The market began in 1656 when the Duke of Bedford allowed several temporary stalls to be built in the gardens of Bedford House, his London home.
In the 1650s, the first pineapples were grown in England, and so popular did they become that they were adopted as the symbol of the market. The Duke subsequently sold the market licence, and by 1700 there was a regular thrice-weekly market selling fruit, vegetables, flowers, roots and herbs. In 1748, the market was rebuilt by the Duke, and the tone of the market was raised considerably. The area around Covent Garden became synonymous with theatre and opera. The current colourful market building, full of light and space, was designed by Charles Fowler and built in 1828. In 1974, the market moved to a new site at Nine Elms in Battersea called New Covent Garden, but the original site has now been redeveloped into a thriving market once more, with a variety of shops.