LONDON — A car stops in front of Borough Market the night of June 3, 2017. Three men wielding knives jump out. Panic ensues as they randomly begin stabbing people. The crowd scatters. The victims scream. Some die. Others are left lying in the market barely clinging to life.
“Life will never be the same after that night,” a Borough Market shopkeeper, who witnessed the 2017 terrorist attack, tells me a year to the day after that fatal night when eight people were killed and 48 others injured. The three Islamist attackers were gunned down by police.
The market had actually closed for the evening when the attack occurred around 10 p.m., but the restaurants and bars surrounding the London icon were filled with patrons, many of them tourists.
Above: Borough is London's oldest market and was saved from the wrecker's ball by top chefs.
“For months after the attack, people stayed away (from the market), but they’ve come back now,” the shopkeeper tells me.
London’s oldest food market, which sits under an active rail bridge, is now one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. In fact, it was made famous by celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey who fought to save Borough from the wrecker’s ball during the East End’s reconstruction for the London Olympics.
While there are no visible scars left from that night, many horrible memories remain.
“Whenever there’s a loud noise, I still see panic rush across faces,” says a man selling fresh fruit.
It’s actually hard to find a Londoner in Borough Market — most are foreigners who come to mingle and meet the Cockney characters who work there. The East Enders attract customers to their stalls with some entertaining sales pitches.
Above: People come from around the world to enjoy the fresh fish and fruits served at the East End's Borough Market.
There’s plenty of restaurants and pubs surrounding the market and Neal’s Yard Dairy remains its most famous occupant — you can buy giant English cheese wheels there and many are autographed by the cheesemaker.
The people of Borough Market refuse to be deterred by the events of June 3, 2017 — “Remember, ‘Carry on,’ is the Englishman’s motto,” the shopkeeper reminds me.
Let’s hope Borough Market carries on forever.