Come rain or shine, Russell Dryden can be found selling his fish in the Blue Market – a veritable Bermondsey institution.
But Russell is also the head of the Blue BID (Business Improvement District), and takes the same unwavering approach to driving the area forward as he does to ensuring his stall is open for his loyal customers.
Speaking to the News this week, he said he wanted to try to compete with markets that have sprung up nearby, particularly Maltby Street. That’s a tough call, as Maltby has, and excuse the pun, up to now cornered the market for quirky, interesting food venues in this part of the borough. But of course he’s right – if there’s the demand, then the Blue Market has to adapt, or die.
Russell proposes a youth market, Blue Market Saturdays and ‘incubator stalls’ for entrepreneurs to test their wares with the public – all of them good ideas. And with the massive transformation of the Peek Freans Biscuit Factory looming, the potential for the market is clear.
What was once a thriving marketplace has fallen from favour over the recent decades, but there is now a real opportunity here to return it to its former glories. Let’s hope that the council, which owns the market, also rises to this challenge.