Indoor Market Preston – Epilogue

I’ve been here, before recording the prelude to the epilogue, here at Preston’s Indoor Market.

So on my return this February, I find that the inevitable end, is indeed now past nigh.

Boarded and shuttered awaiting demolition – Waiting for The Light to shine:

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Preston City Council has granted planning permission to Muse Developments’ £50m cinema-led leisure scheme in the city centre.

Muse is working in partnership with the council on the plans, made up of an 11-screen cinema operated by The Light, seven family restaurants, a 593-space multi-storey car park and public realm improvements.

The project forms part of the wider regeneration of the Markets Quarter which includes the full refurbishment and redecoration of the grade two-listed market canopies and the construction of a glazed Market Hall.

Preston to their credit have become an exemplar for inward urban regeneration, and the work undertaken so far in the market area is bringing new life and trade to the area.

That said, it is always saddening to see the architecture of the Sixties swept aside.

So come take one last wander through the concrete warren of ramps, underpasses and tunnels of the unwanted indoor market.

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Preston Indoor Market

Built in 1973 scheduled to be closed and demolished in ten days time.

The future is not so red rosey for yet another traditional local market.

A typically boxy arrangement of steel, concrete, asbestos glass and brick, the complex of trading units, stalls and parking is not without charm. Though as with many other developments of its type, it seems to be without friends, then inevitably without customers and traders.

Following a template originated at London’s Borough Market, developers and councils seem to favour the modern artisan over the proletarian . This concept when meshed with the multi-plex and chain restaurant/bar amalgam, provides a shiny new future, for the shiny new shape of all our retail and leisure needs.

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So ta-ta to another world of hats and socks, fruit and veg, workwear for workers.

You’ve just about time to pop in for a brew.

Two sugars, stirred not shaken.

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Coventry – Indoor Market

A market hall built in 1957 to designs by Douglas Beaton, Ralph Iredale and Ian Crawford of Coventry City Architect’s Department.

 Various designs were considered, but eventually a circular design was chosen to encourage circulation and to offer a number of entrances. It was given a flat roof in order to create a car park (with a heated ramp to prevent icing, now no longer there), and was to become the central focus for a complex scheme of linked roof car parks in Coventry.

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 The market consists of a series of concrete arches joined by a ring beam, all left exposed, with brick infilling and a concrete roof, laid out as a car park, with a central circular roof light. It has a circular plan, just over 84m in diameter and 4 ½ m high, is laid out with 160 island stalls, arranged in groups of two or four units in concentric rings, with 40 `shop stalls’ set into the perimeter wall.

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Inside, the circular space is characterised by the tall V-shaped concrete `columns’ that hold the roof. Some of the original shop and stall signs have survived. Natural light enters via the clerestory windows along the top perimeter of the building and through the clerestory lighting and oculi in the central dome. The space under this dome, designed as an area for shoppers to rest, is lined with seats and has a terrazzo mosaic floor designed by David Embling, with a central sun motif, a gift from the Coventry Branch of the Association of Building Technicians.

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Above the current market office is an impressive painted mural by art students from Dresden commissioned especially for the market in the 1950s in a Socialist Realist manner, depicting farming and industrial scenes. 

Thanks to Historic England

I visited the market on a busy bustling day and was made to feel more than welcome, a wide range of heavily laden stalls was trading briskly. The Market Office kindly gave me a copy of the book Coventry Market in a Roundabout Way.

It’s a splendid structure, now listed, that functions six days a week.

Get down take a look around.

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Stockport – Room at the Top

Every town worth its salt should have a decent second hand book shop.

Stockport does.

Room at the Top – on the ever so elegant Market Square, centre of the Old Town and part of the ever enlarging nexus of vintage shopping.

Jane, John and Lynn offer a wide selection of books, records, art, ephemera, glass, toys, ceramics and almost all sorts, in their first floor eyrie of happiness.

Always at the most reasonable of prices – you can get a brew too!

So take an hour out to browse, pursue and lollygag in convivial surroundings.

Leave with bags full excitement and a broad grin.

Manchester – Openshaw Indoor Market

It’s dark inside, you can feel the thin light at war with the murky interior.

Stall holders scurry between stalls, in and out of alcoves, cupboards, hidey holes and plywood worlds.

They made me welcome, chatted as they went about their business of simply getting by.

This is the land beyond time and at times motion and emotion.

Entering seems transgressive, there is nothing in here I want or need, I just had a compulsion to record this flickering fight against the distinct possibility of extinction.

Come in.

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Ashton – Bailey’s Homeware

There is a stall in Ashton Indoor Market that almost defies description, an Aladdin’s cave, a cornucopia of kitchenalia – if they don’t have, it probably doesn’t exist.

I visited here as a little lad with my Mam, me holding happily on to her left hand, her right forever clutching a shopping bag. On our way to Queenie’s for woolies, eagerly awaiting a hot Vimto treat, stopping to stare at the toy stall, constantly chatting with all and sundry – pals, passers by, stall holders, the vacant and the aimlessly vagrant.

The most convivial of worlds.

Bailey’s prevails, big, bold and beautiful a temple to the domestic, staffed by the wonderfully helpful Susan, Sandra and Mel – happy to let me snap happily and sell me two enamel pie dishes. It was pleasure to make their acquaintance.

Take some time to pop in sometime.

Pick up a cup hook or two.

http://www.tameside.gov.uk/ashton/market

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