Musings on markets #1

This blog aims to be an online sketch book, where I am able to ponder out loud on ideas and issues that have been coming up within my practice. For me, the process of blog post-writing is more about throwing up a series of thoughts in order to think through ideas and issues, than coming up with fixed answers.

This next series of posts will be a wander through my thinking about markets, both traditional and artisan or specialist.

I like markets. I like all sorts of markets. I feel comfortable in the traditional sort, as my Mum regularly used to take us to Roots Hall Market in Southend in the 1970s. I remember the throngs of people, the noise of market traders calling out, groups of people gathered around particular stalls, whilst the wares were paraded and knock-down prices announced, the entertainment of it all.


Roots Hall by Saxon Essex

Then I regularly used the flea market in Sheffield as a student (in the late 80s), and for 20 years I often used Kirkgate Market in Leeds, for fabric, haberdashery items, amongst other things – it was my go-to place for anything unusual that you couldn’t buy in the rest of the increasingly homogenised offer from the national and international retail brands in Leeds’ shopping centres and high street.

I find Kirkgate Market architecturally very interesting, with the front of the market having a high ironwork and glass ceiling, with intricate wooden details. It has recently been refurbished and rebranded (more of this in following posts).




Image Credits: 1. From @SUFC_History (possibly a newspaper cutting) – 1970s.

2. From – this site has a wealth of great Southend and nearby images, many from the 70s and 80s. This image is more recent, a date wasn’t given.

3, 4, 5. Sarah Spanton

About waymarkingthesketchbook

Sarah Spanton is director of arts organisation Waymarking -
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