Bury Market – Traditional Values in a Modern Setting
Bury Market is much revered and has been a mecca for shoppers not only from the UK but on coach trips from Europe for many years, claiming to attract an average of 150,000 visitors a week.
The history of Bury Market dates back to 1444 but the current site has been occupied since the 1970’s. The trading area consists of three main venues; the Market Hall which was rebuilt in 1971 following a devastating blaze two years previously, The Fish and Meat Hall which opened in the late ‘90s on the site of a former bank, and the covered Open Market that encompasses over 300 stalls, completing the offering. Occupancy levels generally sit at 100% and the outdoor Market Parade has been introduced for new and casual traders.
Situated in Lancashire on the A58 between Bolton and Rochdale, Bury is part of Greater Manchester and is conveniently located close to the M66 motorway. It is served by the nearby Metro Station and transport interchange and has plenty of nearby car parking and two subway entrances. The complex merges on to the neighbouring Mill Gate and nearby Rock Shopping Centres, which means Bury can offer a vast array of goods, shops, eateries and leisure activities, enabling them to compete with local giants such as the Trafford Centre.
Last year, a new coach drop-off point was located at the front of the market, to assist some of the 1600 booked and speculative coaches that visit the market each year. Coach parties are actively encouraged and the driver receives a £5 meal voucher, redeemable within the market and all the passengers are presented with a branded shopping bag. This coincided with the market being awarded ‘Market Attraction of the Year 2015’ in the Great British Market Awards. Another welcome edition is the much needed outdoor toilet block, to complement the facilities within the Market Hall. This is particularly useful for the outdoor events that take place throughout the year in an easily accessible area known within the business as The Golden Mile, this can be found between the indoor and outdoor markets.
Events include Food & Craft Markets, Community Farm Animals, Birds of Prey Roadshows, Stilt Walkers and other children’s activities during school holidays. As with all of these features, we can’t mention everybody, but here’s a selection of some of the traders I met.
The Fish and Meat Hall
The Fish and Meat Hall was specifically designed offering low level chilled counters, with ample storage facilities and running water and drainage to best display fresh meat and fish. The Hall, is clean, bright and well-lit, with plenty of space between the different retailers and access to both the Market Hall and Open Market. I visited on a Wednesday and was surprised to see how busy it was. The quality and range of the produce available was to be applauded. F&V Brandwood Butchers have been trading for around 30 years and was named after Fred and Vera, the original owner. The business is now run by Clint and they consistently have a wide range of seasonal offers including barbecue packs and whilst I was there, the call of ‘Five chickens for five pounds’ had shoppers flocking to the stall. Bury Seafoods is the largest seafood retailer in the Fish and Meat Hall. The Hayton Brothers originally established the business 70 years ago and Martin Hayton now owns the business selling whole and filleted fresh fish and cooked seafood. 75-80% of their business is repeats and they also supply to a number of local restaurants.
Their business is also boosted by the fact that they take debit and credit cards. Albert Matthews of Albert’s started with a butcher’s shop in Bury in 1935 and Albert’s is now owned by his grandson Chris. They are traditional butchers and everything is butchered by themselves. They make their own sausages and salt beef and there were even rabbits for sale. They supply some of Manchester’s top restaurants and they have been awarded over 25 Great Taste Awards, many of which are proudly displayed behind their servery. They have direct relationships with the farmers and 80% of their stock comes directly from them. In 2012, their lamb was awarded one of the Top 50 food products in the UK!
With over 300 stalls on the Open Market, covering everything from cheese to bathroom suites, black pudding to candle melts and beds to kitchens, there is a vast selection of products available to shoppers. No good market would be complete without a fruit and vegetable retailer and B Iddon have been growing and selling on Bury Market since 1938. Sharif took over the business three years ago and continues to sell a lot of Iddon’s seasonal produce as it is field to stall within 24 hours. He encourages children to eat more fruit and vegetables by giving them free samples to try. A year and a half ago he expanded his business empire on the market by introducing an olive, nut and spice unit. Sampling is popular at the outdoor market and Graham of Cheeseplus.co.uk always has plenty on offer and believes it encourages sales although some unsavoury types have been known to fill their pockets! He’s been at the market for 23 years, starting with 12 varieties and now has over 100. He also gives cheese talks to groups. Harry Muffin is the company name for the outside bakery retailer. Joe Borzacciello has been selling a range of sweet and savoury local goods to the people of Bury for 35 years, including Chorley cakes, Manchester tarts and the famous Cissy Greens meat and potato pies, some of which sustained me whilst walking the Peak District hills!
Bury Market is famous for its black pudding and Chadwick’s is the original stall. Mary Chadwick’s family started the business in 1865 and despite Tony marrying into the family, he was only given the secret recipe when she went into labour! The range has extended to, lean (a Tony faux pas when he omitted to include the fat!) vegetarian, chilli and chocolate, smoked cheese and ham and bacon and leek. They sell thousands a week and blood sausage lovers can buy them hot to eat there and then. I couldn’t resist and they really are excellent. There’s even a gluten free one.
The Market Hall is open every day except Sunday with the full market open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Between the Market Hall and the Open Market is the Market Parade where casual traders may be lucky enough to get a pitch, although Steven Green Tools has had a stall in this area for 40 years, when his father first operated this side of the market, originally selling bric-a-brac. Here you will also find items such as beds, hosiery and candle melts and Marvellous Melts make over 100 different scented varieties.
The Market Hall has everything that you would expect from an indoor market, including shoes, clothing, bags, sweets, haberdashery and soft furnishings as well as cafes and a few surprises. Food is difficult to avoid at Bury Market, it’s everywhere and the smells emanating from the Barbecue Barn are difficult to ignore. As well as selling pies, bacon and black pudding. It’s the hot counter that is the big draw.
They sell a carvery to go as well as hot roast chicken and pork products. If you want to eat in, finding a seat at Katsouri’s café could prove difficult and their accompanying deli is also a feast for the foodie. Another Deli in the Hall is Ogdens, also known as Bury’s famous bacon stall where they still slice bacon to the thickness you require. If you’re conscious about what goes in your body, then Bury Healthfoods will probably be the place for you.
Moving away from food, Lizelle Bramall runs the Dolls’ House and Doll’s Face, a hair and beauty salon and makeup stall respectively. She has taken on a neighbouring stall and is awaiting approval to licence it, having recently acquired a personal licence, so that it can be a waiting area for customers and an unofficial man creche! Greens Trimmings haberdashery has been established for about 30 years and Darleen Calland took it over 6 months ago. Likewise, there has been a shoe stall on the Goody Two Shoes site for 30 years, with the current owners taking it on in 2009.
The Market website www.burymarket.com is a good source of information for anybody planning a visit to the Market, which has now been updated to include a virtual tour of the market. Alternatively the Market Office is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and can be contacted on 0161 253 6520. You can also find the Market on Facebook and Twitter @BuryMarket