UK Market History


Markets represent our oldest and most successful form of exchange. They are the reason why many towns exist, inhabiting the same spot for nine hundred years, some may predate Roman occupation. The impulse of the market, with its range of seasonal and local goods, has maintained the interdependence of towns and cities reflecting and feeding back into both the culture and nature of the place.


There are well over 2,000 markets in the UK directly employing in excess of 45,000 street traders where we turnover £7.6billion each year. 


Our markets are under threat and imagination will be needed to maintain their excitement, richness, local distinctiveness and importance for local environmental and social cohesiveness, connecting town and country.


Things change and we are in danger of losing something special when we allow the market place to be turned into a car park, or lost because it is messy, challenging or worth asset stripping. Many markets have suffered years of municipal neglect and regeneration schemes have favoured superstores and big developers over local business. 


We are losing real competitive pricing, access to fresh local foods, direct sales, ethnic and regional variation, as well as the local cultural and natural distinctiveness in growing, making and selling close at hand. Having lost the links, both town and countryside suffer.


Corporate air, sea and truck transportation of our food hastens global warming, exploits under-protected habitats and animals and un-represented farmers, diminishes seasonal and local difference and takes away our knowledge of the production process.


We must embrace these responsibilities: what we eat and buy has impacts, we can be part of the solution