|The Grainger Market today|
The Grainger market is celebrating its 180th birthday. It was built to replace an open air butcher’s market and is one of the few remaining 19th century buildings still trading as a covered market in the UK. The original timber roof was lost in a fire and the present steel girdered roof reminiscent of a railway station dates from 1901.
The perfect antidote to the ‘clone’ towns of our modern high streets, the Grainger Market is Newcastle’s largest traditional market. With its fourteen (yes fourteen!) modest entrances, it sits in an elegant, classically styled building in Grainger Street near Grey’s Monument right in the middle of the city centre. The Grainger Market does not announce itself with any fanfare and you could glide right by it into the swanky new shopping Mall but if you did you would be missing a treat.
The Grainger Market opened in 1835 with a ceremony attended by over 2,000 people, it was the largest ever built, and at the time the Evening Chronicle described it as ‘the most beautiful market in the world.’ It was built by Richard Grainger and architect John Dobson who were responsible for most of Newcastle’s impressive Georgian buildings. It has a grid-iron pattern with ‘alleys’ for navigation purposes. There are some surprises in the Grainger market too, it’s not all two punnets for a pound stuff.
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FORGET your trendy oyster bars in London – with their accompanying eye-watering prices. The in place to go for shucking oysters and devouring the delicacies, street food-style, is Lindsay’s To Go.
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|Dare you eat an oyster?|
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Fosters is one stall which has been there for over 35 years and is the only place left selling tripe in Newcastle today. Apparently tripe is still popular with older people who eat it boiled in milk with onions, while younger offal oficianados enjoy it as it is (it is sold cooked) with just a smattering of vinegar. This famous North of England dish is a sheep’s stomach too far for yours truly. I was, however very interested in Foster’s range of bespoke pies which they custom make with any name or event required spelled out on the top in pastry. The DIVORCE pie has got to be a unique product in anyone’s book.
|Anyone for a cow’s heel?|
The Grainger Market has survived fires, two world wars and threatened demolition, and has been restored to its former glory in the past decade as part of the Grainger Town Heritage project . The market still even has an air raid shelter underneath the length of the arcade. Always useful to know.
Now exactly 180 years old, it was an ordinary place which is now so rare it has become extraordinary. Happy Birthday Grainger Market!