A Swindon Market History

15th September 2017

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A Swindon Market History

Doing some stuff for Swindon Civic Voice  apropos of the demolition of the tented market and the proposed new development I came across this history of the tented market.

Swindon's tented market

Swindon’s tented market

NB: If you want to read the SCV submission to the council regarding the new development you can read it here. 

The website hasn’t been updated for a while but it shows a useful and informative timeline and some old photographs.

Note: this market is separate to the livestock market held in Old Town/Old Swindon as described in this Wikipedia entry about the history of Swindon.  The site of the old livestock market is marked by a sculpture of a ram. 

Markets

‘The economy of Swindon has, pre-predominately over the years, depended on Land, agriculture and livestock markets. William de Valence, Earl of Pembroke (½ brother of Henry III) is recorded as having held a market in Swindon from 1259. It is from these records that the name Swindon first appears, as well as ‘Chepyng Swindon’ in 1289 and ‘Market Swindon’ in 1336.[9]

Although Thomas Goddard was granted a weekly market and two fairs a year in 1626, the Market in Swindon was in decline by 1640. However a cattle plague hit nearby Highworth in 1652, allowing Swindon’s livestock sales to increase. In 1672, John Aubrey remarked “Here on Munday every weeke a gallant Markett for Cattle, which increased to its new greatnese upon the plague at Highworth.”[2]

Swindon Market was one of the 32 weekly markets held throughout Wiltshire up to 1718.

In 1814, John Britton passed through Swindon and recorded 1,600 people and 263 houses in the town. He also wrote of the weekly corn market, fortnightly cattle market and regular Horse sales. However, by the mid-19th century the cattle market was poorly attended.

A new Cattle Market site was built in 1873 to try to revive the Market, a site which remained until the late 1980s when the final auction was held. There is no longer a Cattle Market in modern Swindon.’

So the tented market is now to be demolished and proposals are in for a change of usage. What ever your thoughts on that, my personal opinion is one of sadness that the market is going. Not the structure per se – it’s a the end of its lifespan – but the concept of there being a market.

Thanks goodness at least for Iain Nicholson and the town team thing! 

Indeed this feeling is echoed by Ash Mistry, owner of Eggelicious. Ash started his business in the tented market back in 2009 and is grateful to it as a place that gave him a start. In this brief YouTube clip you can hear him say just that:

Ash has now moved Eggelicious – or E3 as it’s called (E2 is on Wood Street). Here’s a couple of snaps taken while it was being got ready for opening:

And here they are on the last day of trading in the tented market:

Eggelicious on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eggelicious/?fref=ts

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