Category Archives: Toyshop

Covent Garden and Pétillon’s ‘Heartbeat’

Quartet playing classical music and Pétillon's 'Heartbeat'
Quartet playing classical music and Pétillon’s ‘Heartbeat’

Walked though Covent Garden Market on my way to buy a purse, and was overwhelmed by louring installation of a cloud of white balloons by the French Artist Charles Pétillon. He said he wanted to represent the Market building as the beating heart of the area.

Gallery showing Pétillon's 'Invasions' and other work
Gallery in the market square showing Pétillon’s ‘Invasions’ and other work

But I remember the market as a thriving fruit and vegetable market which also sold flowers. Established around 1654, the market was translocated in 1974 to a site near Nine Elms because of the traffic congestion it caused in Central London.  The building was reopened in 1980 in its present guise with masses of shops and cafes and a craft Market.

In the years our toyshop, John Dobbie, was open, 1963-73, Joshua used to go to Covent Garden market at Easter and buy trays of primroses and at Christmas, holly sprays. We gave them away to our customers – a bit surprised when the odd customer said ‘I bought two toys so do I get two bunches?’