Page 43 - MarketTimesApril2020
P. 43

FEATURE • HEREFORD BUTTER 43
 Hereford Butter Market is being transformed into a haven for fine food and drink after it was bought by a property developer with grand designs and deep pockets. Nicola Gould reports
    After years of neglect, Hereford Butter Market is being transformed into a warm and welcoming hub for fine food, drink and much more — all thanks to a millionaire property developer.
And what could be more appropriate in the county that boasts some of the world’s most iconic food and drink — from Hereford beef to locally produced cider?
The market has had a chequered history. Built in 1860, the magnificent building was almost razed to the ground by a devastating fire in 1923, with only the impressive frontage saved from the flames.
The interior was rebuilt and it reopened a few years later. With its impressive iron
and glazed roof and a similar layout to today, it was soon back to its central role in the life of this cathedral city.
It was packed to the gills, particularly on the days when the cattle market was held in the city centre.
Market butcher Joe Phillips and his father Michael both recall market days when shoppers could hardly move through the building and they served customers non- stop all day.
“It was busiest on Wednesdays and Saturdays when the cattle market used to be held nearby,” said Joe, who started working on the stall as a Saturday boy aged 12 and now runs the business which was
started by his grandfather, Ernie, in 1960. “We used to have nine staff behind the
counter and two in the basement,” he added.
Moira Davidson, who has helped with the development and promotion of the market for the past two years, said: “Older people have really fond memories of shopping in the butter market. They talk about all the wonderful stalls and apparently there were peacocks.”
One of those with warm memories of shopping there is Darren Sockett, who is Hereford born and bred and now heads a successful property development company.
A plumber by trade, he got into building
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