The Bigg Market In Photos: 1900-2022

The area of The Bigg Market in the English city of Newcastle is named after a type of grain, not because it is big. This is from Wikipedia, and explains the history.

The Bigg Market is a site of historical significance in Newcastle upon Tyne and dates back to the Middle Ages, when it was the site of a thriving marketplace that formed an important part of the Great North Road. The market was named after a type of coarse barley, called bigg, that was widely sold from the stalls. Other nearby markets included the Cloth Market and the Groat Market. The Bigg Market is located close to Newcastle Cathedral. Newcastle’s old Town Hall, which was built between 1858 and 1863 was located in St Nicholas Square (between the Bigg Market and the Cloth Market) and served as the meeting place of Newcastle City Council between 1863 and 1968.

More recently the Bigg Market has become known for its drinking culture and disorderly behaviour. It has more than 20 bars and restaurants housed in its 31 buildings, many of which are listed buildings in a state of some disrepair.

The main area in 1900.

Poultry sellers worked until 8pm most days. This is from 1900.

The young girl in the centre is selling drinks of Cordial. Taken before WW1.

Ice Cream for sale, 1925.

A popular shoe shop and its staff, 1928.

During the 1960s, The Winter Zoo was held every year in the old Town Hall building. These photos are from 1965.

Underground public toilets, 1980s.

The re-modernised area in 1988.

Women out on a Hen Night photographed with a police officer, 2022.

42 thoughts on “The Bigg Market In Photos: 1900-2022

  1. A great set of pictures. I used to be very familiar with the Bigg Market in the late 90s-early 2000’s. Newcastle is my home town although it’s many years since I was back for more than a flying visit! The Winter zoo has always fascinated me, there are a few tales of animals escaping and causing havoc until recaptured but I don’t know how true they are. I suspect they have grown in the telling, at least.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was interested too. Newcastle is a long way from here, (250 miles, long by UK standards) so I have not been back to that city for decades. They have a very unusual accent and dialect, called Geordie. I can only just about understand them when they talk, and I feel sure you would think it is a foreign language. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. (0) Bigg is named after a type of barley? Well, of coarse it is!
    (1) Year: 1900. Time: 11:50 am. Month and Day: unknown.
    (2) Little known fact: Poultry Sellers was related to Peter Sellers.
    (3) The young girl advised buyers to take a drink of Cordial before WWI. Because once the war began, it would be wise to stay sober.
    (4) Risi’s Ices go well with Reese’s Pieces.
    (5) I think George Rye should have sold bread instead.
    (6) English: She is fantastic. French: ร‰lรฉphantastique.
    (7) From the Planet of the Apes comes this photo of a couple with their pet human.
    (8) Q&A:
    Q. How many neck rings can you put on an African giraffe?
    A. I don’t know. But finding the answer to your question is on my bucket list.
    (9a) You would think that public toilets would be legally acceptable. It’s a shame they had to go underground.
    (9b) Based on what I can see, the sign says it only costs CENTS to use the toilet.
    (9c) Swallow Hotel? Ladies, I wouldn’t recommend that hotel for a honeymoon.
    (10) Pizza Hut is essential to a district’s re-modernization. There’s no topping that.
    (11) Chicks out on a Hen Night. (You’re as old as you feel.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They were usually built either side of main roads. Many had once been Roman roads. In this case, it was built around The Great North Road that led from London to Scotland. The road still exists, but is now known as the A1, and by-passes many towns and cities. (Newcastle is around 60 miles from the Scottish border. )
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here a lot of towns were built on both sides of main routes to elsewhere. However, the main road which they were built around was much wider than the side streets. Later towns sprung up along rail lines. Warmest regards, Ed

        Liked by 1 person

  3. As I look at that photo of the old Gent’s public toilet accommodation, the question rises in my mind, “I wonder how many ragged old homeless attempted to make those things their temporary shelter?” We have that problem here in the States when someone sets a portable toilet in place somewhere like a public park …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those Victorian toilets had permanent attendants in them, John. They would not have allowed any vagrants to sleep in them, and they were often locked at night. Very few of them still exist now in England. Some were later converted into pool halls, and one even became a restaurant in London. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.


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