Woolwich Street Feast market gone for good?

Earlier this year it became apparent that Street Feast in Woolwich would not open this year. The blame was put on “electrical issues”.

But no details was ever given and silence has followed. Any request for information on social media from the man in charge Jonathan Downey has generally hit a brick wall.

Lately rumours have swirled it may never reopen which isn’t the biggest revelation given the absolute silence since January. Then today he popped up to say he had blocked many people. Then after a question on Twitter on whether the lease could be handed back for another company to use he gave this response:

What a way to answer a pretty innocuous comment from someone who supported them from the get go. There was no malice whatsoever to any question.

If that’s how he treats supporters then good luck to him. They found many open arms with the Woolwich market. A lot of goodwill was already faltering before the outburst. Treating supporters with contempt isn’t likely to get people visiting other food markets they operate in Canary Wharf and Lewisham.


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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

20 thoughts on “Woolwich Street Feast market gone for good?

  • Will be giving the other Street Feasts a skip in future.

    He has come across as a tool for a while. Shame for the good stalls working for him

  • To be fair we don’t know the legal details but ignoring all queries for months then snapping isn’t a good look.

    I had a look at his twitter feed. Obnoxious and self important which is odd as half the markets are failing.

    The Canary Wharf one is pretty crap anyway and I try to avoid it after work,and like yourself will avoid it completely now. Same with Lewisham.

  • I enjoyed going to Woolwich Street Feast, and before that opened, I, my Wife and friends, would visit the other 2.
    Since reading this article, with the Twitter reply, F#%* ‘em! They’ll never get another pence from me, or mine!

  • After meeting him on the opening night at ‘public’ he seemed genuinely grateful towards ‘us locals’ who had supported the street feast idea, I followed him on twitter and started to realise he was a bit of a bell.

    He had a very, very similar outburst when asked about the lewisham site about a year ago.
    I must say, his tweets since haven’t exactly bolstered his image.

    What happened to the wool yard? street food site planned to go near Perry cycles, perhaps they’d be more appreciative of a grateful bunch of locals.

  • I rather enjoyed the Woolwich one, a shame really. The Lewisham one looks like an apocalyptic version of London, middle-class drunkards huddled around barrel fires for warmth and no food in sight, only more alcohol.

    • It comes across as a safe haven from the rest of the borough. almost disneyfied in comparison to its surroundings.

  • Have you seen that Dial Arch pub at Royal Arsenal is now No-Dial House?
    The ancient dial has been removed.
    Was it not listed?

  • This is a bit saddening. I remember the ‘you can have your empty building back’ comment before Woolwich SF even opened, and at the time I put it down to assertive negotiation tactics. I hope that this latest message is in the same kind of spirit, but there does come a point when assertiveness/aggressiveness crosses over into just being unhelpful to everyone.

  • It was obvious to me as soon as they said they were not opening due to “electrical issues” that it was an excuse and they wouldn’t ever open again. If it was really due to electrical issues they would have given some sort of time line for opening again but they never did.

    The real reason is lack of foot fall. I visited there last year on a Friday night and it was pretty deserted. It’s obviously not doing the numbers and they want to save face although with outbursts like that one I think it’s a little late for face saving. I followed him for awhile on twitter but found him a bit obnoxious and up himself and soon stopped.

    As to why it failed I can only guess. Maybe partly it’s because Woolwich just isn’t ready. Maybe Woolwich just isn’t middle class enough because let’s face it that’s who is attending these things. I mean, I am working class as it gets, but I guarantee a huge percentage of the customer base is. Maybe it’s the perception that it’s too expensive. So many times I’ve told people about street feast only to get told it’s SO expensive. I don’t think so but that’s the perception in the area. I think it ties into the demographics of Woolwich again.

    Maybe it’s the food. I don’t think there street food offerings were great. When street feast first started I would travel all the way up to Dalston Yard to go. The quality was outstanding and many of the names back then now have restaurants of their own and well regarded and established. Slowly as they opened more and more and other street food operations opened the quality began to dip. They changed from an exciting weekly rotation to almost static with occasional changes. The offerings are certainly weaker and Woolwich was one of the worst. If I am honest the only good thing there was Rust Bucket Pizza although the quality did waver sometimes but still so good. A few like the pastrami thing were just plain awful. The rest of it just OK.

    Maybe it was the gangs and trouble Woolwich gets. I recently dined out in the Dial Arch and was absolutely shocked as I walked to the train station to see obvious gang activity out in the open in front of the DLR station. I felt really unsafe. There was loud music, joints being smoked, and a couple of obvious look outs. I don’t know if they were selling drugs or what. This is allowed to go on? Do the police not shut this down?

    I know this will be very unpopular to say but Woolwich was and still is a shit hole. This is coming from somebody that grew up in Woolwich and still lives locally. People keep banging on about how Woolwich is up and coming, utter nonsense. All that’s going to happen is the social and economic segregation that’s going on right now will keep going on. The “posh” bit of with it’s clean streets and no drinking in the streets signs (pity that’s not enforced in old Woolwich ) will keep getting attention and nice things and the old Woolwich will just be left to rot in it’s filthy streets and crime. Greenwich council is fully to blame. It’s obvious they don’t give a shit about ordinary local people. Time and time again it’s been proved that Greenwich council have no interest in the up keep, improvement, betterment, safety, or well being of normal residents.

    • Well said.

      You wrote from the heart of a real South Londoner.

      I think the ”’posh bits” of Woolwich will detoriate rapidly. Building with the cheapest and fastest of modern, almost modular construction will lead to a scandal bigger than ppi.

      If you have more than 20 snagging issues on your new build you are lucky.

    • I tried several of the dishes from the vendors but none really had any fire or imagination and were essentially variations on a theme, preparing a type of meal for a patron that never materialised. Either meat with skinny fries, squid with skinny fries or overpriced bao. Even Rusty Bucket was a shade of its former self, back from when they were outside Tesco. I found the guards extremely polite, the environs cold and the route to and from the station perilous.

      Woolwich is indeed a dump and has been since the early 90s. The blatant segregation is made vivid by the old Arsenal wall keeping out the poor, with their chicken shops, wig and mobile phone shops, like a tourniquet cutting off healthy from diseased. Unfortunately the rot is deeper than the Council or any developer will admit and the more you marginalise members of society, the more feral they will become.

      I suspect that as foreign buyers begin to abandon the quick-flip apartments and Crossrail drags on even the criminal element will become bolder and spread into the walled areas too. Woolwich Crossrail will probably be even more intimidating than the station after dark.

      The whole area is rotten: simply raising rents and promoting expensive eateries does not remedy this.

      • You don’t know what you are talking about Greenwich high street is the same as any high street with the retail as most of the big stores are struggling

      • You are both going on about the divisions in Woolwich, blaming the Council while labelling people in the “old part of town” rotten. Are you capable of sropping to think about your fould words or are you too busy bathing in your own self-importance?

  • I think every nail has been hit there Martin. Some will be controversial but does tally with my experience.

    I’m no sheltered person (born and bread on London council estates and still live on one) and don’t automatically see boys and think gang or get too bothered but walking through at 8-9pm does see stuff that just wouldn’t be allowed elsewhere. I don’t care about joints or whatever but some are angling for trouble. Are the police scared?

    Go through other so-called dodgy areas in London and its hard to find places as clearly left by authorities.

    It’s the lookout bit that you said that rings true. It isn’t just kids who could be mistaken by idiots and racists as gang members but actual activity that clearly is related to gang operation. In the middle of one of London’s major town centres in early evening by its main station. On the one hand it doesn’t affect me so shouldn’t be bothered but its symbolic of not giving a damn. And as I said, if some of the idiots didn’t try to cause problems I wouldn’t care.

    I suppose those in charge will do little unless someone dies (though been a few stabbings etc recently) but it surely does put people off going there. Spend all your millions on a bloody creative district but it wont work when the basic stuff is not done. Oh I forgot, the Crossrail station is on the safe side. Screw those arriving by train or DLR.

  • Martin – Very good comment.

    With regards Woolwich Street Feast i would like to add that probably it was not easy to attract the right traders/food points in Woolwich which explains the poor offer.

    Also I understand that at least one of the traders didn’t pay the due royalties to Street Feast which makes several Ks loss in less than a year. In short they had the location for free (not rental), they sold food for nearly a year making money and failed to pay the royalties to SF.

    in greenwich borough there is too high concentration of social housing and this carries issues in combination with weak enforcement from council.

    It will be dirty if people keeps constantly in making it it dirty . it doesn matter how many times you clean it.

    Why flytipping is so bad as opposite other boroughs?
    Why west greenwich look x times cleaner than eastern areas of the borough?

    It is the people that makes the difference always. Council can help in filling the gap

  • Martin – Thanks for a very interesting and well thought out comment. I don’t agree with it totally, but so what, you obviously care.

    Funnily enough the Street Feast thing never interested me. Who wants to eat surrounded by baying yuppies necking their lagers? Not me. But I fully appreciate some do, so let’s put the space to good use. The only thing was — it hasn’t worked. Can anyone put their finger on this?

    I also agree with Ian. A lot of these new builds are already starting to fray at the edges. I know one person in a new build in Woolwich who is desperately trying to move out due to never ending problems inside the block.

  • Well said Martin a brilliant comment and you are so right in what you say,

  • Street food is something that is well past it’s sell by date. What is on offer now is so rinsed that you might as well go to your local high road food factory.

    Woolwich was never the right place for such a venture as it is too far away from the sort of people that might have made it a success. The Lewisham one is at least in the Blackheath catchment area, but to my mind it’s a filthy venue and I wouldn’t even buy a bottle of beer there.

    Good riddance to a crap idea.

  • Martin, what are you on? And where can i get my hands on some ?

  • Is there a connection to be found here with the Spray Street development? Surely a well performing food market would play against the ambitions of St mods?

    A great shame it has closed and I would be keen to find out more about how street feast can surrender the lease so the space can be used


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