Did you know that Hall’s Fruit and Veg Stall, run by Dave and Andy Hall, is the oldest currently running business to grace Tottenham High Road?
Family-run for over 100 years, the market stall was passed down to the brothers by their great-grandfather.
Situated on Holcombe Road next to the Santander on Tottenham High Road, Hall’s is in a prime location and always bustling with life. Customers even benefit from free parking, with the lane running parallel to the high street.
Sitting opposite Dave Hall, with his sparkling eyes and friendly demeanour, I listen as he explains how produce is freshly sourced each morning from Spitalfields Market. The fruit and vegetables sold at Hall’s are of the best quality, diverse in range and at a fair price.
Dave tells me how the Hall brothers endeavour to provide anything that may be requested, even if they don’t normally stock it.
“There’s not much we can’t get – lime leaves, galangal, fresh turmeric. It’s never a problem, customers just need to ask.”
It’s easy to see why the combination of friendly, knowledgeable service and fine produce has regular patrons returning year after year to buy their groceries.
However, with a shifting community, customers have changed over time. Dave tells us how demand for typically British fruit and veg has shifted to those more indicative of West Indian cuisine, such as yams and plantain.
When asked whether changes have influenced Dave’s own eating habits at all, he says he’s “tried most of the produce that we sell but I’m quite old-fashioned; I like my meat and two veg.”
Hall’s is about to undergo its own transformation. Plans for the stall will see a complete demolition of the existing building which will be rebuilt with a brand new design.
Along with the fish stall, Hall’s will remain in the same area, although the new building will allow room for other businesses to move in.
The possibility of a pop-up market could also prove to be a great addition to the area.
During the rebuild, the current stalls will be relocated nearby and will work out of shipping containers. As Dave says, “This will make it an interesting few months.” The timeline is four to five months although a completion date has yet to be confirmed.
As we discuss the many changes locally, it becomes apparent that Tottenham is fast evolving. With nearby Bruce Grove Station now listed on the Tube map and with fresh new renovations, the area is becoming increasingly popular.
When asked how he feels about the move and the changing landscape, Dave acknowledges that a major period of transition is afoot along the high road and throughout Tottenham in general.
The area has defiantly resisted gentrification over the years, which now seems to be happening quite quickly.
“There are two arguments about regeneration. Some people would say it’s like social cleansing – a lot of people don’t like the Spurs regeneration as there is no affordable housing in the project. But at the same time, it’s bringing money into the area. So there are two sides of the coin, and to be honest I’m not sure which side I am on. There’s not enough property to go around.”
We exit the café where we’ve been enjoying a cosy cup of coffee, and head back towards the stall. With light rain falling through shafts of sunlight and the stark outlines of the high street’s long-standing architecture, I can for a brief second ignore the flash of bright red buses and hum of traffic, and imagine Hall’s Fruit and Veg Stall as it may have been over a century ago.
The Hall brothers, whilst taking changes in their stride, continue to serve their new and long-standing customers with the professionalism and passion of their forefathers.
Words by Sushila Barton
Photos by André Ainsworth