Page 5 - MarketTimesOctober2019
P. 5

                    Truro’s Pannier Market has been brought back from the brink by a remarkable family of market traders who bought it lock, stock and barrel 15 years ago. Nicola Gould hears an uplifting story of a family who, against the odds, have turned around the fortunes of the market
        When the Roach family from Yorkshire set off in two caravans for a new life in Cornwall the future was uncertain.
Dad, John, had given up his butchers business in Rotherham and had never been to Cornwall in his life, so it was a complete leap of faith.
All these years later the family is still very much together and John and wife Kath’s children, John, Fiona and Janette own, run and trade on Truro Pannier Market, which itself has an unusual and fascinating history.
Like so many communities in the West Country, Truro, a cathedral city and Cornwall’s county town, once had a traditional pannier market where farmers would bring their produce in panniers to
sell on market day.
But that market faded away many years
ago. The revived pannier market in Lemon Quay started life as a car showroom and workshop which was converted into a factory manufacturing wings for Spitfire aircraft during World War II.
In times gone by Lemon Quay was an open harbour where boats docked, but in the 1930s the harbour was covered in to create a car park.
After the war the building was returned to its original use before becoming unused and derelict.
By the time a number of traders negotiated to use it as a pannier market, Truro was a busy centre and the building was a good location for such an enterprise.
Steve Whittingham, who started on the
market 27 years ago and still runs a popular expresso bar and café and a second-hand furniture business there, is a mine of information about the market’s history.
“When the first traders started using it they just had panniers and sold from tables,” he said.
The traders formed a board, of which Steve is now chairman, and they more or less ran the market while the owners took the rent.
John Roach junior recalls how his family first became involved in the market. “We came down to Cornwall in 1980,” he said. “Dad had a butchers shop and I remember standing on a milk crate and helping out when I must have been about four.’
When they arrived in Cornwall John senior got a job with a butchers in the
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