The London Fields Guide

Live like a Climpson in our local neighbourhood

The people of Climpson’s have lived and breathed London Fields and Broadway Market in Hackney for over 10 years now!

It all began under the name Burgil Coffee with the original coffee cart on Market Day, until we put down roots in Climpson & Sons, originally a butchers shop. We kept the name and have been a part of the Broadway Market / London Fields furniture ever since.

We have dabbled in roasting from a garage near La Bouche, had our original roastery/dispatch/office/training room one stop shop on Broadway Market Mews and now find ourselves occupying all corners with our roastery under the Arches and our HQ & training academy across the road in Helmsley Place.

No shortage of words has been written on the imminent changes in East London. What we think makes our area special is the people that are still here when the masses have left a rowdy London Fields BBQ (and their rubbish!).

So before we get kicked out with rent increases, we plan on continuing providing caffeinated good times to people on the strip and encouraging locals and visitors alike to be a part of something that isn’t just ‘hipsters barbecuing in a park’ but a vibrant community.

We think Broadway Market and London Fields is pretty neat, and to celebrate being around the block for so long, we put together our not-so-secret insider’s guide to the ultimate charms of our neighbourhood.

The age old institution the Dove is our go to spot – serving as our Boardroom and after work watering hole. That’s where the business gets done with a little caffeinated ranting along the way.  Off Broadway is home to the baddest cat in town: Chairman Meow. We go for the cocktails, stay for the cat.

Bradburys will and forever remain our one stop shop when we need ‘misc.’ items - from gaffa tape, to secret santa gifts, whistles for football matches and gas to fire up the roaster - you can pretty much get anything there. Most of us Climpsons are in there most days, even if it is just to look around its wondrous glory.  Ed Burstell from Liberty London agrees.

Fin & Flounder, Hill & Szrok, Green Island Fruit & Veg, and Yeast are all trusty food suppliers on the street. They are local, use great produce and are just really nice people.

Our lunch time cravings when we aren’t hitting the café quite often involve Gozlema at Saray Broadway Market.  

The independent shops Artwords, a contemporary visual arts bookshop and literary fiction and local history specialists Broadway Bookshop are both incredible book stores, with countless hours spent scanning the shelves. The East London Food Guide is a goodie along with other such publications from the Hoxton Mini Press.

The patch between the basketball court, the toilet block and the Lido was the officially unofficial London Coffee Roasters League Football Pitch. We came up against mosquitos and pot holes, and the haze of a barbecue, but now you'll find us at Mabley Green, our little tournament having outgrown London Fields (19 teams in 2019!).

The area has become the most exciting place to eat in London and we have enjoyed being a part of it. Home to a vibrant and diverse community, it has attracted a wave of fresh gastronomic talent, including top chefs, young producers and bold entrepreneurs. Climpson’s Arch was one of the first ‘incubators’ for young chefs looking to make their mark – including Dave Pynt of Burnt Ends, and Som Saa.

Neighbourhood faves include Lardo for its Italian food and all-round good times and Bright for some natural wine & seasonal menu from the guys behind P.Franco and Peg. The Argentinian institution that is Buen Ayre and the evening cook shop at Hill & Szrok is an added bonus: “We cook what we sell. And we sell what we cook” -- Amen.

If you can wait until Saturday, market day is a feast for the senses and a great launch pad for chefs, cooks and food enthusiasts starting out. Bao in Netil Market, Deeneys for the Haggis Toastie, Le Swine for a serious Bacon butty. For bits to take home there is no stopping Raw Cheese Power, and their selection of British cheeses and the Baron Espresso gelato from Nonnas Gelato.

Pushing the Boundaries

Regents Canal connects the dots between Broadway Market, Victoria Park (The Empress), Haggerston (Tonkotsu!) and Angel Islington. The Famed Hackney Gas Towers have managed to survive a few rounds of developer demolition and long may it continue - the icon of Broadway Market and a link to the past!

The colourful Mare Street has favourites like The Cock Tavern - the first brew pub in Hackney specialising in serving ales and craft beer and not much else. Howling Hops was launched from there.

The Brazilian Centre (formerly Casa de Carne) is an in-house butchery renowned for slabs of imported meats like Uruguayan beef; Portuguese cheeses; Bacalhao (dried salted cod) and Brazilian staple Antarctica guarana soft drink. The red beef sausages are a summer time barbecue staple.

Starnight Video, smells like moth balls but is one of the best – and largest - Chinese supermarkets in London, with over 50 mysterious herbs and vegetables and literally thousands of pan-Asian products from Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand and China. Fresh and frozen everything. Come here for the obscure!

Right near London Fields is the hub for Vietnamese supermarkets and restaurants as well as the go-to Turkish restaurants of Anatolia and Tads.

A Bit of Broadway Market History

An interesting article in the National Geographic called ‘East Side Story’ was published in 2012 before the London Olympics talks of the changes in East London since the 1900s. What a different place this area was, summarised well here

In 1900 Fred Cooke started selling jellied eels to shepherds driving their flocks to the City of London; it was considered the Buckingham Palace of pie and mash shops.  Not too long after the Cat & Mutton pub was named after the Cat & Mutton Bridge (over Regents Canal) – coal barges were called ‘cats’ and mutton speaks for itself.                                   

Broadway Market was once considered a bawdy, vibrant street, the heart of an East End community that was to survive social turmoil and the bombs of two world wars. However the eighties recession saw more decline and the community changed again as more people moved out. Despite attempts by the Council to revive the market, it wasn’t until 2004 the community banded together to revive the Saturday market as a project to get people back into the area. Climpson’s rolled in around this point, and Fred Cooke’s grandson, Bob, began introducing a new generation to pie, mash, liquor – and jellied eels. In 2006, the Channel 4 show “The Best and Worst Places to Live in Britain” destined Hackney to be the worst place to live in the UK; crime statistics, poor schools and a lack of adequate housing were highlighted as contributors to this claim. Not long after in 2014 the Sunday Times put it on the list of the best places to live in Britain….

For a wonderfully nostalgic black and white photos of the street, bag yourself a copy of 'One Saturday in 82 on Broadway Market'. Preserved images of the East London landmark candidly capturing the lives of shoppers and shop owners. Available in our cafe or online here.