There is always something happening at Bolton Market
Bolton is a town in Greater Manchester, in the North West of England. It is 10 miles North West of the city of Manchester, close to the West Pennine Moors. Bolton is surrounded by several smaller towns and villages, which collectively form the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, of which Bolton is the administrative centre. Bolton has had a Market since before records began and in December 1251, King Henry III granted the town a Market Charter to hold a Market every Monday.
In 1253 Bolton was made a ‘Free Borough’ and an ‘official Market Town’ when it was granted another Charter. The site of Bolton’s first Market was Churchgate, near the town’s Parish Church, however by 1824 it had grown so much that it was moved to the town’s Market Square, which is now called Victoria Square. A magnificent Market Hall was erected in the centre of the town in 1855 and in 1932 a new wholesale and retail Market opened in Ashburner Street, eventually becoming solely retail in the early 1990s. Bolton Market is owned and operated by Bolton Council and stands every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.
It contains over 250 stalls across both its indoor and outdoor location and has something for everyone, from fashions, jewellery, cosmetics and bedding in the household goods and lifestyle section, to 17,000 sq ft of fresh food. This section has exotic fruit and veg, Mediterranean deli’s, locally sourced meats and cheese to the region’s best outlet for fresh fish. The choice and selection of goods represents the diversity of Bolton and caters for the increasingly cosmopolitan nature of the customer base. The cookery demonstration kitchen, installed in the Market five years ago, is still proving very popular with local shoppers. It has many different events throughout the year featuring local chefs and samples of great tasting food. The wellbeing project which is a joint venture with the NHS operates every market day and teaches people not only how to buy the best market produce, but how to cook healthy affordable meals, giving out tasty food samples and recipes to members of the public at the same time. Bolton Market is extremely well attended by both locals and visitors with over 300 coaches visiting each year.
The market has recently undergone a £4.5 million redevelopment, which had its official opening on February 14th. The new ‘lifestyle hall’ has taken centre stage with a third of the 40 businesses being brand new to the market. Newcomers to the hall include; Great Ale Year Round – a micro pub venture, The Coffee Grind – a coffee bean company and Plantation Flowers – a business selling unique tropical flowers. Trade began when the new hall opened its doors on January 21st and many of the new businesses have never looked back.
All of the new traders that I spoke to could not praise the market enough and are enjoying their new ventures. A brand new layout has been introduced with modern wooden benches and seating set up in the central ‘food area’. This is situated in the middle of the hall, surrounded by stalls offering more choice for foodies, from healthy smoothies to African curries. Solar Panels have been installed to assist in reducing future running costs at the market, both individual water and electric meters have been installed into each unit giving tenants control over their costs.
The market now has free Wi-Fi for both traders and customers giving tenants the opportunity for multi-channel retailing. Other improvements that took place during the redevelopment was the construction of a new outdoor market. The open market has been moved to New Street, on the opposite side of the market building, closer to the planned Transport Interchange. New shuttered units will also be installed in the outdoor market. Bolton Market recently took place in the Love Your Local Market campaign towards the end of May. The market offered the opportunity for local schools who run enterprise skills projects to test out market trading with a temporary pitch in the main market.
The students benefited greatly from the experience, learning from the existing market traders and gained an insight into how to run a business. There’s always something happening at Bolton Market, here’s a preview of future events that are coming up this year: World Cup celebrations will be running throughout June/July Bolton Food and Drink Festival, held from Friday 22nd August to Monday 25th August, one of the largest and best events on the national food calendar. British Food Fortnight, held from 20th September to 5th October 2014 Bolton Council also operates Markets in nearby Farnworth on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays; Westhoughton (Best Small Indoor Market 2011 NABMA) on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and Horwich on Fridays.
Anyone interested in finding out more about trading at any of Bolton’s Markets should contact 01204 336825 or visit www.bolton.gov.uk/boltonmarkets.
Market Manager, Jackie Casey, told MTN, “We believe that Bolton Market is now fit for the future; the redevelopment has allowed us to adapt and move forward giving improved facilities to the tenant and the customer. We are in a fortunate position where we have experienced and new tenants trading alongside each other both learning new skills and creating an exciting and interesting place for people to shop. Bolton Market always has and always will be used by the people of Bolton for their day to day shopping, but now there is so much more to offer whether you’re a regular customer of one of the 1000’s of tourists that visit us every year”.