RETRO: A 700-year link broken

'Big Ada', centre, and friends at Dixon Lane market with some of the first bananas seen on the market after the war
'Big Ada', centre, and friends at Dixon Lane market with some of the first bananas seen on the market after the war
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The demolition of Castle Market due to start in December breaks a 700-year-link between that area of the city and its markets.

A charter to hold markets and fairs in Sheffield was granted in 1296 by Edward I to Thomas de Furnival, Lord of the Manor of Sheffield.

Castle Market, Sheffield - 22nd November 1971

Castle Market, Sheffield - 22nd November 1971

Later Sheffield Castle was built in that area and some ruins lie under the building.

Castle Market was opened in 1959 to rehouse traders from the old Norfolk Market Hall, which was demolished.

The Star front counter manager Debbie Ogden’s mum Carol Hawksworth (later Ward) worked at Castle Market. Debbie said: “She worked for Hanson’s and they had a few stalls in the market.

“One was a wool shop and one was underwear, I think, although she said they used to send you on another one to get buns sold off on a Saturday afternoon. She worked there from about 1959 to 1960.”

Castle Market sign, Sheffield'October 1968

Castle Market sign, Sheffield'October 1968

Carol was the daughter of Big Ada, who sold salad vegetables on Dixon Lane market. She was a well-known character who would happily fight a man.

Debbie recalls: “She used to get dragged off in the Black Maria for fighting. She was the original ladette because she always supped pints.

“She sold lettuce, cucumber and radishes and for Mother’s Day she sold violets.”

Ada had a warehouse said to be in the castle stables.

“She’d buy radishes and they’d have muck on and she’d wash them herself in these tin baths. She’d get a bit more money because they were clean,” said Debbie.

“We used to pinch them and she used to say ‘don’t take more than one off a bunch because they count them’.

“I’ve never tasted a radish the same. They tasted peppery and freezing cold.”

Ada, who lived at Park Hill flats, worked on the market as she lost a lung to TB and couldn’t do factory work. Her famous temper ruled out being in service.

Carol did put her foot down once, said Debbie. “My mum told me that she got into trouble down the pub just after I was born. My mum said, ‘If you don’t behave, you’re not going to see Debbie any more’. I think it worked for a while.”

She added: “If she wasn’t at the stall she’d be at the pub at the bottom of Dixon Lane with her friends. If she was drinking, she’d be singing.”

Ada’s name is recorded on one of the stone benches outside the Moor Market decorated with phrases from city markets history.

Debbie said: “When the new market opened we went and had a look down there and I said, ‘You’ve gone up in the world, Nannan, outside Atkinson’s shop’!”

Ada died in 1977.