Saturday, 26 January 2013

Sepia Saturday 161

This week I am sharing one of my favourite images from my Guildford collection. It is an early picture, dating to 1880 and is of the cattle market at Guildford, which was in 1880 situated in North Street. At some point the cattle market moved to Slyfield where it is still held, but not with any of the busyness and rush of this picture.

North Street had in times gone by the unfortunate name of Lower Backside! although, that was before my time.

I have always known it as North Street and I guess the alternative name reflects its status as it was less popular that the High Street which effectively runs parallel to North Street at the left of the picture.

The High Street in comparison was the main shopping area with a beautiful clock dating back to the 1650s and a cobbled street, which has survived today.

During my childhood this market was not there in this form, but appeared every Friday and Saturday and for those two days, come rain or shine provided the local population with fruit, vegetables and flowers. My Grandmother always used two stalls in particular, one of which was called Hone's. My Mum tells me that she went to school with one of the chaps whose family operated the stall.

Its formation I am sure stems back to when farmers grew their own produce and the surplus they sold, of course over time they simply grew more and more so they could sell it. The stalls have demised the invention of supermarkets and the trendy and affluence of Guildford and the Saturday produce market has almost lost its soul.

Now it is represented by an extension of other market stalls and for my traditionalist brain that is just not right!

Taking part in Sepia Saturday


  1. It's a shame when all the old features are lost. My nearest shopping town, Borehamwood, sees more shops closing every day. Soon, we'll have nothing but a few hairdressers, cafes, restaurants and supermarkets.

    1. It is indeed Francene. Guildford has a cosmopolitan feel to it nowadays. Aided by the facilities of a Student culture - University of Surrey, Law College, Technical College and the performance arts. The proximity to London helps, and that has always been there - 35 miles or so to London 30 mins on the fast train!

  2. I just realized I don't even know where the farmer's market is here in Atlanta. During the summer there are various places where growers can sell their wares on parking lots around town. Of course they are nothing like the glorious market in your photo. The produce at the local supermarket is so pitiful.

  3. The so called Farmers' markets we experience in Surrey are a far show from what you recall. All to often, they are over-priced and survive by pandering to the woolly-minded thinking of the middle-class with a kitchen full of Faddy cook-books

  4. Thanks for sharing this intersting picture. My hometwon in the USA never had any market like this that I know of.

  5. Anonymous9:19 pm

    Goodness, Julie, there is a lot going on in your photo. We have a farmer's market in Edinburgh and the produce is local and excellent. Sadly though, a lot of shops are closing and in some local towns the High Streets are full of charity shops or "to let". I wonder if we can pull it back from the supermarket giants? Jo

  6. A busy place like that always seems so full of hope. I appreciate your reflections on what it once was and has become.

  7. It is indeed a great old photograph. I would have loved to have been able to zoom in further but I guess the quality of the original print just wouldn't allow a larger image.

  8. Your picture radiates a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. No supermarket can beat that!
    There are still many fruit & veg markets here. The market merchants introduced the saying: on the market your guilder has the value of a "daalder". A "daalder" was 1 guilder 50 cents. Now that we have the euro here, it is about time they should come up with a new one.

  9. I've not seen old pictures of the market in Stockton-on-Tees which is reputed to have the widest High Street in England, Today's market iis full or tat it seems to me and the town centre is being restored yet again and resembles a huge construction site with most of the shops closed or too let.
    The Guilford market looks alive in comparison.

  10. Those look like sheep, rather than cattle, to me. Great photo.

  11. I love farmer's markets but the only cattle market I remember is one we happened upon in Kerry, Ireland.

  12. I really enjoy farmer's markets and it seems they are popping up everywhere lately!

  13. I agree about the loss of character in modern markets Julie, although I beleiev there is a movement to try and bring them back. i listen to Rqadio 4's Food Programme where they champion the cause.


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