Thousands flock to Victorian Christmas Market in Sheffield

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Sheffield shoppers were taken back in time at Kelham Island Museum’s Victorian Christmas Market this weekend.

In its 22nd year, organisers pulled out all the stops to create an authentic Victorian atmosphere, with traders dressed in costumes and actors getting into character among the throngs of shoppers.

These two were causing mayhem everywhere

These two were causing mayhem everywhere

Street urchin pickpockets wandering around the market looking for their next victims were among those who helped bring history to life for the shoppers.

Official numbers are still being worked out, but with 120 stalls trading today and yesterday, the market normally attracts between 13,000 and 15,000 visitors.

Homemade jams, cake, chocolate and fudge were among the items bought as Christmas gifts, along with handmade jewellery, Christmas wreaths, photographs and artwork.

To entertain shoppers making their way between the five market quarters, a programme of entertainment ran all weekend.

Buskers Corner proved a popular gathering point for shoppers, with morris dancers, Huddersfield Brass Bank and City Life Christian Choir among those who entertained the crowds.

Musicians in Victorian attire also walked around playing Christmas carols to get shoppers and families in the Christmas spirit.

But for younger children it was Father Christmas’ reindeer which proved the most popular attraction ...along with the special man himself, who invited them into his grotto.

John Hamshere, Chief Executive of Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, which organises the market to raise funds for its work, said he was pleased with the weekend’s weather.

“Saturday was great because it was misty and murky and really helped create an authentic Victorian atmosphere, it really did the trick at taking people back in time. And Sunday was great because it was bright and sunny and that always helps attract people,” he said.

“The Victorian theme for the market is well established and well loved and with the addition of Dickensian characters and street performers over recent years it has really added to the atmosphere.

“People say to us year after year that the market marks the start of Christmas for them and for those who come for the first time it is great to showcase the museum and the city’s industrial heritage.”

Elaine and Andrew Goddard, from Grenoside, were among the shoppers who flocked to the market.

“We first started coming with our children about 20 years ago but haven’t been for around four years so it is nice to come back,” said Elaine.

“I like the Victorian feel of yesterday and all the little craft stalls free from the hustle and bustle of the city centre with Black Friday and all that madness.

“I think its a lovely place for families to give children a taste of what Christmas was like in Sheffield all those years ago.”

Kath and Tony Moorhouse, from Wybourn, took their grandchildren Olivia Betts, 10 and Lewis Betts, seven, to the market.

First-timer Kath said: “I have wanted to come for years but never got round to it but I am really impressed. There is something for everyone.”

Her husband Tony said was interested in looking around the museum while his wife shopped.

“There is a model in here that apprentices at Firth Browns made and I was one of them so I am looking forward to finding that and showing the grandchildren.”