A rich history of unique markets

Chesterfield is one of the few towns in the UK that still has a bustling open-air weekday market.

In fact, Chesterfield Market is one of the largest open-air markets in England. It has been trading since 1165, although its official royal charter wasn’t granted until 1204 by King John, which gave the town the right to hold a market twice a week.

Today, the market is held three days a week – Monday, Friday and Saturday. A hugely popular Flea Market is also held every Thursday and, throughout the year, there are a whole variety of events and special themed market days, including farmers’, artisan, young persons’, medieval and 1940’s markets – all of which provide a huge draw to the town.

Later this year, on Sunday 19 August, Chesterfield will be welcoming its first Motorfest to the marketplace. This classic car-related market, builds on the success of the recent inaugural Food and Grooves festival that Chesterfield welcomed in May, proving what a versatile space the market square is for events.

It is the market and of course the town’s crooked spire church, that has given Chesterfield its identify for hundreds of years. Chesterfield Market has been trading successfully for over 800 years and, with its intriguing history and quality independent stalls, it gives the town a unique identity.

Apart from the addition of the Market Hall in 1857 and other buildings around the perimeter, the Market square hasn’t really changed since the early 1220s, when the market moved here after outgrowing its original site by the Crooked Spire Church.

The market proves a pull for many visitors to the town each year - 3.5 million of them to be exact. Between them, they spend £164 million.

Next to the open-air market is the Market Hall, which features indoor stalls, a café, outdoor units and meeting spaces upstairs as well as traders around the perimeter.

The town’s Victorian Market Hall was originally built 'for the shelter and safeguard of market people'. Since its construction, it has gone on to establish an identity in its own right, being officially named as the UK’s best small indoor market by the National Association of British Market Authorities. The prestigious title followed a multi-million refurbishment at the end of 2013 which saw it redeveloped to provide 45 internal and external retail units, 22 offices, a central café/coffee shop and conference facilities.

The market is an integral part of Chesterfield’s retail offering. Each year its market stall traders are honoured and recgonised at the town’s Retail Awards. This year, second generation family business Ibbotson Fresh Quality Produce was named as the Chesterfield Market Trader of the Year 2018, while DHC Countrywear was named Market Hall Business of the Year 2018.

Nick Ibbotson, Owner of Ibbotson’s Fresh Quality Produce was delighted to be awarded the title of Market Trader of the Year at this year’s recent Chesterfield Retail Awards: “It feels fantastic to win the award and it is testament to the best quality produce we supply. I love this town; it’s a wonderful place to base a business.” You can watch Nick’s full winner’s video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpDbY2FytVE.

To further add to Chesterfield’s public realm and entertainment spaces, Basin Square at Chesterfield Waterside will be developed in 2019 to create a canal-side entertainment venue.

Offering a vibrant, multi-functional space, Basin Square will be the exciting new venue for activities such as Jazz festivals, canal boating festivals, fun runs and event screenings. Linkages and gateways from Basin Square to Chesterfield town centre will seamlessly link the two destinations, encouraging a thriving and diverse daytime and evening economy.

To find out more about the benefits of visiting Chesterfield, please click here. Also, if you are interested in receiving news of the latest Chesterfield Waterside updates, please sign up to our newsletter using the box located on the right-hand side of the page.