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Borough Market’s Christmas installation symbolises many of the finest qualities of this historic institution

Images: Adrian Pope

Borough Market’s Christmas installation, which hangs from the high beams of the Market Hall, is about much more than just Christmas. A riot of hoops, hearts and giant baubles, it has been designed to symbolise some of the defining qualities of an institution that has been through one of the most difficult years in its long history.

The circular motif represents protection, inclusion and timelessness, three qualities fundamental to Borough Market—an institution that has provided strength, sustenance and companionship to the people of London for 1,000 years, through good times and bad.

The fruit, herbs and spices that feature in the installation were all sourced from Borough Market traders. Each foodstuff carries its own meaning: cinnamon for protection, rosemary for remembrance, oranges for good fortune. Collectively they capture the riot of colours, smells and human engagement to be found at the Market. They represent the farmer who reared the animal, the fisherman who caught the fish, the baker who baked the bread, the explorer who sought out far-flung producers.

Care and craft
The hearts are probably the easiest element to interpret, representing the love that abounds at Borough Market. It’s there in the care and craft of the producers, the camaraderie of the traders and customers and the instinct to share and savour good food. It’s there in the Market’s commitment to sustainability and waste reduction. It’s what drives our producers to value quality and sustainability over profit and our community to eats seasonally, question the provenance of ingredients and enjoy every last piece of what they’ve bought.

The installation can be enjoyed up close every day from now until New Year’s Eve, apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day. If you have a chance to break from your shopping, take a seat in the Market Hall, cast your eyes upwards and reflect on all the many good things embodied by this brightly-lit piece of public art.