More than a century of trading from livestock to plants
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