Page 45 - MarketTimesApril2016
P. 45

A woman called Sally Woods was famous for selling it on the market and claimed to have the authentic gingerbread recipe. Local women used to sell it to passing travellers including, on one famous occasion, the Prince of Wales, who stopped at Ormskirk railway station on his way to Balmoral.
The future Edward VII was mightily impressed by this Ormskirk delicacy by all accounts. So what about a gingerbread festival or a gingerbread bake off competition in Ormskirk to boost footfall to the market?
At least one of the traders would be up for the challenge. Neil Thompson turned his back on a lucrative career in accountancy to launch his confectionary business, Our House of Cupcakes, on the market.
“I have always loved baking. When I was made redundant I decided to try to turn my hobby into a business,” he said.
That was two years ago and Neil has created a successful business. He recently gained a contract to supply cakes for NatWest events, and he would definitely get involved in gingerbread making if it were to help the market.
Carolyn Lloyd-Knapman is also bringing a little local flavour to the market. “I specialise in Lancashire cheeses and started on the
market last October,” Carolyn said. She has got off to a good start, but is concerned about the threat to rural bus
services due to county council cuts.
This could easily have an impact on market
footfall, she says.
As well as Carolyn and Neil, there are
plenty of high quality food traders who are the core attraction at Ormskirk market.
They include fish man Alan Greenall who brings fresh fish from Fleetwood to the market every Thursday and Saturday.
“Ormskirk is a good market for us still,” said Alan, who has been trading for 20 years and more.
He has noticed a downturn in trade on Thursdays over the past 12 months which he puts down to the disruption caused by the repaving work. But all in all it’s a good market with a loyal following, Alan says.
As well as food, there is a good mix of traditional lines on Ormskirk, many of them run by traders who have been standing the market for decades.
John Cooper has been selling material on Ormskirk market for 48 years. His father started the market business in 1939.
“I can remember when the traffic used to come through the middle of the market,” John
said. “The market used to extend further than it does now, but it’s still busy.”
John Heaton has been on the market even longer than John. “I started standing the Thursday market when I was 15,” said John, who sells socks, tights and gloves.
“This market is affected by the weather. On a lovely day it’s heaven, but we struggle a bit in the depths of the winter.”
Joanne Finch, who has been selling underwear and nighties on the market for 20 years, agreed.
“It’s hard when it’s cold but we struggle through,” she said.
Loyalty and tradition are the foundations of Ormskirk market’s success. The older generation will continue to shop on this market twice a week.
But, as Coun Hudson puts it, Ormskirk is a town in transition. Nothing stays the same. And the council is looking for new ways to improve things and bring new, modern lines to the marketplace.
The plan is to consult with traders about improving the look of the market including the stalls. But modernising must go hand in hand with retaining the tradition and character of an ancient market — everyone agrees on that.
  Joanne Finch does well selling ladies underwear on Ormskirk in the Alan Greenall brings his fresh fish from Fleetwood to stand warmer months and struggles through the winter Ormskirk market every Thursday and Saturday
John Heaton, pictured with his wife Eileen, has been on the market for 48 years selling socks, tights and gloves
 l Market Days: Thursdays and Saturdays
l Market Rent: £25.30 for permanent traders and £27.80 for casuals
l Ormskirk’s Claim to Fame: Ormskirk in West Lancashire has traditionally relied on its rural economy and engineering, particularly for agricultural vehicles. These days Edge Hill University is important to the local economy.

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