Albert Bone who in 1959 opened the first fruit and vegetable stall at what was then Barnet cattle market has died at the age of 95.
His family stall, now in the hands of his grandson Tyler Bone, is still going strong six decades later.
They regularly have the longest queue of any of the pitches at the twice weekly market currently held at the bandstand entrance to the Spires shopping centre.
In Albert’s time the cattle market was on the St Albans Road, at the junction with Chipping Close, and he acquired the most prominent pitch, just inside the market entrance, where he would do a brisk trade with help of his late wife Joan and daughter Rachel.
Albert’s son David started a separate vegetable stall next to his parent’s pitch when he left school and David now assists Tyler, who is 30, in running the family business.
Tyler said his grandfather was well and sprightly until quite recently and helped out regularly in the family yard at Hoddesdon.
“Unfortunately, he caught covid in the spring. He had been jabbed, but he had developed long covid and that took him down. He didn’t recover.”
In 2019 Tyler and David celebrated sixty years trading at Barnet market.
David, who started working with his father at the age of seven, said the family’s connection with Barnet began in the early 1950s when Albert had a green grocer’s shop in Edmonton and used to visit Barnet’s weekly cattle market to buy chickens, eggs, and rabbits.
“One day Albert asked the market guvnor, Mr Young, if he could start a fruit and vegetable stall.
“It was such a success that my dad gave up his shop for the twice-weekly stalls market in Barnet.
“After the cattle finished, the general market really took off and there were often as many as 50 stalls selling fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, household goods and all sorts of things.
“It’s always been a family affair. My father’s father, Albert Bone senior, used to help, and now my son Tyler runs the business.
“Over the years the whole family has come along: my dad’s wife Joan helped him with the stall, as did her mum May, and so did my sisters, Roma and Rachel.
“So that’s four generations who have been serving market customers in Barnet.”
Their customer loyalty can be gauged by the length of the queues that form up every Wednesday and Saturday morning for the fresh produce which the Bones have purchased the night before at the new Spitalfields Market in Leyton.
Much of the stall’s success is due to the wide range of Indian, Oriental, and Caribbean fruit and vegetables that the Bones have on sale.