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2019: The year Norwich Market turned a corner

PUBLISHED: 17:04 31 December 2019 | UPDATED: 19:52 31 December 2019

Taxi Vintage Clothing owner Mark Wright said the market was an alfresco social club. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Taxi Vintage Clothing owner Mark Wright said the market was an alfresco social club. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Archant 2019

Vacuum cleaner parts, a Korean Bao bun and vintage dungarees are not often found side-by-side.

Specialist butcher Pickerings has traded in Norwich market since 1984. Picture: Ruth LawesSpecialist butcher Pickerings has traded in Norwich market since 1984. Picture: Ruth Lawes

But at Norwich Market, which won best large outdoor market in Britain in the Great British Market Awards 2019, they are just a handful of the eclectic items on offer at nearly 200 stalls.

One of the oldest and largest outdoor markets in the country, stall owners have been setting up shop there for the past 900 years.

Owner of Spanish deli Churros for the People Hugo Malik said business is weather dependent. Picture: Ruth LawesOwner of Spanish deli Churros for the People Hugo Malik said business is weather dependent. Picture: Ruth Lawes

And despite the birth of online shopping, a controversial renovation in 2005 and the changing landscape of Norwich's high street, the market has been celebrating a prosperous year.

The Mushy Peas Stall owner Anita Adcock, 59, from Hellesdon, said 2019 had been fantastic because the market had revitalised in the past two years.

Debs, Mike and James Read have been on the market for 50 years. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019Debs, Mike and James Read have been on the market for 50 years. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

She also said part of the success was due to the shift of shopping back to the Gentleman's Walk area.

Ms Adcock said: "When Chapelfield was built that became the centre and we lost some trade. But it's slowing moving back to the market area - particularly with the refurbished Primark. That will certainly help us."

Alexander Pond, owner of Pond's Flowers, said the business has been open for 200 years. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019Alexander Pond, owner of Pond's Flowers, said the business has been open for 200 years. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Dietary changes, such as veganism and food intolerances, have been the biggest difference since the stall opened in 1949 but Ms Adcock said adaption was key.

She said: "The market has been a success and continues to be in 2019 because it has evolved with the times."

Norwich Market has been trading for around 900 years. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019Norwich Market has been trading for around 900 years. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Richard Anderson inherited Andersons from his father and has run the clothing and workwear stall for 40 years.

He said the past five years had seen an influx of younger customers, crediting the rise in food stalls.

How's 2019 been for market traders in Norwich? Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019How's 2019 been for market traders in Norwich? Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

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Mr Anderson said: "It's been really good this year, especially over Christmas. I hope that it continues in 2020."

Anita Adcock is the third generation of her family to run The Mushy Peas Stall. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019Anita Adcock is the third generation of her family to run The Mushy Peas Stall. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

He added the influence of online shopping had been felt - but it did not stall trade in 2019.

"Not everyone wants to click." he said "People want to have a one-to-one personal service. But I have had to diversify products to compete with the i=nternet and choose items that aren't online."

Norwich market won best large outdoor market in the country in 2019. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019Norwich market won best large outdoor market in the country in 2019. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Mark Wright, 50, has celebrated a decade in business as owner of Taxi Vintage Clothing and said the year had been good.

He described the market as an alfresco social club.

Richard Anderson has sold workear and clothes on the market for 40 years. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019Richard Anderson has sold workear and clothes on the market for 40 years. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Mr Wright added: "People come here for social interaction and a chat - you can't get that elsewhere. The market is what makes Norwich unique and that will never change."

For Costessey-born Brian Pickering, who works at specialist butchers Pickerings, 2019 was steady.

Steve Boardley, Samm Bemment and David Neech work at City Fish, which has lived in the market for 47 years. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019Steve Boardley, Samm Bemment and David Neech work at City Fish, which has lived in the market for 47 years. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

The 77-year-old said: "There has not been an increase but not a drop either. The market is the best in the country in my opinion and it will continue to draw people in."

Mr Pickering has worked as a butcher for 62 years and said specialist produce - the stall sells 26 varieties of sausage - meant the core customer base had not wavered over the years.

Fishmonger David Neech, 47, said the year was also steady for City Fish but Christmas had been particularly popular.

Three years ago, Hugo Malik opened Spanish deli Churros for the people on the market because it was expanding.

The 52-year-old said: "Chain businesses are struggling now as people are coming back to independent shops. The only thing that affects us is the weather and, aside from a rainy May and October, business has been good."

Pond's Flowers owner Alexander Pond, 55, summed up the year and said: "It's been brilliant and it just gets better. I think 2020 will be beautiful. Just right."


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