This week, Team Limely managed to sneak off to see the brand new Chester Market!
Steeped in history and tradition, Chester Market has been a staple of the city ever since it was granted trading status way back in 1129 – woah! Since the 12th Century, Chester has been an iconic market town that prides itself on its rich culture, heritage and community spirit.
With the old market eventually closing its doors in October 2022, it was a nostalgic day for the city. Join us as we take a look at the history of the market and show you a peek inside the brand new space!
History Of Chester Market
First opening its doors at the beginning of the 12th Century, it’s clear that Chester Market is a historical landmark that attracts tourists and locals alike. However with it being right on our doorstep, the market’s rich history is often overlooked!
When the market first began, it was simply a bustling stretch of market stalls on the streets and rows surrounding Market Square (now known as Town Hall Square). Local farmers and tradespeople would bring their produce to the market to sell to the local community – remember, this was long before we had supermarkets to buy our essentials from! The market was the true heart of the community as local people would come to buy their fresh fruit, veg, meat and even clothing.
As the market became increasingly prosperous, the beautiful market building was constructed in 1692 . However in a sudden turn of events, the market building faced a tragedy as it burned down in 1862. Naturally the locals were devastated by this and the building was reconstructed in 1865 and was designed to complement the Gothic-Revival Town Hall which was under construction at the time.
Unfortunately, in 1967 the stunning architectural landmark was demolished to make way for the modern Forum Shopping Centre and office complex. Since the 1960s, the market was housed within the shopping centre. Whilst the surroundings weren’t quite as picturesque as they were within the 17th Century Market Building, it remained a popular staple of the city until recent years.
Over the last decade, the popularity of Chester Market has dwindled as more of us shop online and buy our groceries from local supermarkets. As a result, the market was struggling to maintain footfall. That’s when Chester Council stepped in and began plans to amplify and modernise the overall market experience to ensure its long-term viability and maintain a tradition that is very special to so many around the city.
Inside The New Chester Market
The new market has achieved the perfect balance of embracing modern life whilst respecting the traditional values and charm of Chester’s rich market history.
The bustling, lively and youthful vibe strikes you as soon as you step foot through the grand entrance and the atmosphere is akin to the feel of Liverpool’s Duke Street Market. Dozens of eateries line the aisles and serve an extensive range of delicacies from around the world to ensure you’ll never go hungry. Whilst the interior architecture embraces elegant design and industrial elements to create a modern feel.
The function of the market has definitely evolved since the early days. It is no longer a destination to pick up some cheap knick-knacks or do your weekly shop, that’s for sure! If you’re looking to enjoy a cocktail with friends, grab a bite to eat whilst visiting the city, Chester Market is definitely the place to go.
For those looking for a place to buy high-quality produce, we’d recommend visiting the butchers, fishmongers and sustainable refill store. Whilst those who love to mooch will enjoy browsing creations of local businesses such as clothing, gifts and cosmetics.
A personal highlight for Team Limely was the incredible range of plants on offer! Whether you’re a fully-blown plant enthusiast or like to dabble in a few bunches of flowers throughout the year, Purely Pots has an abundance of greenery for you to choose from.
Whilst many will see the closure of the old market as the end of an era, cities must adapt, evolve and grow to maintain relevance within today’s society. We certainly think the Chester Market team have done brilliant job in curating a contemporary, urban and lively space that will attract new and old market visitors alike.
If you haven’t had a chance to visit or want to find out more about the market, you can read all about it right here.