The billboards next to the Beaufoy on Vauxhall Street say “Love Lambeth” in large letters, and here is yet another reason to love our little corner of London! Our first Beaufoy Christmas Market opened at noon sharp with our first visitor arriving soon after. Having heard about the market, she had travelled one hour by train to meet us and take in the Great Hall in all its festive splendour. It didn’t take too much longer before curious neighbours wandered in, enticed by the sign on Black Prince road. The market was meant to be, and truly was, a community affair.
Fourteen vendors from the Lambeth community, from artists to origami-star makers, took part in the market, including Kennington Flowers, who run a flower stall based at the nearby St Anselm’s Church. The hall’s ceiling was strung with glittering stars, and off to the side stood a noble and tall Christmas tree, carefully trimmed with sparkling baubles and hand stitched ornaments. A cosy candle-lit corner of the hall was reserved for a cafe, selling delicious home-baked cakes and a lounge area where many took the chance to sit, enjoy a heart-warming drink and chat with friends, old and new.
There was certainly something for everyone at the stalls: gingerbread men, handcrafted jewellery, mountain-shaped cushions, holiday cards, embroidered tea towels and more. For those feeling a little crafty, the Craft Corner was a busy place with both young and old trying their hands at painting ornaments and block-printing Christmas cards.
As the afternoon crept on the market only got busier and busier, reaching its peak when Father Christmas himself arrived! It wasn’t that easy though. We had to coax him in with Christmas carols, and when he entered, never did you see such tiny faces light up in excitement. For many young ones it was their very first meeting with Father Christmas. He sat next to the tree and sat with everyone, giving out little gifts and sweeties to all whether they were naughty or nice.
All in all, upwards of 200 friends and neighbours came in to shop at the market, enjoy a tea or two and make something crafty. Friends of the Beaufoy can only hope to see just as many of you (and more) visit us again at next year’s market.