The city of Cambridge has kept alive its trading influences from the past. Due its geographical location it was an important trading centre throughout history. The town was effectively a port, since it was the head of the navigation, of what was then known as the River Granta (what we know today as the River Cam). With the Market square being the centre of Cambridge since the Middle Ages, selling fish, wine, salt and luxuries that was brought to Cambridge by boat.
Cambridge Market is one of the oldest markets in England. Local people and villagers from all around Cambridge came to the market to purchase their goods. What’s more in Medieval Times it was the place where public punishments took place, where ‘justice was seen to be done’.
As the years went by, the market grew, with local farmers selling their produce and others selling their handmade goods. Stalls were passed down through the generations. In fact, this is the case for Reynolds Sweets‘ stall. They have been trading at the market since 1820, with their eighth generation trading today.
While families have been trading here for centuries, others are just starting out. Perhaps this is why the market has a great atmosphere – it is clearly a family environment, with the traders taking pride in providing a good service. Customers definitely feel welcome, and enjoy this personal touch. In fact Cambridge Market Square is very popular, not only for locals but for tourists too. From those who love to grab a quick, fresh lunch, to those who want to buy a survivor, and to those who even use the Market to get their weekly shop. It is so diverse that there is always something new to discover.
The future of trading in Cambridge
The Market Square is always looking to improve. Customers and traders have been exchanging ideas for its future. For instance, while the majority of stalls sell food, there are only two or three tables where customers can eat their meals. Traders are keen for customers to feel comfortable while eating, and there are concerns that the lack of seating is encouraging some to go elsewhere.
There is also a call to improve the markets appearance and practicability; although not everyone agrees. Some argue that the market should be covered by a big roof so it can continue to trade effortlessly throughout the cold winter months. Opponents of a roof argue that this would obscure the stalls’ traditional striped awnings and ruin the look of the market. Supporters say the market has been constantly changing since its inception, and a roof would boost stales. However, as much as the weather affects the market, life doesn’t stop because of bad conditions.
What we all know is that Cambridge Market holds a big place in the heart of locals. People from all over can visit to make an honest trade, it provides a living for some and is a great service for the local community.