuts which the knives made as the thick outer cauliflower leaves were being removed.

He Suffered from arthritis in his later years because of the permanent wet patches on his shoulders which were produced by humping wet hessian sacks to the top of the sheds in the Dog and Bull Yard.

Mark was interviewed, in his capacity as a boxer, by the radio and television personality Richard Dimbleby. The interview, which took place in June 1947 for the radio programme Down Your Way, took place in the yard at the back of the Dog and Bull pub.

Mark and his wife retired to Banstead in Surrey. One member of their family still operates a cauliflower stall in Surrey Street.

Last modified: 14th January 2013 - Copyright Canning and Clyde Residents Association
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