Page 37 - MarketTimesOctober2019
P. 37

FEATURE • MATLOCK
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      If you want a job doing well, call in an expert, they say. And that is exactly what has happened in the pic- turesque Peak District town of Matlock where the Knowles family have finally taken over the running of a market after 49 years of trading on them.
Graham Knowles, who turns 70 this year, became a market trader through a stroke of ill- fortune — but he hasn’t regretted it for a minute.
He left school to take up a roofing apprenticeship, but after being diagnosed with a heart problem and undergoing surgery he realised he could not continue with roofing so he decided he would do what he had always wanted to do and start his own business.
With the support of his wife, Jenny, who was working as a
window dresser, he decided to start selling ladies fashion and his first “gaff” was Bakewell Market nearly half a century ago.
“It’s hard to imagine it now but there were 70 casuals turning up wanting to get on to Bakewell market in the days when it was really hard to get on to most markets,” Graham said.
But he soon made a go of market trading and the family also opened a shop and stood markets around and about, often with their two young children in tow.
Their daughter Gemma was just three when she first lent a hand on the stall and 31 years later she is well established in market trading, although Robert, her brother, has taken a different direction and is now
a teacher.
“I didn’t take a holiday for
years,” said Graham. “But we all love the markets and it has been a wonderful life working with and serving people who have become friends,” he said.
So when Matlock Town Team decided to revive the long lost outdoor market as a way of rejuvenating the town, they asked Graham for help.
Matlock is a pretty town in the beautiful Peak District with some superb attractions nearby including Chatsworth House, but the town itself had gone into decline with one too many charity shops in the town centre.
“The town has an indoor market which doesn’t do particularly well and it used to have an outdoor market many years ago,” Graham said.
He had been asked many times in the past about taking a stall in Matlock and his reply was always the same — if they started a market in Hall Leys Park he would trade there.
The landmark park boasts a sunken garden and numerous family attractions and it is bang in the centre of town.
“When the team told me they were planning to have the market in the park I was delighted to help,” he added.
After Graham had spread the word among his fellow traders, there was a full market on launch day five years ago, but the weather was against them.
“For the first few market days it bucketed down with rain and I wondered if we would get the market going, but we did,” he said.
The locals were delighted
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