My adopted hometown of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire is a typical old northern industrial town that has had to regenerate, as many of the old industries have died out.
Huddersfield is near the confluence of the River Colne and the River Holme. Located within the historic county boundaries of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is the largest urban area in the metropolitan borough of Kirklees and the administrative centre of the borough. The town is known for its role in the Industrial Revolution.
One of the features of the town is the “open market” that takers place several days a week. There are a couple of fruit and vegetable stalls where produce can be bought at significantly cheaper prices than the supermarkets (one of which is less than 100 yards from the market). It is quite staggering the difference in price of many items of food and highlights how much the supermarkets are inflating prices to the consumer.
Moreover, fruit and veg on the market is not pre-packed, you can touch and feel the produce before buying and the traders will tell you if something is not quite ripe for eating.
It is noticeable that many of the customers are members of the various ethnic communities in Huddersfield and who have probably come from countries where open markets were the norm. There are also members of the student fraternity who have obviously sussed out that their money will go much farther by shopping on the market.
On various days there are “flea markets” and “open boot sales” where you can almost buy anything on this earth. I am sure that if you asked a stall holder “do you sell elephants?” they would respond with “would that be African or Indian you are looking for?”
There are many stalls selling books from modern paperback to those of antiquarian age. I recently picked up “The Concise English Dictionary” dated 1915 (and presented to someone as a Sunday School prize) for the princely sum of 50 pence. I also bought a mint condition 5-volume set of Spike Milligan’s autobiography for £1.00. If you fancy wearing a “sari” then this is you chance to buy one cheap………..or possibly several bags of nails.
It is probably fair to say that whatever you need to buy, no matter how obscure or weird, there is a very good chance of finding it at the market. There is even a stall selling guitars, mandolins and ukeleles (just to let my friend and colleague know!)
Finally, I must mention the “characters” who run some of the stalls, whose witty banter provides untold entertainment at times.