My husband James’s great aunt Sophie first started selling flowers at the top end of Union Street in Kingston in 1921 when she was 19 years old, part of about 10 "Flower Ladies" as they were then known. Her flowers initially came from old Covent Garden Market by horse and cart. In later years she would catch a train to the Market using an old fashioned pram to bring the flowers back to her home in Fife Road where they would be bunched ready for sale.

In 1949 the stall was moved to its current site in Church Street, from where we still trade today.

Pictures from the past

Sophie traded for over sixty years. In the 60's, 70's and 80's James’s father would pick her up at 3-4am and take her to the Market where he was purchasing fruit and veg for the family business. In 1986 she was hit by an electric door in the flower market, breaking her hip and pelvis, and it was then as a 15 year old in his school summer holiday that James had to work on the stall to prevent others from taking the pitch. Trading was then only 3 days a week: Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

This proved to be a successful six week period but with Sophie unable to return to work James’s mother Ann took over the day-to-day running of the stall, and James would work with her on Saturday. Ann was also from a family of market traders, the Knights, and had run the family business with her husband, selling fruit and vegetables on the stall and from their wholesale business in Richmond Road, Kingston. She also ran a very successful cafe in the market house until the birth of her twin boys.

By now the stall was running six days a week and James had left school and was working full time with Ann, his sister Lesley and various part time staff. It was now known as Daisy Ann's flowers and was thriving, selling flowers, plants, and Christmas trees. James left the business in 1996 to move into import/wholesale and Ann ran the business up until her death in 2004.

My father in law was then running the business and in 2005 I began working with him. He retired in 2006 and I took over the business: Kate's Flowers and Plants was born since when it has continued to grow, and we feel we are now ready for the next step of online selling, social media, etc, to ensure the business continues to be a focal point of Kingston market.

Links about the ancient market:

http://www.thamesmarkets.com/