LONDON — With the ringing of a bell, Borough Market reopened for business on Wednesday — less than two weeks after it was targeted in a deadly terrorist attack.
Traders held a minute of silence to pay tribute to the victims of the 18-minute vehicle-and-knife rampage that started on London Bridge. Three terrorists were fatally shot by police in the market.
As stalls were set up, the Bishop of Southwark Christopher Chessun walked through the market with two assistants burning incense in silver carriers.
"People's lives here are returning to normal but some people's lives will never return to normal," the bishop said. "We sprinkled holy water at one of the sites of the attack and we pray for God's healing grace for those still in trauma."
For many, there was an overwhelming sense of relief.
Tomas Baranski, the head chef at the El Pastor Mexican restaurant, said: "Everyone is so positive to be back and there's a great feeling now, but it's a rush now to prepare all the food in time to open."
London Mayor Sadiq Khan and news mogul Rupert Murdoch were among those who attended Wednesday's ceremony.
A two-minute walk from London Bridge, Borough Market is filled with restaurants, bars, food stands and cafes.
“Every day we ring the bell to signify the market opening and we will be ringing it hard to say that we are back,” Borough Market managing director Darren Henaghan said. “This market is one of the most diverse places in London. There are over 100 nationalities represented here and food from around the world. We celebrate that and sell it with pride.”
Even before the market reopened, nearby restaurants quickly filled up.
On Tuesday, the usual line of customers at popular pasta restaurant Padella stretched down the street 15 minutes before it opened.
Just a few steps away a blue tarp blocked the main entrance to the market, marked by rows of flowers and a sign reading: "Please bear with us as we work to recover from recent events."
The market itself is one of London’s oldest, with a history going back around 1,000 years. Cobblestones line many of the streets, and it's home to upscale fruit and vegetable sellers, artisanal food stalls, and trendy eateries.
Down the street from the market, a public space at the end of London Bridge has been turned into a makeshift memorial.
Thousands of flower bouquets and notes have been left by visitors from around the world.
“I did for anxious on the first day back but you have to work and now I am surprised at how safe I feel,” said Terry Jones, owner of London Bridge Souvenirs, a small stall overlooking the pop-up memorial. “You just carry on with life. I’ve been here 15 years and have no plans to leave.”