Thursday 2 June 2011

Covered Markets of Olde England - Rotherham!

I know what you're thinking. Ok, I don't - but I think people are thinking 'why so many covered markets and shopping centres?' Well a) I like them, and b) by taking a microcosmic look at unfashionable and neglected parts of a societies popular culture and infrastructure, I think you can learn a bit about them and 'enter the time machine' more easily than, say, looking at the same images of swinging london or that eighties clip of a yuppie in a bar thumbing loads of fivers. And c) I've got a lot of photos of covered markets and shopping centres.

But I digress. Here we are in Rotherham, and this is a covered market in the literal sense - a load of market stalls in a vast hangar. It looks quite futuristic - like the alien virus from The Andromeda Strain multiplying in your local town centre. Attractive too, with muted tangerine and mustard (did I say attractive?) pyramids topping each stall. And they're good stalls - Lees of Leeds (a jewellers that is still going strong), a toy shop, book shop, tree overall shop. Tree overalls? Must be a word that has been obscured, although it is a gap in the market.

I would describe this gentleman as 'solid'. More old ladies, one of whom has a jellyfish-skin cap.

The view from the walkway. Is it just me or can I smell damp cement dust when I look at this? Main thing of note is the yellow cabinet on the far wall - I have a distant folk memory of something like this being a children's ride, where you sat in it and lights went off and it rose up and down on a hydraulic arm. Is it a Yellow Submarine? Is it a children's ride at all? This seems to have contradicted my earlier statement about learning things from the past - perhaps I'll amend it to 'you can observe things from a distance and try to join up the dots'. If anyone can assist re this tantalising image, please let me know. We shall take our leave from Rotherham. Until next time ...


  1. I like these very much and enjoy your commentary. I've never been to Rotherham but I do have fond memories of buying some second-hand records in Barnsley Market in the late 80's. Any pics of this fine example of English shopping temples?

  2. They definitely liked the muted tangerine/mustard-combination, using it on the sign outside as well. Strong corporate identity. Muted tangerine/mustard will forever mean Rotherham Market.
    And the gathering of kids and mothers around the yellow cabinet may be an indication, but not an evidence of your children's ride thesis.

  3. Singing Bear, I am parted from my stash at the moment. If I have any Barnsley pics they will be up next (anything in return for that Fairport Convention clip you posted)
    dispo, I take heart from your observation. But it's gnawing away at me!

  4. Great pictures. For comparison, I took some photos on my lunch break today. Unfortunately the tangerine-mustard colour scheme survived only on the sign outside, having been replaced indoors by, well, see for yourselves:

  5. I work near Rotherham, and go to the Market quite often. Without being awful, going in there is like stepping into a time machine. There's a new(ish) roof on the outdoor market, designed by a much missed former boss of mine:

    It's not just the building itself that sends you back in time when you go there. In a really strange way, the whole experience is like something out of a colour Mitchell and Kenyon film.

  6. Yes 'Tree Overalls', that mega brand. The stall was Beech Tree Overalls, which seems to be a very small market segment. Actually the company was based in Halifax and the brand was bought by Sartoria Corporatewear Ltd. Which became part of Logistik UK which is wholly owned by Logistik Unicorp of Canada.

    Between Channels, would you be surprised to learn that we have got Huddersfield's Queensgate Market Beeech Tree Overalls stall on film from 1975? No, thought not.

  7. Huddersfield Gem, I would indeed be surprised to hear that - seeing pictures of these markets is one thing, but to see period footage is something else indeed.