Bury - the "world famous" market [England]

Yes, “famous”. Touristy coach trips pay visits to the market. And this isnt your poncy farmers market. Or anything remotely “artisan”. Oh no, this is a typical northern open market - stalls selling lookalike (not counterfeit) watches, hardware and the sort of knickers your granny might have worn. And food.

I’d usually drive but I decided to take advantage of my old gits free travel pass. So I drove to the nearest Metrolink and got the tram. It drops you pretty much at the market. First visiit was to Chadwick’s black pudding stall. There are two black pudding stalls at the market. There’s the one which gets all the publicity and then there’s Chadwicks, the one that always has the queues of locals. So, that was two puds to take home - no fat in these. And a hot one (with big cubes of succulent fat) to eat now - they have a section of the stall where you find all the usual condiments. That’s ketchup, piccalilli and, of course, mustard. And, yes, I forgot again just how strong the mustard is so overdid it.

I had a wander about, wondering what food I might buy and, also, whether I reckoned Grandad might have fancied Granny Harters in those knickers. Then I went for lunch at the market chippy. There’s just a serving hatch with tables and chairs outside. There’s decent cod and chips.

As to the modern day hunter gathering…there’s bakery stall I like. That served me up with a wimberry pie, three Chorley cakes (the shortcrust pastry version of the better known Eccles cake) and a pork & sweet chilli sauce sauce pie. There’s a separate indoor bit where the four fishmongers and three butchers have their big stalls. There’s competition here, the traders shouting out their bargains. And there are real bargains to be found amongst the meat - so long as you’re not fussed about provenance. I am, so there was none of the “six steaks for a tenner” deals for me. I did get a couple of Barnsley lamb chops and four slices of belly pork (Gloucester Old Spot). And the fishmonger on the next stall sold me some smoked haddock and a tuna steak.

It was a good trip.

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Drooling…sure wish we had a wonderful market like that near where I live.

Agree with June. I’ve never been there, but it’s been on the telly a few times with the likes of the Hairy Bikers, and it looks great. The market in St. Peter Port has similarities, but I don’t know of anything like it in southern UK. Except Borough of course, which I don’t care for and isn’t really a proper market. Shame really, as according to Google Earth I work 584m away.

Great northern markets are a dying breed.

My nearest one is at Stockport. It’s been there since 1260, and has a Victorian market hall as well as outdoor stalls. But it’s a pale imitation of even 20 years ago. There’s now only a handful of outdoor stalls - only one selling fruit and veg where there used to be several. And the opportunity for buying granny knickers has all but gone.

However, watch this space for a report on Stockport Foodie Friday. I’m not quite sure what to expect other than I know this is a recent set-up on the market ground, once a month, with various “street food” vendors. They’ve taken the idea from how the market hall at Altrincham (market dates to 1290) has now been turned into an “artisan” (how I hate that word!) food court.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold