The new Chester Market opened its doors to the public on Tuesday 8th November in Exchange Square off Northgate Street following a sell-out preview weekend; and will be open six days per week and closed on Mondays. Opening hours will be from 8am to 10pm on Tuesday to Saturday and from 10am to 9pm on Sundays.
The new market replaces the market which had been located in the Forum since it opened in 1967. The council say that “around half” of the existing traders made the move to the new market, with many popular traders deciding to move to high street premises. The driving force behind the new market has been to create a ‘modern traditional market’ that takes the best of the new breed of thriving city produce markets such as Borough Market in London, or Barcelona market; combined with pioneering communal food hall markets in Altrincham and Stockholm, to create a unique blend of produce, goods, food and beverage traders in a welcoming and inclusive space for everyone to enjoy – where you really can shop local and eat global. The design of the market was guided by extensive consultation with residents and traders prior to construction to ensure it could be fit for purpose, adaptable and sustainable.
Graham Pink, Director Commercial Management and Delivery, Debbie and Geoff Hughes, Rob Monaghan, Market Development Manager, with Market traders and management team behind.
Cutting the ribbon at the opening was Geoff Hughes, who first started working in the old market when he was 14, later setting up Geoff Hughes Family Butchers in 1996, together with his wife Debbie. Geoff said, “We are delighted to be able to make the move to the new building, as Chester Market begins a brand-new chapter in what I believe to be a very proud history; we look forward to welcoming all our current customers and gaining many new ones.”
The 39 Stalls have been constructed from sixty tonnes of solid oak beams made using traditional wooden joints, including ‘scarf’ joints which were used in the construction of ships’ keels as there was a strong ship building industry in Chester until the River Dee silted up. The market features a heritage corner featuring an 1875 map of Chester and displays about the archaeology of the site and the city’s rich history. In honour of the Roman 20th Legion that was based at Northgate, their symbol of a wild boar has been used in the logo for the new market, with a boar statue greeting visitors at the entrance.
Old and new traders: clockwise from top right Digby and Champ, Steve Cartridge Fishmonger, Custom Gift Studio, Lise Florist
Nicebites, Just Footprints (relocated from The Forum) Daily Wares, Fresh Pasta Kitchen
Pastry Pedaleur, Crustum, Sandbar Seafood shack, Alphy and Becs
Four seating areas (with 400 seats overall) offer customers a range of options from communal banquette style seating around large tables to a smaller scale garden area under a beautifully crafted pergola and with outdoor seating along the Princess Street walkway and more intimate seating booths in the mini market area overlooking Hunter Street.
The much-loved Chester in Lego display from the old market will be carefully rebuilt into its new home in specially designed cabinets with some new additions (coming soon).
The design of the central bar takes its shape from the three arches of the Coachworks Arcade frontage built in 1914 and will be called Lockwood & Co. in tribute to the architects of the coachworks T.M. Lockwood & Sons who designed a number of buildings in the city including the famous black and white No. 1 Bridge Street corner rows at the cross.
The Council say they have “massive ambitions” for the new market and want to build on the old market’s success and deliver a “significant step-change in environment, choice and experience”. The Northgate development- a leisure destination and not a new shopping centre is the biggest building project in Chester for over 40 years and also includes a new 1km long rainwater drainage tunnel under the city, to reduce flooding and untreated sewage discharges into the River Dee. The development cost £72 million to build from July 2020 to Autumn 2022:
The first units to open have been the new market hall, car park, Cosy Club and Zizzi. The Picturehouse cinema and other restaurants including North Light, Turtle Bay and BrewDog are expected to open in spring 2023.
For more information and a list of traders see http://www.newchester.market