More than a cen­tury of trad­ing from live­stock to plants

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

FOUNDED in 1911, Chelford mar­ket has since op­er­ated con­tin­u­ously on the same site.

Land was orig­i­nally rented from Sir Ge­orge Dixon and be­came home to the first live­stock pens. The farm­ers called their ven­ture the ‘Chelford Cat­tle Mar­ket Com­pany’ and had fort­nightly sales.

There was an of­fice heated by oil stoves and lit by oil lamps, where money changed hands and three pens for stock load­ing plus a long plat­form, which was used to un­load horses and to han­dle milk churns.

A tim­ber build­ing on the site was used to sta­ble horses overnight af­ter they brought the mail from Knutsford. Wa­ter came from two stor­age tanks owned by the rail­way com­pany fed by a wind pump.

From 1916-1922, live­stock was sub­ject to Min­istry of Food con­trol, but just as con­trols were re­moved, foot and mouth disease broke out. Be­tween Jan­uary 1922 and De­cem­ber 1924, more than 3,000 cases were re­ported and Chelford mar­ket was ei­ther closed or sales re­stricted.

In 1933 John Brag­gins bought Chelford Cat­tle Mar­ket Com­pany and in 1935 en­tered into part­ner­ship with Frank Mar­shall. When John Brag­gins re­tired, Frank Mar­shall took over and Frank R Mar­shall & Com­pany was born on May 9 1947.

Knutsford auc­tion mar­ket closed and its sheds and sheep pens, with those from Al­trin­cham mar­ket, were taken to Chelford. By the end of the 1960s, Chelford was the main auc­tion cen­tre for calves. Foot and mouth closed the mar­ket for 11 weeks in 1967, but its re­open­ing two weeks later brought in new busi­ness.

The weekly poul­try sale dates to post-war days, when Harths of Poyn­ton un­loaded Ir­ish geese off the train into the sale yard at Chelford.

De­mand from veg­etable grow­ers led to the first pro­duce sale in 1976 and ex­panded to in­clude flow­ers, pot plants, trees, shrubs, eggs, fruit, poul­try and game and it is now the largest hor­ti­cul­tural auc­tion mar­ket in Britain.

Chelford Mar­ket Dairy Show 1955

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