Julian Baggine Deer Market House Moroccan evening
Update, summer 2022
Another festival, GreenZone 2022, is to be held in and around the Market House - watch this space, with talks and workshops upstairs in the Market House and environment groups' stalls and entertainment in the Market Place.
Update, summer 2020
Covid-19 and the resulting shop closures demonstrate the ongoing weakness of an economy (local and national) overly dependent on shopping. On-line shopping has been eating into the profits of bricks and mortar shops for years, a process accelered by the lockdown. It's now well overdue to reconsider how we use our town centres - meeting places and cultural spaces, such as, potentially, the Market House and The Old Post Office on Eden Street, look likely to take up some of the economic gaps left by shops.
Update 2017
Currently the Market House is home to a craft market, fabric shop and cafe, all useful in the town centre, but its long term future remains in doubt. Plans last year for it to be taken over by a pizza restaurant seem to have fallen through.
In March 2017 the director of this festival, Marilyn Mason, won a Mayor's Community Award; she was nominated by her choir, Euphonix, but the Award also included her work on local environmental issues.
Update, 2016
The development on the old PO site will go ahead, with community space in the Grade-2-listed old Post Office building, and, though it will take several years for it to become available to the community, we look forward to some of the activities highlighted by this festival, and Think in Kingston, and Kingston Philosophy Cafe, happening in this new space. There is also a new Facebook page exploring the possibility of Tedx events in Kingston/Surbiton.  
Update, 2013-15
The TOPO consortium worked hard to get a community venue, with much of the ethos driving the Market House Festival and including a community/cultural cafe, in the empty Grade-2-Listed Old Post Office building in central Kingston. Keep an eye on the TOPO website for developments...
UPDATE, 2013 and 2014
Kingston Connections
takes over the torch...

UPDATE, 2010 and 2011
Think in Kingston 
continues the spirit of the Market House Festival, bringing together local  community groups in a consortium to organise Kingston's annual festival of ideas.
Many of the aims and ideas of this Festival are now being developed by Vital Kingston "a community-led social enterprise. Our mission is to put the heart into our community by ensuring that our residents, our visitors and our workers, have and use a full range of informal places for social interaction, by day and by night."

From April 2010 Kingstonfirst will be managing the Market House - helpline and general enquiries: 020 8547 1221

The Market House Festival was a ten-day series of early evening events taking place in Kingston's historic Market House between April 7th and 18th, 2008. It was funded by an award from the Coffeehouse Challenge, sponsored by the RSA, Starbucks and T-Mobile. 

Thank you to everyone who organised or helped with or came to an event at the Market House. Event organisers and their friends and contacts were wonderfully generous with their time and with food and drink, helping to make events sociable as well as interesting and very varied in style. Thank you, too, to Kingstonfirst for lots of practical help and support, and to Borders Starbucks for providing refreshments.

If you want to know what you missed, or would like to see what  people did with their opportunity to use the venue, have a look at 
April in the Events Calendar or see the Festival flier hereand the Photo Album for some nice pictures.

Highlights and nice surprises of the second week of the Festival:
- The general consensus on most issues amongst the panellists at the "Faith and Atheism" discussion, and the generosity of the audience, who gave £75.33 to the charity of the evening, the Poppy Project.
- Powerful art and poetry by the residents of HESTIA Housing & Support at the Amnesty exhibition.
- Stephen Unwin's fascinating talk about the challenges of running the Rose Theatre, and its exciting new programme - pity there weren't more people to hear it!
- The robust defence of deer-culling in the Royal Parks at the talks organised by the Friends of Richmond Park and Friends of Bushy Park, and learning that muntjac deer have ferocious teeth - not to be tangled with. 
- Excellent wine and food provided by Nuggs, along with advice and recipes from the professionals.
- Student journalists turning up on several evenings, on an assignment to find and report events in Kingston, and the Surrey Comet photographer turning up at others. 

Highlights and nice surprises of the first week of the Festival:
• Angela of Borders Starbucks stepping in at the last minute to do refreshments, and she and her team providing them efficiently and with no fuss every evening they were required.
• Ramnath, of Vancha Ghar Nepalese restaurant in Tolworth, turning up at the "Strictly Salsa" evening with dishes of wonderful fragrant food.
• The speed and efficiency with which the eco-stall-holders set up their various, often complicated, displays, and then dismantled them again at the end of the evening.
• Many more people than booked coming to the Julian Baggini talk, helping to make it a good-sized audience and a lively evening.
• Generous samples of Arabic, Spanish, Polish, Chinese and Hindi food accompanying the languages at the "Language Bites" evening, all brought in, laid out, and then cleared away again, by Laura’s amazing team of helpers.
• The impressive teamwork of the Tadimi family and helpers, who worked so hard to transform the Delft room into Morocco for an evening, complete with tent, food, mint tea table, lanterns, silver dishes of sweetmeats and spices – and then back again at the end of the evening.

The Market House Festival was intended to help to improve and diversify the evening culture of Kingston town centre by demonstrating how the community could use this central but sadly underused asset, and I hope that local individuals, community groups and business will consider using the Market House for future events. One legacy of the festival is Kingston Philosophy Cafe, and although I don't intend to run another Festival and may not hire the Market House again myself, I'd be happy to talk to or advise anyone who would like to put on an event there.  
Marilyn Mason
Director, Market House Festival, April 2008


Market House at night

Do something different in Kingston after work or shopping - learn something new, talk about something new, meet new people...