Page 30 - MarketTimesOctober2019
P. 30

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.
That it is held just once a week is one of Castle Cary market’s strengths
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A new
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