RETRO: Watch where you trade

Setts open-air market, Sheffield'1974
Setts open-air market, Sheffield'1974
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The move from Castle Market to The Moor will be a huge shift for Sheffield markets... but by no means the first.

Our city has a long and proud history of selling all kinds of things on market stalls dating as far back as 1296. As well as Castle there has been Setts, Rag and Tag, Norfolk and Sheaf to name a few.

Sheaf Market, Sheffield'22nd March 1991

Sheaf Market, Sheffield'22nd March 1991

Today it is all about daily bargain hunting by families wanting fresh produce.

Back then it was only thanks to the Lord of the Manor that the King granted permission for a market, as the original Market Charter shows: “Know ye that we have granted and by this charter have confirmed to our beloved and faithful Thomas de Furnyvall that he and his heirs for ever may have one market in every week on Wednesday at his Manor of Wyrkesop in the county of Nottingham, and one fair there in every year to last eight days, that is to say, on the eve and on the day and on the morrow of St Cuthbert the Bishop and for the five days following, and one market in every week on Tuesday at his manor of Sheffield in the county of York.”

The rules have changed over the years, as has the city in general, and by 1956 the restrictions by the Lord Mayor were far more specific.

Rightly, traders had to be careful when cleaving! “No person shall in any market place, cleave any carcase or meat unless it is upon a cleaving block or chopping board, or properly attached to or suspended from hooks.”

Norfolk Market Hall, Haymarket, Sheffield'1851 - 1959

Norfolk Market Hall, Haymarket, Sheffield'1851 - 1959

They had to make sure nobody plucked poultry in the wrong area, and woe betide those who wilfully threw or dropped cabbage leaf, garbage or offal into the fountains and water basins.

Even noise levels were under check. “No person shall cry any article whatsoever for sale in any market place or by ringing a bell or blowing any horn or by using any other noisy instrument seek to attract the attention or custom of any person to any stall or to any article or thing intended for sale; provided that this prohibition so far as it relates to crying shall not apply to the pitching stalls designated by the council within the Sheaf Market.”

So did everyone stick to the rules? Ask any of the thousands of the people who did their shopping in Sheffield’s noisy markets for an answer to that!