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Birmingham’s World Famous Rag Market – Shopping at its BestThe Large Outdoor Market That Has Everything
North Weald Market is a massive outdoor Market, which is located on the North Weald Airfield (famous for once having been a Battle of Britain fighter base). It lies just outside the village of North Weald Bassett (known locally just as North Weald) in the parish of Epping Forrest in Essex.
It is situated three miles to the north east of Epping and three miles south of Harlow, just off junction 7 of the M11 Motorway and is well signposted with brown tourist attraction signs from the M11, Ongar and Epping complimented with several of the Market’s own colourful signs.
In 1984 Epping Forest Council, who own the land, asked several private market operators to tender for a new Market operation at the Airfield and subsequently Hughmark Continental won the tender to operate the new Market.
The launch was a great success and North Weald Market has gone from strength to strength ever since. It has grown into what is today commonly believed to be the largest outdoor Market in the Country with hundreds of regular, general and specialist market traders attending every week.
North Weald Market regularly stands every Saturday and Bank Holiday Monday from 9.00am to 4.00pm and attracts crowds estimated to be in excess of 30,000 on a weekly basis. Because of its airfield location, it provides literally thousands of free car parking spaces including over 300 disabled car park spaces, which are all on tarmac standing with adjacent access to disabled ramps and toilets. The airfield is ideal for disabled users because of its flatness, there are no kerbs or cobbles which is why North Weald Market is so well patronised by disabled persons and groups.
Year upon year more car park grass areas are fitted with ‘Perfo’, which provides hard standing but allows grass to grow through it and the Market area itself is on hard standing of tarmac or concrete.
There is a one way in and out system operated by Car parking Company hired by Hughmark and on site there are paramedics, stewards and cleaners with dust carts and road sweepers. This is addition to the line managers and staff employed in the Hughmark office at Runway House which is adjacent to the market.
One of the secrets behind North Weald Market’s success is the massive amount of advertising undertaken by Hughmark, both in local press and local radio. Hughmark subsidise coach operators who bring shoppers to the market every week.
A large percentage of the current North Weald Market traders have been regulars at the Market for many years, a sure sign of a good, consistent Market; at least 50 of them have regularly worked at the
John Perrin with his daughter Dayna of ‘Tropical Slush’
A.Aziz, Iqbal & Yasin of ‘Euro Peltz Ltd’
Harvey & Piwan of ‘Rana’
Ash & Mo of ‘S Trade Tools Ltd’
North Weald Market regularly stands every Saturday and Bank Holiday Monday from 9.00am to 4.00pm and attracts crowds estimated to be in excess of 30,000 on a weekly basis. Market since it opened in 1984. Casual traders are welcome and must be on site for stall allocation at 8.00am on Saturday morning.
A large car boot sale stands adjacent to the Market every Saturday and this is strictly controlled to ensure that all goods sold there are second-hand.
Occasionally, Hughmark operate ‘themed’ Markets and special events alongside North Weald Market, such as very popular Motor Cycle Jumbles, Farmers’ Markets and Fine Food Fairs. People flock to North Weald Market in their thousands T. Lanston of ‘Roman Tackle’ John Prior of ‘The Essex Pie Man’ Peter Harnett of ‘A.E. Harnett & Sons Bill Sood of ‘King Style’ Brand new public toilet facilities were installed a couple of years ago, sufficient for the needs of the many thousands of shoppers. Occasionally, Hughmark operate ‘themed’ Markets and special events alongside North Weald Market, such as very popular Motor Cycle Jumbles, Farmers’ Markets and Fine Food Fairs. Market staff work closely with Trading Standards officers who police the Market in an effort to control counterfeit goods being sold there. Hughmark also adopts a policy of banning any item that promotes or glorifies the misuse of drugs. It has banned the sale of BB guns, which was added to its ban of Samurai swords. The aforementioned items are actually sold quite legally and can be found in most High Streets both in shops and on markets, but Hughmark wishes to promote a family atmosphere and believe that these banned items are detrimentral to this philosophy.
North Weald Airfield Market is not only of regional importance but is a source of employment for many local residents and many market traders. Hughmark, whenever possible, employs local staff to assist in car parking, stewarding, cleaning, security, toilet attendants as well as medical staff.
Hughmark Managing Director, Lewis Hughes, told MTN, “North Weald market is not immune and has reduced in size during the financial crisis like all markets have but it is still the largest of its type. The bad weather hampered progress this year but it is really noticeable that since the weather has at last brightened up that we have seen many old faces signing back on and we have been welcoming lots of new traders including a fair percentage of new starters. The market throughout has maintained its regional importance status to many local businesses including filling stations, hotels and most of all local employment. All we need is what we everyone is praying for a consistent run of good weather!”