Yarmouth market's pea and pie stall holder to retire

End of an era as pie and pea stall quits Yarmouth Market

John and Gary Salmon have revealed their last trading day on Great Yarmouth market will be February 26, 2022. Their family have been selling pies and peas from the same spot since 1946. - Credit: Liz Coates

Gary Salmon's pea and pie stall is part theatre, part shop.

From his lofty position doling out little ceramic bowls of peas his salesmanship involves an impressive performance, joshing with customers and telling them he can't believe how great they look today.

The 72-year-old, working with his son John, and others like him, are arguably the heart and soul of Great Yarmouth's market place.

Gary Salmon at the pie and pea stall on Great Yarmouth's market is all for the £3.6m redevelopment a

Gary Salmon at the pie and pea stall on Great Yarmouth's market. His father started the business in 1946 Picture: Liz Coates - Credit: Archant

But now it's not so busy he has joined a number of other stall holders by deciding to call it a day.

While he will not be among those moving to the town's new market development, he supports the scheme and is happy to see change.

"It does need revamping, it is very tired," he said.

"We have to redevelop, it is the only way forward.

"The worst thing to do is to stand still and do nothing."

A man working at a pie stall in Great Yarmouth

John Salmon, who runs the Pie and Pea stall in Great Yarmouth outdoor market with his father, Gary. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Mr Salmon's family have been selling pies and peas with a sprinkling of mint sauce to hungry townsfolk since 1946. 

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He reckons it is the last of around four in the country to offer such an exclusive menu.

At one time four people worked on it but out-of-town retail, the internet, food delivery services, and now the pandemic have all hit footfall.

Great Yarmouth's new £3.5m market aims to open in Summer 2021 following a nine-month build Picture:

Great Yarmouth's new £4.6m market is taking shape but some of the longest serving stall holders have decided to bow out altogether. - Credit: Archant

"No disrespect but the people coming up here are my age and upwards," he said.

"They even deliver market chips now, what's it coming to? My father used to moan about the remote control and wonder 'whatever next?'

"Christmas is not the same. We used to do all the late night shopping and even open on Boxing Day. It was all hustle and bustle."

He said a combination of his age, the prospect of signing new leases and investing in new equipment had lead to his decision.

But pea lovers need not despair as the secret recipe is being passed on to his nephew who is taking a spot in the new covered market and will continue the family tradition.

The new stall will be called Johnny's Pies and Peas, after Mr Salmon's father, and include a wider range of food.

But peas will still be served in ceramic bowls as they have been since 1946, a practice suspended for safety reasons during the height of the pandemic.

John Salmon, who has worked alongside his father for 21 years, said it would probably be hard for him to adjust.

Their last day has been confirmed as February 26.