The Covent Garden Market building is situated within a Conservation Area in the City of Westminster, London and of more than special historic interest, reflected in its grade II* listing status. It is the best-preserved late Georgian market house in England, still retaining its late Victorian cast iron sheds and has been the home of a major London market for 350 years.
The current market building was constructed in 1828-1830 by John, the sixth Duke of Bedford, to house a fruit and vegetable market, to the designs of the architect Charles Fowler in the centre of the Covent Garden Piazza. This was the first London square laid out in 1631 by his ancestor, the fourth Earl of Bedford to the designs of Inigo Jones. The open market spaces were roofed over, first the south then the north areas, in 1874-75 and 1888-89 respectively by William Cubitt & Co.
The fruit and vegetable market moved out to Vauxhall in 1974 and the market building was converted in 1977-1980 to shops and restaurants. The surrounding area that had become dilapidated by that time has also been regenerated and subsequently became a major tourist attraction. Charles Fowler’s structure of 1830 and the two Victorian sheds remain almost intact. The later 1977-1980 restoration of the building has seen later detracting accretions removed, 35 shop fronts retained and refurbished and the rest of the shop fronts replaced with suitable matching fronts, some incorporating original grilles. The retained fabric was repaired and refurbished.
In 2008 we were commissioned to revaluate the historic accuracy of the paint scheme extant at that time and make recommendations for reinstatement that were appropriate to the historic integrity of the Market. A pallet of 87 suitable colour references were provided, based on the two architectural paint research exercises carried out in the market and drawing on a comprehensive programme of earlier research undertaken at St Pancras Chambers, to provide colour options for the retailers occupying the space.