“ The newly refurbished traditional Market Hall, originally built in 1857 'for the shelter and safeguard of market people' offers meat and fish, fabrics and designer clothes, footwear and perfumes, and many speciality shops all under cover. „
Chesterfield is known as a 'Historic Market Town'. When entering Chesterfield you will see welcome signs declaring just that.
Currently, there are around 250 market stalls in the town centre, plus various shops in and around the Market Hall.
When you walk around the Market hall, three sides of the building are occupied by small shops. When walking along the bottom of the building, you will find Fred's Haberdashery, which (as with many of the shops) has been around for many years and is usually the first port of call for anything sewing or craft related. They are extremely reasonably priced compared to other similar shops. I do wonder how they survive selling things so cheaply but they have a loyal customer base and always have lots of customers nipping in for things.
There is also a small newsagent, an underwear shop, butchers, hairdressers, and a shop that sells carpet off cuts and fabric. The toilets are also located on this stretch of building.
If you walk round the side you will find a Cobblers and a dancewear shop. On the other side there is a Greengrocers which is reasonably priced, most of them are very friendly and will remember your face. May son likes to say hello on our way past and they all remember him by name.
They are the same next door in The Cheese Factor; where you will find a huge selection of cheeses. There are many weird and wonderful varieties of cheese such as chocolate mint, raspberry, and lemon! They are more than happy to let you try before you buy; and as strange as they sound, most of them are actually rather nice.
On the other side of the shop they sell cobs, ham and cheese seems to be the speciality. They also do various other bits such as sausage rolls and Derbyshire oatcakes.
There is another sandwich shop called Upper Crust, which is more expensive but has a wider variety of sandwich fillings.
There is the RSPCA Charity shop (there is also another inside the Market hall, not sure why they needed two shops?), and a soft furnishings shop. There is another butchers further up and a Men's suit specialist.
Inside the Market Hall you will find:
A mobility stall
A toiletries stall
A make-up stall
A mobile phone stall
A stall that sells slippers
Two traditional sweet stalls
A fruit and nut stall
A hardware stall
A discount food stall.
An out size men's clothing stall
An underwear and hosiery stall.
There are also more butchers' and fishmongers.
There is 1001 Vac spares, where the name explains it all! They also sell odd bits like hard to find light bulb sizes and small electricals.
Johnson's Handbags is also a great stall. They have various different styles, sizes and colours and the range includes something for everyone.
I always go in looking for a certain style or colour and if he doesn't have anything suitable I can tell him what I am looking for and he will go out of his way to source one for me, which is great.
There is also a café upstairs. I always used to avoid it as the place never had any spare tables and seemed to be covered in a dense fog, from crowds of pensioners who would just sit there for hours drinking tea and chain smoking.
Since the smoking ban came into place it is somewhere that I do sometimes take my son. It is still very busy but there is usually a table or two spare now, and it feels a lot brighter and cleaner than before.
The food isn't exactly restaurant quality but it's good, quick and cheap. They sell cooked breakfasts, stuff on toast, chip butties, etc.
I love the chip butties! They cost about £1.30 and you get a plate full of chips with a large cob. They also do little things like toasted teacakes and crumpets. The crumpets are amazing!
The Market Hall is a great place for shopping as they sell a wide range of things and they have a lot of speciality shops so you can usually source things there that you would have difficulty finding otherwise. I would highly recommend a visit, especially if you are in the area.
Chesterfield is a renowned Market town in Derbyshire. It has a good strategic position for trade, owning to its central location north of Derby and close to the M1. There has been a market held in the town since the settlement of was set up by the Romans around 70 AD. They established a fort on the towns present location (again due to the strategic position) but this soon fell into disuse and it was then the Saxons who took up residence their word for a Roman fort was caester; from which the present name Chesterfield was derived. By the 10th Century there was a thriving village on the site, which grew over the next few hundred years into a town. The first documented market in the town is referred to in accounts made by the Sheriff of Derbyshire (it made the princely sum of £1 2s 7d!) and Chesterfield went onto hold regular Fairs.
The Chesterfield Fair was held yearly and attracted people from outside the county to buy and sell. This bought the town to the attention of the King and put the market on a national footing King John granted the town a Market Charter in 1204. This charter gave the Lord of the Manor the right to hold regular markets and also increased the towns status to a Borough. The town now holds regular markets on Monday, Friday and Saturday, with a Flea Market on Thursdays. There are also monthly Farmers Markets and special Continental Markets.
Originally the Market place was located near the famous Crooked Spire of St. Mary & All Saints Church, but, by the middle of the 13th Century, the site was deemed too small and the market moved to its present location. There are now two market places (the main market and the New Square, smaller market) separated by the impressive Market Hall in the centre. This lovely building was built in 1857 by the Chesterfield Market Company for the Shelter and safeguard of market people and was purchased by Chesterfield Corporation in 1872 for £11.500. It was restored to its Victorian splendor in 1980, when it was reopened by the president of the National Market Traders Federation (Mrs. Margaret Troop JP) in the November of that year. The structure is pretty impressive and is a wonderful piece of Victorian architecture. The clock tower in the centre is particularly nice and looks especially nice in the run up to Christmas, when it has lights and Christmas trees adorning the outside. You can see the building from both ends of town and the clock is pretty accurate most of the time.
The Market Hall opens Monday to Saturday until 5pm it used to have and early closing day on Wednesday, but now it opens all day. If you are planning to bring a group to visit Chesterfield you can also arrange free coaching parking by ringing the Tourist Information Centre (01246 345777/8). If you are coming by car there are two multi-storey car parks, two large surface car parks and a number of smaller pay and display parking areas at various places around the town centre. There is no free parking and charges vary depending on length of stay. They are too long and boring for me to list here, so I advise you go to http://www.chesterfieldbc.gov.uk/site/default.asp?CATID=364&CID=2021&ttype=full where all the charges and locations of parking locations are given. I am lucky because I currently live within walking distance of the centre and previously I was on a good bus route.
Downstairs you will find meat and fish stalls these tend to close a little earlier than the rest of the shops inside, so I recommend that you go in the mornings if you want to be sure of getting the best produce. This area can be quite smelly due to the meat and fish on display, but it is worth a wander through to see all the shellfish and meat spread out on display. Working up from this part of the building you can progress in a spiral gradually going up past the shops to the top of the building. Theres a lift or stairs to the upper areas if you want to go straight there, but the gradual progression is much better and definitely more pleasant because you can look at the shops on the way - this also means that virtually all the building is accessible to wheelchair users.
As you go up to the café and function rooms at the top of the Market Hall you will go past a wide variety of different shops selling virtually everything you can think of. Units are located throughout and, for example, include shoe shops, sweet shops (Auntie Dots is my favourite and has been around since the 60s), fabric, gifts (there is a gothic shop thats worth a look, which has some unique jewelry and clothing), greetings cards, electrical goods and toiletries. There is a lot to look at and even more to spend your money on! Some of the traders have been in residence for more years than they would care to remember too, so you have the chance to meet some real characters while you shop. They are all a pretty friendly crowd and the place is quite vibrant and full of life.
The Market Hall is not just for tourists either and is extremely well used by us locals! We even held a Beer Festival in the function room in 2004! I shop in the building on a regular basis. Primarily I visit the fish and meat stalls, the cut price toiletry and make-up shop (near the main entrance), the card shop, Auntie Dots and the little watch maker who changes my watch battery for me! There's also an underwear unit that is pretty reasonably priced.
Even when Im not shopping, the Market Hall makes a good place for a browse round and for shelter from the rain. It also stays quite cool on warmer days, which makes it a good shelter from all the elements!
If you do want to brave the weather there are also shops located all around the outside of the building. These all have separate doors and are independent units. There are some really good shops here, including a great sandwich shop, a newsagent, a fruit and veg shop (which sells some more obscure varieties), a cheese shop, a local butcher and a shop which sells candles and gifts. You will also find that some of these outside edge shops also display their goods outside on the street, adding to the whole shopping experience and market feel. There are also some public toilets here which are open all day (but close in the evening).
My particular recommendation is the cheese shop! It is called the Cheese Factor and is located on the top edge of the Market Hall building, virtually opposite the Post Office. They sell some interesting cheeses and will even put together a cheese board selection if you like. You can try a bit to see if you like it and can then purchase any size slices of the cheese however small the amount. They also sell Derbyshire oatcakes and other local produce; their cheese and turkey cobs are also very reasonably priced. I would also recommend the Sandwich shop. They are called Upper Crust (get it? ;)) and do the most massive crusty cobs with interesting fillings the Derbyshire Delight is a must, as is the Crab stick and egg!
If you are planning a trip to Chesterfield a visit to the Market Hall MUST be on your to do list! The building is easy to spot and is dwarfed only by the church, so you will be able to find it from pretty much anywhere in the town centre. The variety of shops and the chance to see a bit of the hustle and bustle of market life makes it an excellent place to visit and an equally excellent place for a bit of retail therapy. It is also good to support our local food producers and retailers, to ensure they stay in business. We also need to ensure that the Market Hall is well used and is kept open to provide a pleasant place to shop for future generations!
You can spend as much or as little time and money as you want and looking is free!
~~~FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.
Tel: +44 (0) 1246 345777 / 8
Fax: +44 (0) 1246 345770