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Sheffield Farmers' Market
start:25th May 2008
The Sheffield Farmers' market is held on one Sunday every month on the Barkers Pool area (outside John Lewis & Sheffield City Hall) of Sheffield City Centre from 10am until 4pm.

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The Party Shop
We sell party and novelty items, including fancy dress & accessories and greetings cards & stationery.


SSheffield Markets History - 18th Century to 19th Century

As was already being witnessed in the 17th century, the increased urbanisation of the country, linked with a reduction in the availability of land within towns for food production, created a vast increase in the number of people dependant on others to produce that food and transport it to the towns.

Brass Weighing Scales
Brass Weighing Scales, Sheaf Market: Local Studies

Janet Blackman, in her article "The Food Supply of an Industrial Town" noted "The development of town markets like that of Sheffield resulted from changes in demand from producers and from consumers for different methods and centres of distribution".

By the mid-eighteenth century, the Market Place in Sheffield consisted of an irregular sprawl of shops and stalls, surrounded by High Street, Swine Market, Bullstake (later renamed Haymarket) and King Street (also known as Pudding Lane). Stalls may also have spread beyond the Market Place stretching up High Street to Church Gates. Tradition has it that farmer's wives would come to the market with baskets of butter and eggs which they would sell standing around the Market Cross.

Towards the end of the 18th century the butchers were among the first to be affected by the pressure for change. The problems and nuisance caused by more and more animals being driven into the town centre promoted local inhabitants to petition the owner of the markets Charles Howard the Earl of Surrey (later the 11th Duke of Norfolk) to provide them with a large market place with better access for animals, cats and pedestrians.

The result, in 1784, was an Act of Parliament "For enlarging the Market Place, and regulating the Markets, within the Town of Sheffield".

A new market hall - the Fizalan Market - was built on site of the old market and opened on 31st August 1786. The live cattle market was moved from the Bullstake to The Wicker, and new slaugher-houses were erected by the River Don near Lady's Bridge.

Shambles Regulations 1787
Shambles Regulations 1787: Sheffield Archives

Plans and designs for the new hall were provided by Joseph Hodgkinson at a cost of £10-10s-0d. To fund the scheme, the Duke of Norfolk was enable, by the Act, to sell "Chief Rents" and "Fridleys". Between 1784 and 1801 a total of £4,136-17s-11d was raised from these sales. Further money was raised by mortgaging tolls and other market revenues.

Extracts from the "Rules and Regulations respecting the Shambles at Sheffield 1787" reveal, perhaps, a flavour of the standards of the time:

"… Nor shall any Butcher or other person whet or sharpen his her or their knives upon the Stone Pillars or other stones part of the New Market number the Penalty of One Shilling to be paid for each time of offending against this Rule. …Sixthly that no Butcher shall at any preference whatsoever either by himself Apprentice or Servant encourage or suffer any Dog or Dogs to frequent said Market or the said Slaugher-houses.. … Seventhly that for Decency sake and cleanliness of the said Market no person having any Holding in the said Market shall at anytime piss against the walls of the said Market…"

Fitzalan Market Hall
Painting of Fitzalan Market Hall 1853 by Godfrey Sykes: Sheffield Museums

The Duke of Norfolk continued to be paid a toll by all market traders, in recognition of his market rights, for the privilege of selling their goods. The traders also paid rents for stalls and shops, which were collected twice yearly at Michaelmas (29th September) and Lady Day (25th March).

In 1815 the 11th Duke died and the title passed to a distant cousin Bernard Edward Howard, eldest son of Henry Howard of Glossop. In 1818 be established a new market - the Green Market - on the site of the old gaol between King Street and Castle Street. It was used as a fish, poultry and vegetable market.

The fortunes of other cities which had established extensive canals, such as Birmingham and Manchester, made it clear that Sheffield, too, needed this sort of access to the outside world. Fighting against vested interests (which had included the Duke of Norfolk) a Sheffield Canal Company was formed by Act of Parliament in 1815, whose purpose was to construct "… a Navigable Communication between the River Dun and Sheffield ,,, which is one of the most populous Towns in the Kingdom, a Place of Great Commercial Importance, and remarkable for its Hardware…"

1827 Plan of the New Sheffield Markets
1827 Plan of the New Markets: Sheffield Archives

22nd February 1819, Sheffield direct waterway to the sea was opened. A general holiday was called, and "an immense assemblage of spectators" gathered at the new canal basin to see the boats from Tinsley sail into the City.

Bernard, 12th Duke of Norfolk, died in 1824 and the title passed to Henry Charles Howard, his only son, previously styled Earl of Surrey.

In 1927, by Act of Parliament, the Duke was empowered to create a new livestock market at Smithfield, adjacent to the River Don, construct a bridge over the river (Blonk Street) providing easy access to and from the Wicker and build a Corn Exchange and Haymarket adjacent to the Canal Basin and backing onto the River Sheaf. (Park Square roundabout now stand close to this site.)

Michael Ellison, agent to the Duke, had drawn up a report on the scheme in 1826, justifying the expense as follows: "A very material advantage … is the improved value of that part of Sheffield Park, adjoining the sites of the proposed Markets: it being quite certain that the Establishment of these Markets will necessarily draw the Town after them. Until very lately, little has been done to induce persons to lay out their capital upon this part of the Duke of Norfolk Estate…".

Norfolk Market Hall 1853
Painting of Norfolk Market Hall 1853 by Godfrey Sykes: Sheffield Museums

Building appears to have been completed by 1830, and Mr. Ellison's view justified, as a petition was soon sent to the Duke by traders in Fitzalan Market Hall bemoaning their loss of trade. A second petition, in 1839, complained of the impact of private slaughter-houses and shops on the meat market, and requested that the petitioners be allowed to trade from the Corn Exchange and Haymarket on Fridays, when the buildings were not used.

The development of railways, and particularly their impact on the commercial life of Sheffield, was now starting to make itself felt. In 1830 the Town Trustees supported the plan for a railway from Manchester to Whaley Bridge, since in the future it may be "of importance to the Town of Sheffield by opening communication with the mineral district of Derbyshire to the port of Liverpool…". Earl Fitzwilliam of Wentworth Woodhouse, who hand many coal rights in the area, was one of the most prominent supporters.

Castlefolds Market
Castlefolds Market: Sheffield Markets

A Bill proposing to link Sheffield to the North Midland line, via Rotherham and Holmes, was put forward in 1835, but there was strong local opposition. This included the Duke of Norfolk, who held a virtual monopoly of coal supply to Sheffield, and the Vicar of Rotherham, who with 120 supporters, claimed: "Furthermore it would bring about an incursion of the idle, drunken and dissolute portion of the Sheffield people as a consequence of increased facilities of transit between the two towns."

The Bill was defeated, but, in 1836 an Act was passed leading to the start of the great railway age of Sheffield.

The Markets continued to develop in the Town Centre and, in 1847, another Act of Parliament authorised construction of a new market hall between Castle Folds and Dixon Lane, for the sale of general produce. Land around the new hall, between Exchange Street and Broad Street, would also be cleared for stalls and fairs: while the Green Market, by now almost solely used for the sale of fish, would be discontinued once the new hall was opened.

Part of the site chosen for the new hall was occupied by the Tontine Inn, whose prosperity was largely dependent on the coaching trade. In 1838 coaches were still leaving, daily, to York, Leeds and Birmingham, but the coming of the railways led to a decline in coach services and reduction in profits. The Inn was demolished in 1850, and the Norfolk Market Hall opened on Christmas Eve 1851. It was built at a cost of £38,000.

New Corn Exchang
Painting of The New Corn Exchange: Local Studies

The 1847 Act also led to the creation of Castlefolds Markets, on land between the Corn Exchange and the Norfolk Market Hall. It provided a covered letting space for the wholesale trade in fruit and vegetables. The Sheaf Open Market was also established on the adjacent site. This came to be known as "the Rag and Tag market".

A further Act of Parliament in 1872 led to the construction of a new wholesale fish market, opened in 1879, close to the Sheffield Gas Works building and Sheaf Market. This market was build to exploit the rail-borne wholesale fish trade which the new port facilities, particularly Grimsby, made possible; using Sheffield as a centre for re-distribution to the vast markets of the West Riding & Lancashire.

The 15th Duke of Norfolk also commissioned a new Corn Exchange, which opened in 1881, on the site originally occupied by the Shrewsbury Hospital. Build at a cost of £55,000, it was described by a local newspaper as "one of the greatest architectural beauties of the Town".

Screen for Slaughterhouse 1875
Screen for Slaughterhouse 1875: Sheffield Archives

The old and insanitary killing shambles remained, however, and clearly provided a source of embarrassment to the Town. When the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Sheffield in August 1875, M E Hadfield & Son designed a huge triumphal arch, constructed of wood and canvas, at Lady's Bridge. The work, commissioned by the Duke, also involved a scheme for disguising the adjacent shambles, which stood at the bottom of Waingate and whose unsightly walls extended for over 100 yards along the river bank. They were hidden by a 30 foot high wall of painted canvas representing an "old baronial castle".

The Public Health Act 1875 empowered local authorities "with the consent of two thirds of their members, to purchase by agreement any existing market rights and to take stallages rents and tolls in respect of the use by any person of such Markets, and for the purpose of enabling Town Councils to establish and regulate Markets and Fairs, certain provision of the Markets and Fairs Act 1847 are incorporated in the new Act".

The Duke of Norfolk
Caricature of The Duke of Norfolk - Sheffield Weekly News 18th February 1899: Local Studies

Approached were made to the Duke of Norfolk with a view to purchasing the markets on behalf of the citizens of Sheffield. It is clear from Council records of the period that members felt the markets were inadequate for a town of Sheffield's size. Agreement proved impossible and more than 20 years elapsed before negotiations were re-opened.

The 1890s saw Sheffield Corporation making determined efforts to improve facilities for the people of Sheffield. Schemes for tramways, electric lighting and improved water supply were instigated. The markets were seen as a vital part of the City's development.

In 1898 the Lord Mayor, Alderman George Franklin, wrote to the Duke: "for many years I have been impressed with the view that the Markets and market rights of the City should belong to the Local Authority, and believe that this view is shared by a large number of my colleagues in the City Council…

…there is no sufficient reason why Sheffield… should be dependent upon private means to supply such an obvious public necessity…"

In letters written by the Duke to the Lord Mayor at the beginning of 1898, it is clear that he would have preferred to keep the markets in his own hands. Finally, however, an agreement was reached in 1899 whereby:

Plan of Sheffield Markets 1899
Plan of Markets 1899: Sheffield Markets

"… the Duke will sell and the Corporation will purchase for the sum of £526,000 first the fee simple of all the market halls and places for holding markets and fairs slaughter-houses messuages buildings lands and hereditaments specified … secondly all such rights of using and enjoying certain arches under the approach to the station in Sheffield of the Great Central Railway Company … thirdly all the rents tolls duties pickages stallages and sums of money which under or by virtue of the Sheffield Markets Act 1847 and 1872 the Duke or other person or persons entitled for time being to the rents and profits of the Castle and Manor or Lordship of Sheffield is and are empowered to demand and take … fourthly all other (if any) the markets and fairs and market places and places for holding markets fairs and slaughter-houses situate used exercised or enjoyed within the Town of Sheffield…"

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