If you’re keen to grab a bargain, the Lowestoft Lions Petticoat Lane market is the place to go

Petticoat Lane charity event in Commercial Road organised by members of Lowestoft Lions Club. EDP Petticoat Lane charity event in Commercial Road organised by members of Lowestoft Lions Club. EDP "Images of Lowestoft" book, published in 1996 Dated -- May 1969.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
8:52 AM

It started back in the late 1960s, but after an absence of more than a decade a popular market will return to Lowestoft this weekend.

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Petticoat Lane market at Lowestoft station in 1994. Pictures: MICK HOWES.Petticoat Lane market at Lowestoft station in 1994. Pictures: MICK HOWES.

Having amassed thousands of pounds for a variety of good causes over the years, the Lowestoft Lions Petticoat Lane market returns to town on Saturday.

The first market was held on Whit Sunday in 1969 and proved a great success. The Lowestoft Lions club had been trying for some time to come up with an original idea for a fund-raising event when inspired by the popularity of the Petticoat Lane street markets in London, they decided to hold the market just outside their meeting place in the town’s Commercial Road.

Ivan Hall, a current member of the Lions, recalls: “It went berserk. We were overwhelmed with offers of items to sell and soon filled our first store, which was a chicken shed in Corton Long Lane. It was jam-packed with furniture and white goods – with other items of clothing and bric-a-brac held elsewhere. In those days we were still able to sell washing machines and fridges and they proved to be sought after by buyers.”

The market was so well received that it was decided to make it an annual event. In the second year, an auction was introduced to sell off the more valuable items. The street market continued to thrive in Commercial Road for several years until the Lions were asked by Shell UK to find a new location as it needed to have seven-day access to its premises.

Petticoat Lane market at Lowestoft station in 1996. Pictures: MICK HOWES.Petticoat Lane market at Lowestoft station in 1996. Pictures: MICK HOWES.

A new central site for the market was found in Lowestoft Railway Station. The station concourse was filled with tables covered with clothing, toys and various small domestic items, while the land alongside the track was used as a furniture sales area.

Mr Hall said: “In those days we had about 60 members and they were all involved in collecting and sorting the donated items. We had so many goods that they didn’t all find buyers and we used a pop-up shop in town in London Road South for two to three weeks after the market to give customers a second chance to pick up a bargain.”

The market went from strength to strength but new legislation was introduced, putting restrictions on what could be sold. As a result, the market moved to a more compact site at The Triangle, off High Street but its long-term own into doubt and it stopped in 2003.

However, an invitation from Lowestoft Vision to resurrect the event will see Petticoat Lane 
reborn on Saturday from 10am to 4pm at The Triangle.

Petticoat Lane market at the Triangle in 2002. Pictures: MICK HOWES.Petticoat Lane market at the Triangle in 2002. Pictures: MICK HOWES.

New attractions will include a food area, fashion shows and entertainment throughout the day with a range of activities for children. The Beach radio will be in attendance, along with the mayor and Waveney MP Peter Aldous. An auction will be held at 12.30pm. Although entry to the event is free, the Lions will be holding a raffle during the day.

Have you got a Lowestoft story? E-mail mark.boggis@archant.co.uk

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