Page 25 - Market Times February 2014
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                                                 Tavistock Pannier Market is a colourful cornucopia of home- cooked and local produce, crafts, artwork, gifts and every kind of product and service imaginable. NICOLA GOULD takes a look
  Described as the town’s hidden gem, Tavistock Pannier Market is upholding the great West Country tradition of pannier markets in the most effective way possible — by thriving and expanding.
Hidden it certainly is. The handful of stalls and gazebos outside leads shoppers through arches into the grand Grade II listed Market Hall, which is surrounded by small shops and stalls.
It’s not so much a single, hidden gem as a colourful treasure trove of 170 stalls and businesses selling the best of local, home cooked and produced food and produce, crafts and art work.
The colour and variety of the offering is overwhelming. So it is unsurprising that Tavistock pannier market is the mainstay of this West Devon town at the edge of Dartmoor.
The market has an ancient history dating back to 1105 when Henry I granted the Abbey at Tavistock a charter for a Friday market.
For centuries the Friday market was one of the largest in Devon, with horses and carts lining every available space on market days.
The seventh Duke of Bedford decided to bring order to the chaos by building a market hall, which was completed in 1864.
The market has survived civil unrests, a plague, the various wars of history and the boom and decline of the tin and copper industries, which made Tavistock a
bustling centre of trade and commerce.
It has moved with the times, and changed from food
to a mixed market serving the local community, the wider West Country and the tourists who flock to Devon every summer.
And while some pannier markets have been treading water in the recent recession, Tavistock has capitalised on its assets.
Duane Caruthers, market manager or ‘reeve’, and his deputy, James Bell, who run the market for Tavistock Town Council, believe that variety and the introduction of themed market days has kept the market fresh and attractive.
Duane Caruthers (right) is Tavistock market manager or ‘reeve’ and James Bell is his deputy
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