Page 29 - MarketTimesOctober2020
P. 29

FEATURE • LYMINGTON Fringed by the New Forest, the
picture postcard seaside town of
Lymington has more than its fair share of attractions — the pretty quay and harbour, cobbled streets, nearby beaches, marinas, yachting, forest walks and, last but not least, a vibrant charter market that brings colour and life to the town centre every Saturday.
It has been named as one of the best places to live and is a magnet for tourists who returned in their droves during this summer’s “staycations”.
No wonder the market bounced back relatively easily from lockdown and that casuals are champing at the bit to get back on to the market.
Established by a charter granted in 1250, the market is run by Lymington and Pennington Town Council and has stretched a long distant on both sides of the High Street every Saturday for as long as most people can remember.
That changed this summer when the council had to ensure that the busy market was COVID-safe following the lockdown.
Keith Wanless, one of three supervisors who take it in turn to oversee the Saturday market, explained that a decision was made to set up the stalls in one row to create space for shoppers. That meant there was no room for casuals and some
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 traders had to move from pitches they had traded from for years.
But Jo Kelly, also a market supervisor, said that on the whole they were just very happy to get back to trading and the influx of summer visitors had helped them get back on their feet.
So why is the market so successful?
“It has always been a very busy, popular market,” said Jo, whose father looked after the market before her.
“It has a really good mix of just about everything. We try to have no more than two or three of any line, but there is always something new and different which keeps people coming back.”
Sam Long, a third-generation fruit and veg trader who has an incredibly long stall on the Saturday market, probably hit the nail on the head.
“We absolutely love this market,” she said. “It is the best of all worlds. We have lots of lovely, loyal local people and it is a real hot spot for tourists and visitors.
“The market has all the traditional food stalls and things you expect like plants and flowers, but it is the variety and mix of businesses here that make it special. It’s the quirky, little stalls selling unusual, one-off things that bring people back time and again. They never know what they will find here. There is something for
everyone and a lot of unique small businesses.”
And Sam knows a thing or two about market trading. She runs the business her grandfather started from a horse and cart in Southampton before the war.
“He only had one arm but he built up the business from scratch and I can still remember how quickly he would wrap up cabbages in newspaper despite his disability.”
Sue and John Sings have enjoyed a lifetime of trading on Lymington market alongside their day jobs. “We first took a stall on this market selling wooden toys in 1973. I was still at college and we started selling them on the market to make a little extra money when we were saving up to buy our first home together.”
John worked in boat building but the couple continued with their market stall until three years ago. After a three-month break they decided to go back to the market where they now have a thriving business selling plants.
“It is a really friendly, busy market and we were glad to get back after lockdown,” she said.
The food and traditional stalls all report good trading since lockdown, and the more unusual arty, crafty businesses say they have benefited from the flood of
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