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Ancient Market Place Kingston
More of a triangle than a market square, this small area flanked by shops, a church and a pub has been a meeting point for the people of Kingston since 1170. It underwent a major refurbishment in June 2014 to clear the clutter and make it a more usable, accessible meeting place. (KT1 1JS)
The market is open 7 days a week selling fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, flowers, food and more. There are streetfood vendors and plenty of outdoor seating. The area hosts festivals and events throughout the year including food festivals, music events, night markets and vintage markets. The Kingston Christmas Market is one of the biggest in the UK.
The Market House
The Market House was built in 1840 in the Italianate style with pedimented windows, projecting eves and a belvedere on which stands an ornate, gilded statue of Queen Anne. It served as Kingston’s town hall until 1935 when the Guildhall was opened.
The building cost around £400 to build and formerly housed 6 ornate stained glass windows designed by William Evelyn St Lawrence Finney, seven times Mayor of Kingston. As the intricate coloured glass obstructed the light, they were replaced by plain glass. Visit Kingston Museum to see the originals. The Market House has had many uses including a meeting place, the town’s tourist information centre, a cafe and, recently, a Covid-19 testing centre. For the last 10 years it has been home to an arts and crafts market.
Queen Anne gilded statue
The statue of Queen Anne has been standing on the balcony of the quirky Italian styled old town hall (Market House) since 1840 (previously in Kingston’s Tudor Market Hall in 1706).
Often mistaken for Queen Victoria, this gilded statue represents Kingston’s most prosperous period in history. It is the work of eminent sculptor, Francis Bird (1667-1731) who is responsible for a long list of statues and monuments including another Queen Anne tribute which was originally in St Paul’s Cathedral, London but replaced by a reproduction.
This listed statue is a tribute to Henry Shrubsole three times mayor of Kingston 1877,1878 and 1879. It’s the work of Victorian sculptor Francis John Williamson. The marble statue sits on a granite pedestal and depicts a woman carrying an earn with a child at her feet. The weather has taken its toll on this romantic, classical figure. And she also lost a hand which was replaced in 2016.
Where is Kingston Ancient Market Place?
Very close to the River Thames. Behind All Saints Church. Close to Clattern Bridge, the Rose Theatre. Post code KT1 1JS