‘Spirited’: the children brave the cold to chat to traders. Photograph: House of Illustration

A group of “forthright and spirited” primary school pupils from Hackney have had a book published that features their illustrations about Ridley Road Market.

As part of a project run by London charity and art gallery House of Illustration (HoI), children from Princess May school were asked to document their thoughts on their 150-year-old local market.

Clapton-based illustrator Sion Ap Tomos spent five days with the kids at the market and in the classroom, where they mocked-up stalls and studied historic photographs of Ridley Road.

Colourful: an extract from the booklet. Image: House of Illustration

Local artist Lucinda Rogers also invited the children to her own exhibition about Ridley Road, On Gentrification, and offered them a few handy tips to help them on their way.

Ap Tomos said: “The pupils of Princess May made this project from start to finish.

“Their enthusiasm and sense of adventure was a real inspiration, both in drawing at the market on busy cold days and experimenting with new drawing and painting techniques.

“They were open, forthright and spirited and I think that shines through in the work they have created.”

Meat and greet: butchers and other traders got involved in the project. Photograph: House of Illustration

Many of the pupils shop at Ridley Road Market with their families, and HoI’s schools producer Grace Attlee described their work as “symbolic of the many rapidly changing areas of London”.

She added: “The book allows us to see through the eyes of children who evidently have a lot to say about their local environment, and care greatly about its history and protecting it in the future.

“I am delighted to witness another example of how illustration can be used as such an efficient tool to report facts, emotion and tell a story so vividly and accurately, this time about an important location that is under threat of disappearing.”

The booklet was published this week and it will be distributed by the children to market traders, with a limited number available to buy at HoI’s shop.

The charity’s head of education Emily Jost said: “All of our work in the education department aims to equip children with skills and confidence to convey their messages visually: we teach them to be illustrators.

“This project and wonderful outcome is a perfect example of what we strive to do every day.”

For more information, please visit www.houseofillustration.org.uk

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