Five markets provided the focus for this theme, Stratford, Queens Road and Rathbone Street markets in Newham; Romford market in Havering and Woolwich market in Greenwich.

Romford and Stratford were founded by royal charter in the 13th century and have survived in different forms to the present day.

They were originally agricultural markets with livestock such as cattle, sheep, pigs and horses reflecting the then rural nature of the area.

By the 20th century these along with Queens Road, rathbone Street and Woolwich markets founded in the 19th century, reflected the growing urban nature and population of the area, selling fruit and vegetables and commodities such as tinned foods, clothing, crockery and metal vessels.

The changes in population and markets are now reflected in a change in the ownership and the goods traded at these markets. For example, Queens Road Market, on Green Street, has seen a transition from primarily Jewish shops and pitches to Asian and African Caribbean ownership and goods.