Skip to content

Market Memories

I remember…

Gill Pritchard

“I have some lovely memories of Loughborough Market starting from when I was quite young: I think by the time I was 11 or 12 I was allowed to go to the market on Saturday to do a bit of shopping for my Mum. I remember being told ‘not to buy bananas if they’re more than a shilling a pound !’ This would be in the late 1950’s.”

 

…”the Market and my teenage years: I had a Saturday job in one of the shops so had a bit of money to spend. My favourite stall was Marriotts Shoes where they had the most fabulous footwear – somehow they managed to get hold of samples and also styles that the other shoe shops didn’t have. And they were cheap! I was shoe and clothes mad – well it was the swinging 60’s! Hardly a week went by but I didn’t buy either shoes or material to make a dress. My best friend and I used to watch ‘Top of the Pops’  and ‘Ready Steady Go’ to see what styles people were wearing. Saturday morning we’d be on the Market at 8am looking for stuff. We would then go back to her house and get the sewing machine out and make a dress each (very simple shifts) ready to wear to the dance at the College on the night. Many’s the time I didn’t quite finish mine and she had to staple me in!”

 

 

 

 

Photo provided by Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers

Alison Heathcote

“Many years ago when I was a fresh faced student in my first term at what was Loughborough School of Art & Design, I decided to buy a crab from the fish stall in the market to draw as part of a still life artwork I was creating. Having walked back to my shared house, I unwrapped the crab and left it on the counter in the kitchen. When I came back some time later, I was shocked to see it moving – evidently it had warmed up and was still alive! My house mates wanted to buy it an aquarium and keep it as our house ‘pet’, they even named it Colin, but I wasn’t so keen – I mean, what do you feed a seawater crab and how long do they live for?! After much discussion, I carefully wrapped it back up and, despite my housemates objections, took it back to the very understanding, but slightly amused, stallholder who promised to “Look after it” – though I never did work out what exactly he meant by this! Needless to say I changed the theme of my artwork and have never eaten crab since!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo provided by Nigel Brampton

Lois Child

“Eileen Cutler was the lady I worked with on the stall.  She was very kind to me and often let me pop into Woolworths on the coldest days, to stand under the hot air fans by the doors to get warm.  She also introduced me to sweet milky coffee from her flask with a large tot of brandy, whisky or rum in it to keep me going.  I earned the grand total of £1.00 a day which rose to £1.25 when I reached 16.  The stall backed onto Hall’s fruit and vegetable stall and if I timed it right, I could pack up at the end of the day and be ready at the same time as Keith Hall had finished and get a lift home in his small lorry, saving my aching legs from a long walk. It was still hard work but it didn’t seem so bad in the warmer weather.  My friends from school could come by and see me and plan what we were to do that evening.  It was good to be recognised as a stallholder as there was always a small discount from other stall holders like the handbag man who stood opposite.  When I eventually left to start a ‘proper’ job, my sister replaced me on the stall and, when they were old enough, our younger two sisters followed in the family tradition and worked on Hall’s fruit and vegetable stall.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo provided by Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers

Boon’s, written by Sharon Gray, a Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteer

 

“In the late 40’s, Roger’s parents were demobilised from the RAF and decided to get married. At this time they were living in Shelthorpe and his father Norman decided to start a mobile library. They would need an outlet for excess books and the decision was made to have a stall in Loughborough Market to facilitate this. This progressed to children’s books and toys, but trade did eventually slow down.  They decided that they would sell products that people needed, and decided to change to hosiery and knitting wools. eventually a large shop opened in Biggin Street whilst still retaining the Market Stall. In 1980, Rogers parents decided to hand over the reins to him, and his Mother proudly says he has worked so hard to keep the continuity of the business alive. She says that Loughborough is very lucky to have such a lovely thriving market. Roger says he enjoys the business and social interaction with the general public.”

 

 

Photo provided by Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers

 

Esther Shaw

“Me and my three sisters all worked on Loughborough market.  My two older sisters worked for Mr Cohen selling fabric. Backing on to this stall was was a fruit and veg stall owned by Keith and Janet Hall. This was where I worked in the late 1970s and my younger sister after that. It was an early start, and very cold in winter.  We stood on broken cardboard boxes to keep us a little bit warmer.  My Gran knitted fingerless gloves for me with mitten covers to keep my hands warm which was fine until you put your hands in a box of wet Brussels sprouts. Keith provided food and drink for all the workers – a flask of hot, very sweet, milky coffee with one cup which was shared by everyone on the stall!  He bought us all bacon butties for breakfast at 8.30 when everything was set up, and burgers and fries for lunch. I loved being asked to go and get lunch as it gave me a chance to have a warm in the Wimpy! I was paid £5 for the day and we sometimes got a bonus of £1 if we sold out of veg, plus we were allowed to take 1 carrier bag of fruit and veg home for free.

There were regular customers to avoid! Especially one lady who always wanted 1lb of spinach which was a lot of cold wet leaves to hand pick and pack into a bag. All the adding up was done in your head. It was a sign of weakness if you added up with a pencil on a brown paper bag! The scales were somewhat old and out of touch with modern day prices. As you weighed the goods in the stainless bowl, you had to look at the blue and white grid and multiply a factor of the price per pound whilst keeping the rest of the order’s running total in your head. I discovered that if you said the cost confidently, most people didn’t question the amount! I always came home with tired legs and smelling of celery. A Saturday night treat was a hot soak in the bath and watching TV with my legs propped up against the wall!”

 

 

Photo provided by Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers

Maureen Walbey

“In late 2009 I was walking through the market and was asked if I would like to buy a raffle ticket. I am not sure who was running it, probably the Market Traders. Lo and behold I received notification that I had won a prize. The prize was a beautiful wicker picnic hamper full of fabulous goodies for Christmas, I still have the hamper today which I use for storage, it is far too big for a picnic for two.  My husband Brian took the photograph in December 2009 when I was presented with the

hamper.

Our earliest memory of the market was on a weekend visit to the area in April 1989 when we came up from St Ives in Cambridgeshire to view houses in preparation for a job move to Shepshed. We viewed seven houses over the weekend but found time to visit MacDonald’s in Loughborough town centre. We sat upstairs overlooking the market and were delighted to see such a great market which lifted our spirits no end as the move was not entirely what we really wanted as a family. We were moving from a lovely medieval town with a really good market so were delighted when we saw what Loughborough had to offer. We eventually moved to Shepshed in July 1989 and have not looked back.”

 

 

Jola Sularz

I am Polish and my story is different from that of the people of Loughborough. I come from Malopolska in the south of Poland. I am a highlander. I remember Monday fairs from my childhood and early youth. My mother and I bought fresh vegetables and fruit straight from the farmers. No chemicals or artificial spraying. We often bought clothes at a good price without taxes.”

 

“I like fruit platter. I love fruit from the Loughborough market.”

 

“The most valuable thing for me from the Polish market are my regional slippers, and the fossil from the Loughborough market.”