Harborough’s famous and historic market is set to totally re-opened

The Market Food Hall has remained open throughout the three-month lockdown, solely for people to buy food and cleaning supplies

Friday, 12th June 2020, 3:53 pm
Updated Friday, 12th June 2020, 3:54 pm
The Market Food Hall during the coronavirus pandemic.

Market Harborough’s famous market – stretching back over 800 years - will be totally re-opened on Tuesday June 16.

The historic mart’s delighted traders in the General Hall will welcome back shoppers 24 hours after over 100 more shops re-open across Harborough on Monday.

Harborough Market Food Hall has remained open throughout the three-month lockdown, solely for people to buy food and cleaning supplies.

But all non-essential retailers will be allowed to trade from Monday June 15.

Shoppers at the market, which can trace its medieval roots back to the 13th century, will still have to follow two-metre social distancing guidelines.

And control measures currently operating in the Food Hall will be extended into the General Hall.

These include a one-way system with controlled admission via the St Mary’s Place entrance only.

The Northampton Road entrance to the market will be closed, with signs in place advising people.

There will also be hand sanitiser stations on entry, clear two metre floor markings and a reduced stall layout.

Opening hours have been adjusted to 8am to 3pm for the Food Hall and 9am to 3pm for the General Hall, to allow for the staggered arrival of traders.

Cllr Phil King, leader of Harborough District Council, said: “It’s fantastic that we can see this phased return to normality.

“And while not every trader is in a position to return immediately we will have a great range of general goods traders returning alongside our Food Hall traders from 16 June.”

He added: “The Covid-19 guidelines may mean that queues move a bit more slowly and shoppers will not be able to pick up and handle items on stalls.

“But we ask that the public are patient and understanding.”

Harborough Market public toilets will remain closed and the Sunday Antiques Markets will not resume immediately.

But it’s hoped the monthly Farmers Market on the Square may return in July or August.

Over 100 shops and businesses are set to re-open in town centres in Harborough district from Monday with ‘helpers’ on hand to promote social distancing and safe shopping.

Harborough Market’s long and colourful history began over 800 years ago.

There has been a market in Market Harborough since 1204.

The market was granted a licence by the King, known as a Royal Grant or Charter, which gave the market the right to trade unopposed in the region within a radius of 6 and 2/3 miles.

Townspeople had to pay three marks (one mark is 250g of silver) to King John for the right to hold the market.