Demolition of the former Charter Arms pub started this week, as part of the work to improve Rotherham’s markets. Cllr Saghir Alam and Cllr Taiba Yasseen knocked out a brick to symbolise the start of a new era for the markets in Rotherham town centre.
A major refurbishment at the site will create a new look that appeals to all ages. The redevelopment will also build upon the existing mix of shops and services by adding a new dining area to the first floor of the Indoor Market. This will provide a vibrant link from the Indoor Market to the Outdoor Market, potentially allowing opening hours to extend into the evening. On the second floor of the Indoor Market, the existing arcade units will be refurbished to create office space for charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups.
Cllr Saghir Alam, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Community Safety and Finance and ward member for Boston Castle, said: “The redevelopment of the market’s complex and the new central library are key projects in the regeneration of our town centre.
“More than 50 years since the opening of the Centenary Market, this redevelopment will house our great local traders in an environment fit for the 21st century, helping to bring good quality, affordable produce to the next generations of shoppers.”
Cllr Taiba Yasseen, Chair, Health Select Commission, and ward member for Boston Castle, added: “The investment we’re making will bring impressive improvement and an enjoyable space in which people will be able to shop and relax. There’ll be something for everyone at the new markets and that can only be good news for the town and its economy.”
When complete, visitors to the markets will notice striking changes to the look of the indoor market, as well as a more welcoming feel, thanks to an improved design.
Rotherham Council secured funding from the Government’s Future High Street Fund to part finance the improvements of what’s officially known as the Centenary Market.
The Outdoor Market will become a flexible space used as a market, and also as exhibition and event space when needed. The markets will be connected to the town centre fabric by a new terraced public space that will open up the market frontage to Eastwood Lane and Drummond Street. A new library will occupy the corner between Henry Street and Drummond Street and will include a café, meeting rooms, flexible gallery space, and a maker’s space.
Investment in the markets is part of the Council Masterplan to transform the heart of the town.
Rotherham has a long history and association with markets since the 13th Century. As a result, the market has played an important role in the development of the town and helped forge its current identity and character.
In June 1801, an Act of Parliament enabled the town to enlarge the marketplace and improve and erect proper slaughterhouses. The Old Shambles marketplace was swept away and replaced with a new single storey stone Shambles. It consisted of 28 shops around the exterior and 20 stalls around the interior courtyard, for Butchers and Fishmongers.
In 1905 the Shambles was demolished to widen the High Street. The Imperial Buildings now stand on the site of the Shambles.
In 1879 the council purchased the land around the marketplace on Corporation Street and erected an iron and glass market hall. This market hall served the town until it was destroyed by fire in January 1888. In 1889 a new brick market hall opened on the same site. Rotherham also held a cattle market at the Crofts and by 1851 was selling around 3,000 sheep and 200 cattle each week. A new cattle market was opened on Corporation Street in 1926, when the Crofts site was chosen for the development of a new courthouse.
In 1971 the market relocated to its current home and was renamed the Centenary Market.
Header image shows the proposed new public space designed to improve connectivity and access to the markets.