Located in the heart of Newcastle, the Grainger Market has been an important part of the city’s shopping experience for almost two centuries
This Grade I listed market retains much of the stunning light and airy architecture designed by John Dobson as part of the architect, Richard Grainger’s redevelopment of the city in the 1830s. Grainger was said to “have found Newcastle of bricks and timber and left it in stone, stone that still stands today”.
“The Grainger Market opened in 1835 and is one of the few market halls that remain in use for its original purpose,” says Heather Thurlaway, Newcastle City Council’s operations manager for the Grainger Market.
“The opening was a huge celebration with a banquet for 2,000 people. There is a picture of it in the Laing Art Gallery: it shows the arcades strewn with tables, with all the men eating and the women standing watching. The 19th Century Grainger Market was more than a place to shop, it was also a place that people went to see and be seen.”
Originally a food market concentrating on fresh meat, fruit and vegetables, the four main alleyways were initially occupied by butchers. The glazed and domed arcade, which was once home to two fountains, was filled on Saturdays by local fruit and vegetable growers selling their produce from trestle tables. Today, meat, fish fruit and vegetables remain a core part of the market’s offering. But street food and cafes, fashion retailers and cobblers, pet supplies, gifts and even a stonemason’s stall are among the traders selling Monday to Saturday from the market.
Since the millennium, the city council has been refurbishing many of the units to return them to their original frontages. Today, a number of 21st Century businesses trade out of market units that are not too far removed from those the first traders of 1835 would have used.
The modern Grainger Market enjoys a bright, light, vibrant and buzzing atmosphere. Achieving a balance between a market’s heritage and the needs of a new generation of shoppers and traders isn’t always easy, but it’s fair to say the Grainger Market’s getting it right. Alongside craft stalls, mini bazaars, jewellers and florists, you can find high quality butchers, artisan bakers, green grocers as well as street food traders, coffee shops and café’s literally something for everyone.
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Tel: 0191 2115542