Page 3 - MarketTimesOctober2019
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October 2019
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Times
October 2019
                                ON THE COVER
FEATURES
     Trading as usual in Barnard Castle
Barnard Castle’s traditional high street market has continued much the same since the town council took over its running in 2016 — and that suits everyone. Nicola Gould visits a market in rural Teesdale where harmony reigns
 There are no trailblazing plans in the pipeline to transform the unassum- ing market in the tourist hotspot of Barnard Castle in County Durham.
Michael King, the clerk of the town council who manages the market himself, simply wants to keep the rent low — at £10 for a standard pitch it is an absolute bargain — and support the traders as much as possible.
And that simple resolve has done more than any highfaluting masterplan to keep the traders and shoppers happy and secure the future of a historic market that has stood the test of time.
“Ask anyone about Barnard Castle and they will mention the market. In many ways it defines the town,” said Michael.
It dates back to a charter granted in 1293 to Bernard de Balliol, also known as the King of Scotland, who gave the town its name and its castle, now a ruin, which stands on a high rock overlooking the Tees Gorge. The market has remained in its traditional location in Market Place and Horse Market. In recent years it was run by a succession of councils until Durham County Council decided to lease the
running of its markets to outsideoperators.
Michael said that the town council jumped at the opportunity to run the market and won the tender. As well as having responsibility and the power to nurture the market, they were also aware that the alternative of a private operator could bring change and disruption.
“This market was never a big money maker,” he said. There is limited space on the sloping cobbles for a maximum of 19 stalls, he explained. But, like locals and visitors, the town council understood the value of the market and its essential role at the heart of the history and heritage of this picturesque town.
There are other attractions. The town is home to the magnificent Bowes Museum, with its famed art collection and its prize silver swan automaton. And it is a tourist destination at the gateway to Teesdale.
But it is the market that means the most to local people, Michael said.
“It is a very traditional market with many of the traders having been here for a long time. They bring their own stalls and set up on the cobbles every Wednesday and it is a warm, friendly
Town Clerk Michael King, who manages the market
 atmosphere. Everyone helps each other out.”
Michael found that out for himself when he shadowed the former market supervisor during February 2016, before the town council took over its running.
That gave him a good insight into the issues facing traders, from cars parking on the cobbles as they try to set up to the vagaries of the weather.
The former supervisor mentioned some of the things he would have done “if he had a free hand”, and Michael realised that the town council did have a free hand. Basically, though, not much has changed. “We adopted some rules and regulations, but with a market like this you have to be pragmatic,” Michael said.
In the summer the market is
     Young Trader of the Year 2019 Frankie Farrar with The One Show presenters Matt Baker and Alex Scott
— p24
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Barnard Castle — p16
      The rise and rise of Wells Market
    With its perfect location in the heart of picturesque Wells and an eclectic mix of fine food and high quality craft and gift stalls, Wells Market is a magnet for shoppers and the envy of its neighbours. But it wasn’t always so.
Nicola Gould reports on an impressive transformation
market on the adjoining cobbles in front of the town hall.
Now the two markets have merged, with the majority of the fine food businesses
creating a gourmet’s haven by the town hall.
The farmers’ market ethos has been maintained, with award-winning farm produce, some hot food and the finest
fresh produce imaginable.
The tone is set by local farms such as Whitehouse Farm which boasts three acres of cherry trees. Every summer students pick the crop of
cherries and this summer one of them, Imogen Donaldson, donned a home-made cherry apron and carried a basket full of cherries to give shoppers a taste of the good life.
 Wells may be England’s smallest city after the City of London, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in attractiveness and attractions. Steeped in history and nestling amid the beautiful Mendip Hills, it is famous for its iconic cathedral, the moated Bishop’s Palace, its “wells” or springs that give the city its name and its ancient market, a flagship event dating from a charter granted in 1201 that brings the city to life every Wednesday and Saturday.
Now a source of great pride and a showcase for the best produce, food and quality products that Somerset has to offer, the market hasn’t always set such high standards.
Rose Walker, a markets officer with
Mendip District Council which now runs the market, said that 20 years ago it was on its last legs.
Janet Jackson, who sells hats, and Pearl Davis, who runs a cheese deli, say it wasn’t so much down-and-out as down- market.
Pearl, who has been trading back-to-back with Janet for the past 23 years, said: “There were quite a number of stalls selling cheap goods, alongside the quality traders.”
Janet knows Wells market better than anyone, having started selling underwear in 1978 when traders had to put up their own tables and the rent was 50 pence. “It has always been a busy market and very friendly,” she said. “But these days
every stall is very professional and the lines are high quality.”
And the person they most credit with the transformation is the retired market manager Stuart Beaton, who managed it for many years, first for a private operator and then for the council.
The current market manager, Graham Jeffery, is following in Stuart’s footsteps. Suzanne Sharpe, who is relatively new to her role as the council’s markets and events manager, said the council had instigated a drive to improve the market, with the emphasis on quality and fine food. A private operator used to run a farmers’ market on Wednesdays, with the general market setting up stall on the ancient cobbled market place, and the farmers’
 In the five years since Castle Cary’s long-lost market was relaunched, it has established itself as a thriving market and a community hub. Nicola Gould reports on a success story that has inspired neighbouring towns in Somerset to consider starting their own market
ALondoner born and bred, Angela Piggott felt she had found the perfect retirement spot when she moved to the picturesque south Somerset town of Castle Cary 10 years ago.
There was just one thing missing — a market.
“A market town without a market just didn’t seem right,” said Angela, who had worked as a market trader, a teacher and a photographer at different stages in her life. So she set about trying to start one up.
Castle Cary was once a thriving town which grew around the weaving industry, including one company that made ropes for ships and another that still manufactures from horsehair.
There had been a Thursday charter market dating back to the 17th century. Then in 1855, just before the arrival of the railway, the old market was knocked down to make way for the current market hall, an impressive Grade II listed building in the heart of the town.
But at some point in the dim and distance the market faded into oblivion, and when Angela joined Castle Cary Town Council and asked about the possibility of relaunching it she was told the chances were not good.
“Although the council was supportive and wanted a market, they warned me that an operator had tried to start a farmers’ market and it had only lasted a few weeks,” Angela said.
Undaunted, she got permission to run a questionnaire asking local people whether or not they wanted a market, what stalls they would like, and how often the market should run.
The results suggested that people wanted a weekly market where they could buy local produce and goods.
  A new market putting Castle Cary on the map
 That it is held just once a week is one of Castle Cary market’s strengths
  Traders making the most
of Matlock Market
Matlock’s long gone outdoor market was revived five years ago in a bid to improve the fortunes of the Derbyshire town that nestles amid the hills and dales of the Peak District. It has gone from strength to strength since a market trader family took over its running a year ago. Nicola Gould reports
Graham and Jenny Knowles are pictured with their daughter Gemma, holding a new market banner. A year ago they made the momentous decision to invest in and run the market they helped set up five years ago. Jenny served as President of Ashfield NMTF branch from 1980 to 1988 and remembers taking Gemma to the federation’s conference when she just four months old
 Castle Cary — p30
Matlock — p36
Wells — p42
  Celebrating a century of selling crabs in Doncaster’s fish market
List your business for FREE!
Fears allayed over fate of stalls at York’s Shambles Market
NEWS, REPORTS etc
The NMTF is going to Blackpool! 20
11 Whistable’s new-look Harbour Market
11 is making a splash 22
Millions watch NMTF Young Trader
14 of the Year crowned on national TV 24
Whitchurch Market move is hailed
a success 40
NMTF member benefits 46 Market Times quiz 47 Advertisers index 47
Editor: Roy Holland 01226 352808 • Assistant Editor: Vanessa Higginbottom 01226 352812 • Editorial Assistant: Rebecca Johnson 01226 352806 Journalist: Nicola Gould • Email: publicity@nmtf.co.uk
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