Page 33 - MarketTimesOctober2013
P. 33

a colourful past
Chorley Market in Lancashire is flourishing since the council invested in a bright new revamp, including red and white gazebos. NICOLA GOULD takes a look at a market that attracts shoppers from across the North West
Chorley market place has a colourful history which featured the public auction of a wife — one Ann Morris sold for 11s 1d in 1817 — boxing matches, and circuses with wild animals, fortune tellers and, in the 1850s, a bearded lady.
Although today’s market lacks such exoticism and scandal, it remains a vibrant Lancashire market that illustrates how well planned investment can deliver a 21st century market that is perfectly integrated into the town’s retail offering.
There is a natural flow between the town’s
two markets and its retail centre, which is best seen on Tuesdays, when the Flat Iron Market takes centre stage.
It demonstrates exactly why town centres need markets and markets need town centres. Dating back to 1498, The Flat Iron Market
has developed from agricultural produce to one of the best open markets in the North West, with 75 to 80 gazebos.
Why it is called the Flat Iron isn’t entirely clear. Some say it is because of its shape, or it could be from the practice of displaying goods flat on the ground.
Either way, The Flat Iron has been on its current site since 1826. It covers half of the Market Walk car park and the bright red and white gazebos lead shoppers towards the nearby covered market, which is home to 40 units and nearly as many pitches.
Dennis Godsmark, market and events team leader, learned about its colourful history at his father’s knee.
“Chorley was a cotton mill town and if you stood on the hill and looked down, it was impossible to count the mill chimneys, there were so many,” he said.
Nicola Banks, market and town centre co-ordinator for Chorley Council
Dennis Godsmark, market and events team leader
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