Fred Cooke started selling jellied eels on Broadway Market in 1900. His restaurant served shepherds driving their flocks to the City of London.
The Cat and Mutton pub (picture dated 1907) was named after the Cat and Mutton bridge over the Regent’s Canal – coal barges on the canal were called “cats”, the mutton speaks for itself. Sheep Lane still exists – running parallel to Broadway Market from London Fields to the canal.
This was a bawdy, drunken, vibrant street, the heart of an East End community that was to survive social turmoil and the bombs of two world wars.
But by the eighties, the community was crumbling. The Thatcher recession and planning blight killed shops. Many residents bought their council houses, sold up and moved out. The street market all but died (Lady with Flowers, 1982, photographed by Stuart Goodman).
Successive attempts by Hackney Council to revive the market failed. Then in 2004 the community renewed itself. Volunteers from Broadway Market Traders’ and Residents’ Association revived the Saturday market as a project to repopulate the street. New shops and restaurants arrived. Now the community is thriving once more.
And Fred Cooke’s grandson, Bob, is introducing a new generation to pie, mash, liquor – and jellied eels.
(Archive pictures courtesy of Stephen Selby)