Market Hall celebrates 50th anniversary

Civic leaders and Shropshire’s Lord Lieutenant will join market traders and members of the public on Wednesday September 16 for a celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the official opening of Shrewsbury Market Hall in 1965.

The celebrations will be led by Shropshire Council leader Keith Barrow, the Lord Lieutenant Sir Algernon Heber-Percy and Shrewsbury Mayor Councillor Miles Kenny.

They are among specially invited guests including Shropshire and town council leaders, councillors and members of the business community.

The celebrations will begin at 11.30am and will include roof-top tours, exhibitions, live music and an official toast.

Councillor Barrow will unveil a plaque commemorating the anniversary in a ceremony taking place at noon in the undercroft entrance to the market, between Claremont Street and Shoplatch.

“Shrewsbury Market Hall is a real success story for Shrewsbury and for Shropshire. For 50 years it has been home to a wide range of fantastic local businesses that offer something for everyone and help to attract people in to Shrewsbury town centre,” he said.

“I’m delighted to be helping the market and its traders mark this very special anniversary and would like to wish the market a very happy 50th birthday, and many more successful years to come.”

The Market Hall complex is home to a busy indoor market, the town’s 240ft clock tower, a shopping centre and now Shrewsbury’s first university hall of residence, called Mardol House. The majority of the building is managed by Shropshire Council and the indoor market is jointly run with Shrewsbury Town Council.

Town Clerk Helen Ball said: “Love or hate its 1960’s architecture, the Market Hall has played a prominent role in the town not just in terms of its visual presence but also the fact that it is the focus of such activity with the successful market being based there.  It’s the very reason we are a market town. 

“We are delighted that we can take part in celebrating its 50th Anniversary and as this building enters a new era of also being the base for our new students at the University Centre. We look forward to welcoming new people to enjoy what it has to offer."

The Market Hall was developed by the London-based Second Covent Garden Property Company at a cost of £1 million and was designed by a leading architect of his day, David du Rieu Aberdeen, who also designed major buildings in London, including the TUC headquarters Congress House.

 It replaced a fondly remembered Victorian market hall that had stood on the site for 96 years and which had been condemned as no longer fit for purpose.

The new building, which took two years to build, was officially opened on September 16 1965 by the Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire Viscount Bridgeman in front of a crowd of townspeople and 120 special guests.

Town guide and local historian Stan Sedman will lead roof-top tours of the Market Hall at 11.30am, 12.30pm 1.30pm and 2.30pm, giving people a rare chance to see panoramic views of the town.

The Shropshire Visual Art Network, based in the Market Hall, has organised an exhibition exploring the history of the building and its site through artworks, photographs, stories and archived material.

The Market Buffet café, that has been running for 47 years, will be laying on a celebratory lunch for customers between noon and 2pm.

The celebrations have been boosted by Shrewsbury-born England and Manchester City Star Joe Hart who has donated a signed shirt as the first prize in the Market Hall’s anniversary raffle in aid of the Lingen Davies Cancer Fund. The raffle will be drawn at the event. Tickets, priced at £1 each, are available until Tuesday.