Page 36 - MarketTimesJune2016
P. 36

Burton-upon-Trent Market is making a strong come-back after a £1.5 million refurbishment saw the indoor market closed for a year and
the outdoor moved. Nicola Gould reports on a resurgent market with a strong community spirit
    It’s a pleasure to meet the motley set of traders at Burton-upon-Trent Market — “Oh no it isn’t!” — “Oh yes it is!”
There’s the vicar who sells the finest cheese and deli products. There’s the opera singer who now runs a unique gift business. There’s the chemistry teacher who sells plants in the indoor market when he isn’t giving instructions around a bunsen burner. And there’s a new fish man on the outdoor market dressed up as a red lobster.
Although these traders are relatively new to the market, they definitely know how to put on a show.
Every single trader got involved in putting on the pantomime Cinderella that was staged in the market last year in aid of the local YMCA.
And they are planning another next November, according to Terry Williams, who is a vicar three days a week and the proprietor of The Abbot’s Delicatessen on the indoor market at other times.
“We are a community of traders in this market and I suggested we put on a pantomime to support the very good YMCA we have locally and as a way of bringing everyone together,” he said.
Terry was producer and director, as well as playing both the parts of the two ugly sisters. But every trader got involved either in acting
or creating props and costumes, and the show was a great success, both as a fundraiser and a morale booster.
The community effort was important because Burton market had been through a difficult time while vital refurbishment work was carried out on the indoor market.
Burton’s market dates back to a charter granted by King John to the Abbot of Burton Abbey in 1200.
The East Staffordshire town is synonymous with brewing. At one time a quarter of all the beer sold in the UK was brewed here and several breweries remain.
That unmistakable whiff of malt has been part of the market shopping experience for centuries.
The open market in the pedestrianised Market Place, with the Victorian market hall along one side, has been the focal point of the community for generations.
But time had taken its toll on the market hall, which was built in 1883 to replace an older structure.
It needed a great deal of investment to improve it and the council decided to close it for a year while the work was carried out.
This included work on the roof, new flooring and lighting. The upstairs balcony area was opened up to the public and fixed stalls were removed from the central area to provide a
Catherine Malkin is the market manager at Burton-upon-Trent
more flexible space where pop-up stalls can trade during the day and events can be held in the evenings and on Sundays
The lock-up units around the periphery have been refurbished and the market now has a light, airy feel about it, without losing its Victorian character.
Catherine Malkin, who manages the market for East Staffordshire Borough Council, said: “The consultants Quarterbridge got involved. As it was major work the council couldn’t keep the market open and we also had to move the outdoor traders to Station Road off the High Street, which wasn’t ideal for them,” she said.
A few indoor traders moved into the shopping centre, but several retired and some found alternative trading sites.
Everyone was invited to return when it reopened with a great fanfare in June 2014, but sadly none did. The good news is that a lot of new traders were tempted to give the new- look indoor market a go and occupancy is running at 80 per cent.
What’s more, there have already been some significant success stories.
“One healthy food business, Yolo, has really taken off on its internet side after starting in a market unit,” Catherine said..
Another success story is Summerhouse Bakery, which was started by Tracey Heap,
Michelle Shipley is a talented opera singer who has set up shop in the indoor market with a fledgling business called Charisma selling cards and unusual giftware made from recycled aluminium that is polished and enamelled

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