Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Early Shopping mall, memorable pricing - Hungerford market

Last weekend I visited the ruins of the old castle of Farleigh Hungerford, in Somerset - an atmospheric place. Thanks to an English Heritage audio guide -the History of the Hungerford family is told through its stones. Sir Thomas Hungerford ( d.1397) was the first recorded speaker of Parliament.
Lady tower, Farleigh Hungerford Castle , Somerset

A significant slice of British history can be learnt through the ups and downs of this family who played roles in the Wars of the Roses, The Reformation  and Civil War. The castle is well worth a visit.  Farleigh Hungerford castle
Rare Medieval Wall painting in the Chapel at Farleigh Hungerford Castle
 of St George sleighing the dragon

 The Hungerford name got me thinking.

Some of my favourite views of London  are gained from the two pedestrian bridges that straddle the railway bridge from Charing Cross, London across the Thames. Hungerford bridge is named after the Hungerford Family but why?.
 I discover, yet again, that

 the world of Selling is never that far away

- for there was a market – Hungerford market  -that stood on the north bank of the Thames near Charing Cross on London’s Strand from about 1680.

The First market on the site was an early kind of shopping mall - The 'Westfield' of its time.

Sir Edward Hungerford obtained permission to hold a market on the site for three days a week. Hungerford Inn was subdivided into shops, and, with a covered piazza,  and formed the market.
By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the old market was  was rebuilt in 1831 to 1833 in an Italianate style to a design by Charles Fowler, also architect of Covent Garden Market.

Nelson with snow - top of Nelson's column , Trafalgar Square
The building partners Thomas Grissell and Samuel Morton Peto, who also built Nelson's Column, the Reform Club, and the Lyceum Theatre, constructed the  second Hungerford market building.

Under one roof were three large quadrangles, with shops on each side. The market sold food of all sorts - mainly fish, but also fruit, vegetables, and meat - with a landing stage on the north bank of the River Thames, by Hungerford Steps.
The Watergate steps of York House - Duke of Buckingham just down from where the Hungerford steps would have been. A reminder that before the Thames embankment the river Thames flood would have been higher

An example of the dangers of too broad a product offering

The market did not specialise in one sector, and found itself unable to compete with the other markets, such as Billingsgate Market, and Covent Garden Market nearby.

The same year, Swiss-Italian entrepreneur Carlo Gatti opened a stand at the market in 1851, selling pastries and ice cream.

 A portion of ice cream was sold for one penny served in a shell, perhaps the origin of

“the penny lick.”
This was perhaps the first time that ice cream was made available to the paying general public.

Hungerford Bridge

View of The River Thames, London's embankment - Hungerford Bridge in background

Should you be walking over Hungerford bridge to the South bank for a concert, play or film , or be crossing northwards from Waterloo towards the the Embankment - spare a thought for the name  commemorated in Hungerford Bridge and its association with selling in this historic part of London.
Pedestrian walkway of Hungerford Bridge  ( East side) towards Embankment on the north side
You can still buy an ice cream in the area, but you'll  have to shell out somewhat more than a penny  !

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