We were appointed by the Main Contractor of the re-development of the historic New Covent Garden Market, Vinci Construction UK, to carry out the manufacture and installation of automatic industrial PVC doors, Fire Rated Steel Hinged doors and automatic Security and Fire Rated Roller Shutter doors to the Lobby Areas on the new Interim Flower Market.
The New Covent Garden Market is being re-developed to become the ‘’Brand’’ New Covent Garden Market in an overhaul that will cost over £2 billion and will take the best part of 10 years to complete. The existing market currently operates on three sites covering a total of 57 acres of land and currently houses over 200 companies employing in excess of 2,500 employees.
The brand new market will be consolidated onto a single 37 acre site which will free up 20 acres of land to allow for the development of 3,000 new homes, three tall residential towers, offices, shops, cafes, restaurants, a hotel and community facilities along with a new connecting underground line costing £1 billion.
The first phase of the re-development of the market is the construction of the Interim Flower Market that will be utilised for at least 5 years before the Flower Market is once again re-housed in the Permanent Flower Market right at the front of the new development. It was important to the existing clients that the Interim Flower Market be built to the same high standard as it’s permanent home will be but also that it retained some of the systems that they have been so used to using over the last few decades.
One important aspect that they wanted to retain, and that only Dortek where confident they could supply, was the use of automated PVC / Rubber door sets. The door sets on the existing Flower Market are hydraulically operated but Dortek have provided and installed electric automation units to 13 pairs of PVC / Rubber door sets required in the Lobby Areas.
This is an unusual door to automate in the modern day but we knew it could be done and Vinci Construction where delighted that Dortek could deliver what the client wanted. On the back of the automatic PVC / Rubber doors and to complete the Lobby Areas our client also required Fire Rated Steel Hinged Doors with overhead infill panels and, on the Ground Floor, Fire Rated Roller Shutter doors that are linked to the Fire Alarm Management System.
These doors also need to be opened and closed at the beginning and end of the working day to provide security whilst non-fire rated Security Shutters have also been installed on the First Floor Lobby Areas.
The History of Covent Garden Market
The origins of the Covent Garden Market can be traced back to 1654 when a hotch potch of food sellers and scruffy traders took over the piazza. The market grew rapidly and within a few years the Piazza’s owner – the 5th Earl of Bedford – formalised the presence of the market giving him and his heirs the right to gather traders every day except Sunday’s and Christmas Day and, more importantly, the right to charge those traders for the privilege of selling their wares on the Piazza.
In the early 19th century the 6th Duke of Bedford petitioned for a government bill ‘for the improvement and regulation of the Covent Garden Market.’ The bill allowed the Duke to knock down the ramshackle stalls and erect a proper market building which enabled him to introduce a regulated system of rents.
The new market building opened in May 1830 and was built at a total cost of £61,000 (roughly £37m in today’s money). Nearly 200 years later the building is still standing and pretty much unchanged although it no longer houses the fruit and vegetable market.
In 1966 an act was passed by Government that provided for the removal of the fruit and vegetable market from Covent Garden to new premises south of the River Thames at Nine Elms, Vauxhall on the site of the former Nine Elms Locomotive Works.
On Monday 11 November 1974 the largest wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower market in the UK began trading on the new site. For over 40 years New Covent Garden Market has been proudly feeding and flowering London from its home at Nine Elms.