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 Winchester market has flown since it moved in 2011 on to what is reputedly one of the world’s oldest high streets. Nicola Gould visits a buoyant market in what is officially a very happy place to live
    Paul Lewis, who runs private market operator SMT, Southern Market Traders Ltd, is pictured (centre) with Winchester market manager John Quinn (right) and Sam Hiscock, an artist who runs Winchester’s Sunday markets for SMT
If a market’s success depends on three things — location, location, location — then Winchester Market holds all the aces.
Now well established on the cobbled High Street of this historic cathedral city in Hampshire, the market takes centre stage on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with Sunday markets twice a month.
The footfall is impressive all year round, and in the summer when the tourists arrive in full force the High Street is often heaving.
And these are people with money in their pockets — or cards with plenty of credit — in what is one of the most affluent and sought after places to live. It also boasts the happiest
locals anywhere in the UK, according to a recent report.
But the market has not always fared so well. Back in 2010, it was down on its luck in its previous location tucked away near The Brooks Shopping Centre, Middle Brook Street.
Paul Lewis, who runs SMT, Southern Market Traders Ltd, and began his working life as a market trader on Winchester market selling boxer shorts 28 years ago, recalls the phone call that started the ball rolling.
“The market wasn’t doing very well and I got a call from the estates department asking if I would be interested in running it,” Paul said.
Paul had helped set up a traders’ co-operative
to run nearby Eastleigh market at about the time out-of-town shopping was coming into vogue and markets were being pushed onto the sidelines in car parks or back streets.
“I didn’t like what was happening and I wanted to do something about it,” he said. “To me it is obvious that markets should be in the heart of towns and cities and not pushed out and forgotten about.”
In 2007 when the co-operative was foundering he set up a limited company managing markets in the south of England and has been running it ever since.
“We have had our ups and downs, but having been a market trader I understand markets and
Tony Lee (left) who has been a market trader for 40 years rates Winchester market where he has been selling wooden construction models for the past 20 years

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