The historic covered Pannier Market Hall, trades from Tuesday through to Saturdays, whilst Butchers’ Row is open Monday to Saturday and is a favourite with tourists and residents alike.
Built in 1884 at a cost of £4,200 to house a fish market, butchery stalls and corn exchange, the then Mayor, G W Vincent, performed the opening ceremony followed by a public dinner for almost 200 people. The day ended with a promenade concert and later that week nearly 2,000 children had a tea party there. Now each year in early December, the Mayor gives out mince pies and mead to the populace to celebrate Bideford Town Council taking over the management of market in 1991. You will find the Pannier Market by walking up the High Street and taking a left turn into Grenville Street. The building stands fair and square ahead of you.
It is called the Pannier Market after the wicker baskets, or panniers, in which farmers’ wives carried their wares and a market has been held in Bideford since the granting of the Charter of Incorporation in 1573. Butchers’ Row, part of the Complex, is now home to an eclectic mix of artisans and gift shops where you can see artists at work including wood carving, painting and pottery.
The Market Hall includes a variety of stalls selling everything from delicious homemade cakes and plants to old books, jewellery and beautiful photographs of the locality; it also has a friendly café. In April 2016 saw the introduction of eight Work Shop Studio Units. The driver was to build upon the successful draw of the Arts and Crafts people within Butchers Row. Also, given that visitors genuinely liked to watch the artisans at work, the Work Shops provide that opportunity as well as a sales outlet; the variety and standard of work that is offered is exceptional.
The Market Hall opening days and times were increased at the outset. Trading is: 9.00 am – 4.00 pm April – December and 9.00 am – 3.00 pm January – March; Tuesdays – Saturdays.
The new dynamic has seen an increased visitor footfall. The Market genuinely offers a covered, eclectic, independent / sole trader shopping experience; all are welcome. There is a free Shuttle Bus Service on a Tuesday and Saturday from Victoria Park to the Market (and return) running between 10.00 am and 2.40 pm, every twenty minutes.
Stalls in the market can be hired on a casual daily, weekly or monthly basis.
For further details contact Bideford Town Council on 01237 428817 visit the website at www.bideford-tc.gov.uk.
The Hall, outside market trading, is often used to host community projects including the annual local flower show and the local archery club; it can also be hired for events.