Two of a kind: Chez and Liam

Categories: Behind the stalls

Chez from the Borough Market Store and Liam from the merchandise stall

Interviews: Viel Richardson
Image: Christopher L Proctor

Chez on Liam
I first met Liam when I was about seven years old, at the Derby at Epsom. A mutual friend of Liam and my mother had invited us to go to the race. It was my first time at a race course and I remember being really taken by his larger-than-life, very friendly character. He has been a friend of the family ever since.

For the first few years, Liam was like a mentor to me. Now I am a lot older, he is a personal friend—I would describe us more as partners in crime. We have also worked together, which I really enjoyed. We like to have a laugh, but we motivate each other as well.

Liam is from Liverpool and came to London more than 30 years ago for work, fell in love with it, and never left. I also love the city—I was born here—and we like to explore together.

What Liam loves most, though, is people: bringing them together, getting to know their stories and helping build a community. I think the community spirit here at the Market is one of the things he enjoys most about the place.

I first started at Borough Market working on the merchandise stall with Liam. That first day is one of my best memories of him. There were times I felt under pressure because it was quite busy, but he was there, being supportive. At the end of the day, he told me that he could see that I belong here, and the sense of validation that gave me was incredibly uplifting. I felt like I had found my place. I worked with Liam on the cart for a year, and it was great. We both love what we call the theatre of Borough Market, and learning to enjoy that with him was amazing.

Liam knows his way around a bar and if I was going to buy him something from the Borough Market Store, it would be Borough Market Gin, firstly because I think it is a wonderful drink, but also because he would love the fact that it is something born of the place he loves so much. He brings such personality to Borough, so much humour, and an incredible knowledge of British social history and the city of London. He is a font of information, and you can see the shoppers love it when he shares that with them—usually with some banter as well!

Liam on Chez
I have known Chez since he was a child. He first came to the Market during his A levels: we ran a youth project here called The Golden Company and he came for a few sessions. He took to the Market like a duck to water. He was a natural in terms of connecting with people, having an eye for detail and working with others. You could see that he was really enjoying himself.

One of my favourite memories of Chez is from the day after I left him in charge of the cart for the first time. When we talked about it, his shoulders seemed broader, and his sense of ownership over his role here was apparent. I always knew he could do it, and so did he on one level, but you could see that his first day flying solo was a real step forward in terms of his personal growth.

Chez is a natural performer and working at the Market allows him to express that. He has always been interested in storytelling, and the Market is awash with stories from both customers and stallholders. You can see when you watch him that he is genuinely interested in people. They see that as well, which is why Chez has always been popular with customers.

He also likes to present things properly. He is always well turned out—he likes things to look right, to feel right, and to have integrity. That’s why he loves working here at the Market: he enjoys providing something of high quality to the public. Chez brings his version of London to the Market, just as we all do, and it is a richer place for having him here.