Page 26 - MarketTimesDecember2017
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The poet Sir John Betjeman described Ludlow in South Shropshire as “probably the loveliest town in England” and the magazine Country Life dubbed it “the most vibrant”.
would gather to be hired for farm work.
By the last century it was housed in a market
producers and makers to get started,” she said. The idea is that it “feeds” traders into the
It boasts a famous castle, nearly 500 listed buildings, numerous independent shops and a picturesque market in the central square linking the castle with the upmarket retail centre.
hall within the old town hall, an impressive building that was controversially demolished 34 years ago when the market moved to its current location in Market Place.
general market, which has happened in the case of Lalita Kumari, who started Indian Street Food on the Thursday market and is now a regular trader on the general market.
So it’s hardly surprising that Ludlow market has flourished over many years.
But following a major consultation on ways to improve the market, it invested in fixed stalls, which are bolted into the ground, featuring bright blue and white striped canopies which are extra wide to protect shoppers from the elements.
Within months she notched up her first street food award and Lalita is now adding spice to the general market.
But in these difficult times for market trading, even markets like Ludlow need all the support they can muster.
In addition to the Thursday market, there is also a twice a month antiques and collectibles market on a Sunday, which just leaves Tuesday as the only non-market day, now reportedly the quietest shopping day in town.
As market manager Tony Caton puts it, we are living in uncertain times, which means more people are simply buying what they need, not what they fancy.
There are 43 stalls and 70 traders in all, with some long-established, core market traders standing all four days and others working fewer market days.
Ludlow has a calendar crammed with different events and festivals, including the Ludlow Food and Drink Festival, one of the first to be staged in the UK, which is held in the castle grounds in September.
In other words, there are fewer impulse purchases, and although footfall remains good on the four days a week general market, some traders struggle, even in Ludlow.
Town Clerk Gina Wilding said the general market was an important part of a mix of events and attractions which work well together to create the buzz and vibrancy that Ludlow is famous for.
Fortunately, Ludlow Market is in a strong position to weather any storm.
“For the past ten years we have had a Local to Ludlow produce market two Thursdays a month which is a great place for local
But the heart of it all is the market which is renowned for the quality of its offer and the eclectic mix of colourful stalls. As on any market worth its salt, food is key.
Dating back 900 years, the market used to stretch from the castle to beyond the historic Butter Cross, the building where labourers
It’s an ideal location. In the early days the town council, which runs the market, erected and took down the stalls each market day.
Lalita said: “My mother was a chef and I have some of her recipes. I love cooking Indian food at home so friends suggested I tried to make a living from it.”
  Lalita Kumari began her Indian Street Food business at Ludlow Food Festival this year and is now a regular market trader in the town
Mark Woodward, the long-serving cheese man on Ludlow market, is planning to retire imminently, although his wife, Wendy, will carry on with the business
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