Emotions ran high and a sea of people bowed their heads in silence as businesses and the community “reclaimed” Borough Market today.
Hundreds gathered in the market place to observe a minute’s silence before a poem was read by Suley Muhidin and a poignant speech was given by chair of Borough Market trustees Donald Hyslop.
With visible tears in his eyes, a trader rang the bell to declare the market officially open shortly before 10am.
“We will not forget the people who lost their lives here,” said Mr Hyslop in an emotional speech greeted with deafening applause.
“On behalf of the traders, the staff, the businesses and the community of Borough, we welcome you back to Borough Market, our market.
“There has been a market in this area for a thousand years; it has seen plague and flood and war and sometimes like now it becomes the centre of attention but mostly it’s been a part of the everyday life of the city and community.
“A place people come to shop and eat, to drink, to socialise and to laugh and that’s exactly what markets all over the world do: bring people together and today we begin to reclaim this place.
“Our resilient, creative community has championed the last few days, cleaning beyond cleaning, relaying the tables and straightening the chairs and today they’ve brought their goods to market with the familiar colourful displays and the smells and sounds.
“In a minute, we give this place back to you with love and we only have two small favours to ask in return.
“Firstly, a call from a thousand years of history: spend a little money with us please if you can – or spend a lot – and secondly: come here today, come here at the weekend, come here when you can – it’s your market.”
Among those who paid their respects yesterday were traders and market staff, members of the community, emergency services, Southwark Council leader Peter John, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, MP Neil Coyle, and Rupert Murdoch.
Mr Coyle said he would invite prime minister Theresa May to meet with businesses and people affected by the tragic events of June 3 as soon as possible.
“I’ve been down here since 7.30am and have seen them open up and able to get on with their jobs and their lives which is really important to me and everybody who enjoys the market,” he told the News.
“There are some ongoing concerns around compensation and insurance issues in particular which I will be picking up; we need to make sure that the terrorists cannot win and businesses aren’t lost.
“Many traders are still in shock, many know people directly affected so there is a huge emotion towards what happened but there’s also a willingness to get back to work and get on and prove that those lives were not lost in vain.”