A view of the Floral Hall in Victorian times, taken from the wonderful historical resource, www.arthurlloyd.co.uk
This week the VV was lucky enough to be invited to a party hosted by Orion, her publishers, and held in the Paul Hamlyn Balcony bar in the London Royal Opera House. This stunning hall of elaborate glass and ironwork was historically known as the Floral Hall – a part of the Victorian Covent Garden Flower market which was only incorporated into the main body of the opera house after a generous bequest from Paul Hamlyn in the 1990’s.
A view of the 'old Covent Garden market'.
Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market began in the 17th century, held on ground that had formerly belonged to Westminster Abbey – which was known as the Convent Garden – and becoming the first public square in England built on the Italian piazza frame. The market proved so successful that it soon expanded and by 1830, based on designs by Charles Fowler, a vast central stone market square was constructed in the neo classical style playing host to a thriving commercial scene where more than a 1,000 porters were employed. The Floral Hall, designed by E M Barry was added later in 1858-9 and must have been quite spectacular when filled with beautiful flowers and plants – a feast of colour, fragrance and chatter – much like the party on Tuesday night.