TUM Book Club: Old Covent Garden

Clive Boursnell evokes the unique atmosphere of [Covent Garden], redolent of the smell of the vegetables and the colour of the fruit but mingled with it also a sense of the larger city as a place of money and trade. They make a heady mixture . . . The life has now changed. That is the unwritten law of London. Yet the buildings survive . . . the geography, if not the appearance, has been preserved.”  wrote Peter Ackroyd.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s Clive Boursnell, then a young photographer, shot thousands of photographs of the old Covent Garden, documenting the end of an era before the markets moved out of central London. Boursnell captured these last days of the market over a period of six years, from 1968 until the market’s closure, in a series of beautiful portraits of the feisty life of a city institution.

Forty years later he returned and shot those many of those same sites as they are today.  This book juxtaposes old and new photographs, showing how Covent Garden has changed – and the ways in which it has remained the same.

Old Covent Garden includes a preface by Clive Boursnell and the words of some of the market people whom the photographer interviewed at the time.

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