Friday, 26 November 2010

St George's Market

Congratulations are due to St George's Market in Belfast which came runner-up in the BBC Radio Four Food and Farming Awards. St George's competed against 800 other markets in the category. Shroud Farmers' Market was the winner.

St George's Market is the last surviving Victorian covered market in Belfast. Belfast Corporation commissioned the building of St George’s Market, which was built in three phases between 1890 and 1896. Before 1890 St George's Market was an open market and most likely contained a slaughterhouse and a meat market.

The original (pre 1890) market was smaller than the new structure. The city surveyor, JC Bretland, designed the building. It was built in red brick with sandstone dressing. Externally it features Roman styled arches with Latin and Irish inscriptions - the City’s Latin motto "Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus", meaning "what shall we give in return for so much?" and the Irish phrase "Lámh Dearg na hÉireann", "Red Hand of Ireland". The main entrance arch displays the Belfast Coat of Arms. This newly covered market opened to the public on 20 June 1890.

By the 1980s St George’s Market had developed into a general market and it became the last of Belfast’s thriving Victorian markets. The market was pressed with increased maintenance costs and changes to hygiene regulations, among other issues, and Belfast City Council decided to find other uses for the listed building.

A campaign backed by the City Council, traders and the general public resulted in a Heritage Lottery Fund-backed £3.5 million refurbishment programme assisted by the Environment and Heritage Agency. Brick and stonework that had badly deteriorated was returned to good condition, and special bricks were produced to match the original unusually-sized bricks. The fully renovated St George’s Market reopened its doors in 1999.


Gerry Snape said...

when I'm visiting the sister in leafy Belmont , we are always sure to go to St.George's Market on a Saturday morning for goodies and a coffee to drink whilst listening to the great music. Thankyou for this post !

Timothy Belmont said...

Sadly I don't visit as often as I ought; perhaps it's the difficult parking and my laziness. :-)

If you happen to recognize me (the cove wearing a coronet) don't forget to accost me. :-)