A very model of a modern major market hall...

Castle Market. 'Photo by Ted Evans.
Castle Market. 'Photo by Ted Evans.
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Did you ever buy a shirt from Harringtons, were you weighed on the remarkable scales or did you save up for sweet fishes?

Shoppers and traders, past and present, have been sharing their memories of Castle Market as they prepare to bid a final farewell.

It represents the final chapter of 700 years of Sheffield’s market history linked to the castle but means much more than that to hundreds of individuals.

Images and words were captured by volunteers as part of the Trading Histories community project exploring the history of the markets and its people.

They go on display on Saturday on the market’s upper ground floor during normal opening hours.

The exhibition is bringing together stories from oral history interviews, work from the archives, photography, poems and artwork.

Some aspects of the popular market were remembered by lots of people and, at its peak, it would attract hundreds of shoppers from across Sheffield.

Nora Platt said: “It was so busy. It was the noise, the chatter, the atmosphere, it felt as though all Sheffield was here, particularly on busy days. There was just everything, everything you could want. You didn’t need to go anywhere else. To me it was the heart of Sheffield.

“In the Rag and Tag in the 1950s I remember this chair that looked like a throne and this, what seemed to be an old lady, maybe she wasn’t so old when I look back. I think you used to pay her a couple of pennies or whatever and it used to weigh you. And everyone used to queue up to go on it, or they used to look at it longingly if they couldn’t.”

Scores of memories were shared with the team from ArcHeritage including many dating back to when today’s shoppers were just children.

Betty Smith loved being treated to market sweets. She said: “The sugared fish were about three inches long and we used to delight in holding them by the tail and sucking them until the outer pattern came off. Then the inner hard sugar part was clear and sparkly and you could hold it up and see the sun through it. I absolutely loved those and that was an absolute luxury of a treat for us to have those sweets.

Judd Newton Cutts remembers the wide range of temptations on offer to youngsters with enough money to pay for them. “There were all the different sweet shops and the broken biscuit shop where you used to go in and say, ‘Mam, can I have some broken biscuits?’. You’d go to the counter and the lady would day ‘Oh I haven’t got any today’ and then she’d just smash a few up and make sure that you got some.”

The friendly workers and helpful stallholders would often go out of their way to help shoppers, no matter how young or old.

George Buckley recalls: “We were very short of money. It didn’t cost anything to go on a tram if you were under five in the 1950s so my mum used to put me on the tram at the bottom of Granville Road, I used to get off near the market near Commercial Street, walk through to the Rag and Tag market and then I used to know of the counter of a little shop called Bingham’s. I used to hand them my list of food that we wanted to buy and they’d put it all in a little bag. I’d get back on the tram and my mum would be waiting for me at the other end.”

It was also the place to buy everything from fresh fish or meat to fruit, vegetables and even the latest fashion.

Steve Bush said: “My favourite memory of the market here was in about 1967 or 68 when I was just at secondary school and I was starting to think about fashion in a way that I had never done before. There was a shop in the market called Harringtons and there was a style of popular jacket at that time called the Harrington, and purely by coincidence Harringtons sold Harringtons! I came in and tried two or three on with my mum and it was a toss-up between a black one and a Prince of Wales check jacket. I ended up getting the Prince of Wales check and I thought I looked the bees knees in it.

“Mum would do her shopping and buy lots of her fruit there and things like that. And I always remember, whenever she finished her shopping we used to go and have a cup of tea - well we called it a cup of tea stood up, because there were no seats, we just went to the counter. So we would have a cup of tea.”

The exhibition runs until Saturday, November 2 and you can find out more at www.sheffieldcastlemarket.co.uk

1296: Edward I granted a Market Charter to Lord of Sheffield Manor Thomas de Furnival allowed a market every Tuesday

1499: Sheffield had a Market Cross at the top of what is now Angel Street

1786: Fitzalan Market built on the site of the medieval market cross

1827: Smithfield Livestock Market built by the 13th Duke of Norfolk

1847: Sheaf Open Market established, later known as the Rag and Tag

1851: Norfolk Market Hall built on the site of the Tontine Coaching Inn

1881: Corn Exchange built

1897: Marks and Spencer opened their Penny Bazaar in Norfolk Market Hall with an ‘admission free’ sign

1909: A rule was passed that all farm produce had to be brought to Sheffield Market for sale and none could be sold on the way

1928: Castle Hill Market built on the site of Sheffield Castle

1930: Castle Hill Market opened on May 30. Same traders transferred from Fitzalan Market and Norfolk Market Hall

1940: The neighbouring Co-op building is hit in the blitz. Temporary bridges are built so Castle Hill Market can continue to trade

1959: Castle Market built to relocate traders as Norfolk Market Hall is demolished

1961: The Rag and Tag market closed

1973: Sheaf Market Hall opened to replace the Rag and Tag

2002: Sheaf Market Hall demolished

2013: Castle Market due to close and The Moor Market open