Members of Manchester Civic Society’s committee visited Stockport’s fine covered Market Hall affectionately known as the ‘Glass Umbrella’, on a fine Saturday morning in mid-July. We were hosted by Mr Nirmal Bassi, Senior Market & Events Manager, who kindly showed us round the stalls and introduced us to their stallholders.
The Grade II listed Victorian Market Hall dates from 1861, but the site itself has been in continuous use as a market ever since the late Anglo-Saxon period, when, in 1260, a formal charter was granted for Stockport to be a market town. Immediately next to the Market is Stockport’s Grade I listed St Mary’s Church, whose ancestry on this site is even longer, back to 1190.
A Heritage Lottery Fund grant of just under £1 million, secured in 2006, enabled Stockport’s Conservation Team to regenerate the historic market place and significantly improve the facilities offered for both public and traders. The new layout improves circulation throughout the venue and creates long views through the market, highlighting the restored architectural features.
The result is a light, airy and welcoming environment, strikingly decorated, and home to a host of traders selling art, teas, books, tools, herbal products, jewellery knitwear, fresh fruit, vegetables and much more. Outside, a range of open air stalls enhanced the experience.
The occupancy rate for the stalls is 100% and business was brisk, and is enhanced by a series of special events, as below.
- 10th August 2019 – Makers Market – 10:00 – 16:00
- 11th August 2019 – Vintage Village – Inside the Market Hall – 10:00 – 16:00
- 30th August 2019 – Foodie Friday – 18:00 – 21:00 – Inside and outside the Market Hall
For more events see https://www.stockport.gov.uk/events/StockportMarket
The regeneration of the whole area has resulted in the opening of a range of eateries and pubs, some of historic significance nearby.
Those who enjoyed Manchester’s Bee in the City event last year can hop along to Stockport this summer for a similar event, the Giant Leap Frog Art Trail, which will feature 19 brightly-painted frog sculptures. The event runs from 19 June to 28 September. During that time, visitors to Stockport will find that a giant frog has leapt into the Market Hall and is sitting there on its own lily pad.