Barry Cartmell memories of The Swan Market

by Barry Cartmell memories of The Swan Market

It was basically, erm, three blocks. Er, there was one main block on the Coventry Road stroke Church Road which housed everything from an independent fruit and veg, er, dealership, independent, er, butcher, a Farmfoods unit, er, Blockbuster video, which sort of dates it as well. Erm, the next block were, were more independent shops, er, fashion shops, erm… toiletries, household goods. Er, and then above that was the Gala Bingo Hall which… was the Gala Bingo Hall in my day but originally when the centre was built I believe it was a nightclub called Bloomers, which, again, some, some of the people around here still remember. Erm, I don’t remember the, the club as such, er, I, I know of the name. And then the third area was, erm… eventually became an InShops indoor market. It had been a, a few things over its time, I think mainly, er, supermarket, er, but for all of the time that I was here, erm, it was an InShops market. And then above that was multi-storey car park.

Oh, again, just about everything. They’re … more or less replicating what we’d got externally so there, there’d be, erm, a stall selling cheeses, one selling, d, erm, meat products, a couple selling meat products, er, one selling haberdashery, jewellery, erm, football memorabilia, erm, cameras and associated, erm, goods and, er, to do with, er, photography. Erm, there was a café in there, there was a, a crèche, er, for toddlers. Erm… all pretty much a, a standard of what you would find in, in indoor markets of the sort of sixties and seventies, er, which a, again a lot of people in, in this area still remember fondly.

It was due for a, a major, erm… redevelopment of some sort. Erm… the… the traders that we had, erm, they had been aware of it for some time that, in the future the centre was, was probably going to be deve, redeveloped, as a lot of those, these sixties centres were. Erm, so it was always at the back of their minds so even w, when new tenants were coming in they were aware of that as well. Erm, so, erm… leases were… er, were drawn up to, to reflect that, they were shorter term leases or, er, there were break clauses that would allow, allow the owners to, to say, ‘OK, this is the date where we’ll finish and, er, and that will be that.’ Erm… the main concern, really, was people in the local area, when they found out that the InShops market was to close. Erm, that was the biggest thing, obviously it’s, it’s a big… it was a big social, erm, interaction point for, for Yardley. People used to meet up there, it was their social scene, erm… especially the, the, the, the older people in the area. And… it was, it was part of their daily life and daily routine so when they found out that the market was to go, they were, concerned, shall we say. Er, but from a long-term point of view it, it desperately needed something.

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