Return to Geordie Architecture

The Newcastle Grainger Market

Shoppers will be taken back in time as Newcastle’s Grainger market celebrates its 175th birthday with a week of themed events starting on Monday, 24 October 2010.

Grainger market shoppers will be able to mingle with people dressed in Victorian period clothing including while the kids will have the opportunity to discover toys like a whip and top, skipping ropes and Jacob’s ladders as well as getting the chance to make a peg doll and thaumatropes with

The market will also host a children’s fun day on Friday, 28 October which will include activity tables, a magician and even face painters.

The celebrations will end at the weekend with ghostly Victorian traders gliding through the Grainger market, just in time for the regions Halloween events.

  • The Grainger Market is the city’s largest, traditional, covered market in the heart of Newcastle.
  • On its opening in 1835 the classically styled Grade I listed building was the largest in Europe and was described by the Evening Chronicle as being “the most magnificent in the world”.
  • The market was a key part in the redevelopment of Newcastle by the developer Richard Grainger and his architect John Dobson (architect). Richard Grainger was said to “have found Newcastle of bricks and timber and left it in stone, stone that still stands today”.
  • The Grainger Market was originally split into two sections with the main market being the flesh or butchers’ market and the timber roofed arcade housing the vegetable market.  The arcade lost its original roof in a fire and was replaced by the current latticed-steel glazed roof (reminiscent of a railway station).  It re-opened in 1901.
  • The market has survived fires and two world wars and many original features remain today including the weighhouse.  It was originally used to weigh goods but now it is visited by thousands of people (the scale limit is 31 stones).
  • The market has over 100 shop units offering a wide selection of goods and services from traditional fruiterers and butchers, specialist foods, fashion, cobblers, plant stalls and a variety of hot and cold food takeaways and cafés.
  • Originally the market had 10 entrances to the market.  Now there are 14 and the Newcastle coat of arms is situated high in one of the entrances on Nun Street.
  • Originally there were 2 fountains at either end of the arcade which were relocated to 2 parks within the city. The pump works still housed in the air raid shelters below.
  • A bye law of the market states that you cannot bring a horse into the market.
  • The Grainger Market clock was operated by a pendulum and was wound up every Saturday morning by the horologists. It is now converted to electricity.
  • The Market bell is traditionally rung to signal the end of the days trading and originally rung at the start and finish of trading until the 1950’s.
  • Public art known as “Objects of Beauty” can be found next to Dunns Hairdressers and opposite Scorpio Shoes.
  • A team of seventeen labourers and attendants assist the Inspectors in keeping the Grainger Market a safe and pleasant place, through the alleys and the arcade.
  • The market is covered by CCTV these days to ‘keep an eye’ on what is going on. Originally a dog filled a similar function right into the 1970s.
  • Dermatology students from the Newcastle University Medical School use belly pork bought in the Grainger Market (from L&J butchers formally My Favourite Butcher) to practice their stitching.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.