Page 40 - Market Times February 2014
P. 40

 Looking on the
Hanley Market in Stoke-on-Trent
is warm, welcoming and wearing
rather well. NICOLA GOULD visits
a market in the basement of a 1980s
shopping centre where the glass is always half full.
      Times are tough in Hanley, but you wouldn’t know it from the buzz and banter in the market. Located in the basement of The Potteries Shopping Centre, the retail heart of the former six towns now known as Stoke-on-Trent, the market remains a community anchor.
It’s not like the old days by any means. Hanley and its sister towns were once an industrial powerhouse, not just for the pottery industry, but Staffordshire was a centre for coal mining too.
The pits may have closed and the pot banks are now few and far between. But Stoke people are a down to earth lot who value tradition. They have been shopping at markets in Hanley
since the early 1660s. There has been a market hall in the town since 1791. The Shambles Market, later known as the Butchers Market, was built in 1831, and the General Market opened in 1849.
The General Market was demolished in the 1980s to make way for the redevelopment of Hanley city centre and the current market opened on the same site in November 1987.
It is, say the traders, the perfect location. Stoke people may not have the financial clout of Home Counties shoppers, but they like the friendliness and traditional value of Hanley market, as the traders can testify.
Richard Bagguley, who runs Terry’s Bar, a market cafe started by his late grandmother in
1946, said: “We would all say that Stoke people are loyal market shoppers. I have worked here since I was 12 when I helped my father Terry. We rely on our regulars and try to repay them by using the best local products and keeping prices at great value.”
And Philip Clarke, who runs Clarke’s Butchers with his wife, Julia, and brother-in- law Rudi Darlington, said: “We took over a butchers business we used to work for and moved to this current stall five years ago. Trade is steady. Our customers are loyal and they like the atmosphere in the market and the opportunity to chat.”
Other traders are even more enthusiastic about Hanley market. Cousins Ehsan and Muj Shah,
  Philip Clarke runs Clarke’s Butchers with his wife, Julia and brother-in-law Rudi Darlington. They are pictured with members of staff Maria Daniels, far left, and Jack Weeldon, far right

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