When I heard rumours that the Wholesale Market was going to move out of Sneinton, I didn’t believe them at first, because we’d heard that before. But then, of course, it did actually disappear and it felt like the heart of the community had been ripped out. Everyone used to look forward to congregating in the market on Saturdays and that was gone – all that remained were the fruit and vegetables stalls, there might have been cakes and bread. I remember going down and there was literally two rows of stalls, instead of the usual fifteen – the place used to be heaving, people selling things in any space they could get into. I felt gutted, cheated. I thought, “What the heck’s this? This is not a market.” I just boycotted it, I didn’t want to be part of it, I thought, “This is not Sneinton Market” and I stopped going. Now, when I drive past sometimes, I turn and look when the fountains are on and the market’s not there – it makes me feel a sense of loss and sadness.
I have a long history with the market – I was a regular customer right up until the nineties when they moved the Wholesale Market. But what is there now? Nothing. They’ve all moved down to the cattle market and I’ve never gone there to buy anything – the parking down there is dreadful. It was very sad, because you could buy virtually anything on that market and then of course the shops all along the front disappeared too.
When we lost the Wholesale Market it was awful. Everybody was talking about it, “Why, what’s happening? I wonder what they’re going to build on it?” The whispers was that they was going to build flats on it, but they never built anything, only them daft water things. Everybody was like, “Int it a pity that it’s gone?” It’s like everything – once it gets popular, the council touch it and they keep touching it and it gets out of hand and then people think, “Ooh, no, it’s not worth it.”
In the mid-nineties, the Wholesale Market was moved out of Sneinton into the cattle market – it was absolutely disastrous. The proof of the pudding was how few people went. There was some really good strong companies that just couldn’t see a way of continuing to earn a good living because the new rents were astronomical. Lots of big companies like Hammonds and Geest Industries didn’t go. I certainly didn’t want to move. The powers that be could have modified the old market, but instead they decided it had to go.
We lost our identity when we lost the old market. It was made for horses and carts, but we still got articulated lorries round it. There was a lot of swearing and shouting, people parking in the wrong places, but there was atmosphere. There was forty-two companies at the old market at one time, but only a dozen of those moved down the new market. There was such a great atmosphere, but that just evaporated.
It was just so, so special. Don’t get me wrong, it was really hard work, everybody worked hard, but everybody enjoyed it. They were really special years for me and it was such a shame that it was all being taken away. Going to a brand new custom-built market, which was never designed as a market should have been just killed that specialness.