Stallholders have been shunted out of Shadwell's 150-year-old Watney Street Market for three months while the local authority tackles antisocial activity and improves public safety.

They have been given temporary pitches along Commercial Road and on the corner of Tarling Street towards Shadwell station while Tower Hamlets Council gives the place a £3million makeover.

A new street concourse is being laid out with better drainage and new stall “ground anchor” points, while the underground car park gets the sprinkler system upgraded.

“These works will cause some disruption to the area,” mayor Lutfur Rahman admits.

“They are to increase public safety and reduce anti-social behaviour in the area.

“Our contractors are making sure to minimise disruption as much as possible.”

The famous little market first opened in 1881 when JJ Sainsbury expanded its grocery business and attracted other traders to the area.

It had its first major overhaul in the 1960s when the narrow, cobbled Watney Street was paved over as a pedestrian precinct — but this later attracted gangs of youths at night.

The latest reconstruction now under way is being carried out between 8am and 5pm weekdays to avoid disrupting shoppers at the remaining parade of shops.

The work is due to be completed by May when the stallholders return.