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CUT THE CRAP: Surrey Street Market is beating heart of borough

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IN THE Advertiser's Cut the Crap campaign, we fight back against lazy stereotypes of Croydon as highlighted by the town's recent entry in a book on Crap Towns. In a series of features on all the things that make Croydon great this week we look at Surrey Street Market.

NO trip to Croydon would ever be complete without a stroll through Surrey Street market.

The market, which has been open six days a week since 1922, is home to all manner of traders and their wares.

Situated in the heart of Old Town, the street is set for a significant portion of a £100,000 investment from the Portas Pilot Town scheme.

The money could breathe even more life into the old market, which is still one of Croydon's most recognisable and lively spot.

Bill Holden, 80, is celebrating his 60th anniversary working at the market, and is affectionately known as "grandad" by the men who work in the basement of Surrey Street car park, where most of the market equipment is kept.

He has seen a lot of changes since starting out in the early 1950s, but still helps out in the basement.

Bill said: "It's been good to me. I'm looking forward to that money coming in but we do all right here. People from Croydon seem to like the place. We all help each other down here."

The narrow street is mainly home to fruit and vegetables sellers, but a variety of different stalls come and go on different days.

Roz, 60, works on a flower stall at the top of Surrey Street that has been in the Lovett family since 1897.

She thinks the secret behind the market's enduring success can be traced to the products it sells.

Roz said: "People will always want fruit, vegetables and flowers. That is how stalls like this are still here.

"You can come down here and buy as much or as little as you like. It's also got a great atmosphere.

"Even in the winter when it is cold, people still come here."

Phil Elton, 61, of Croydon, said he thought old-fashioned markets like Surrey Street should be cherished.

He added: "You can't beat the hustle and bustle of a nice summer's day on Surrey Street.

"The fruit and veg is all fantastically cheap, it's lively and then, to top it all off, you can go for a lovely pint in a pub like The Dog and Bull. Perfect."

CUT THE CRAP: Surrey Street Market is beating heart of borough


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