Saturday, September 17, 2011

Keswick market in Cumbria

GUEST POST by Radha Vijay. Keswick is a quaint market town in the Lake District, Cumbria in the UK.  Its name originates from an Old English term Cese wic meaning ‘farm where cheese is made’. The origin of the market town is said to date back to 1276 when Edward I granted a charter to hold a market and the practice continues till today, well over 700 years later. 

The Market square with the Town hall in the background. 

We were in Keswick on a Thursday, it is a day they have a traditional market with local produce and a few international crafts on sale. It is different from the main farmers’ market (which is held here on Mondays), but is something similar on a smaller scale. The farmers’ market concept is popular in the UK. This is where farmers, growers, producers are allowed to sell their produce directly to the public. While the idea is to encourage the farmers to market their products without the middlemen, they still need licences to sell and have strict food laws to adhere to.

Located in the centre of the town is a pedestrianized market square. There are tents pegged in the middle of the square selling a variety of wares. The produce looks fresh and tempting. The market square is itself very quaint. With the hills in the background it makes a pretty sight. Cafés and stores line the street. Within the square is the Moot Hall, an old grey stone building, used in the past as a prison, courthouse and a town hall, and presently housing the tourism centre.  Look closely and you will see a one-handed clock in the building. It is said to be the oldest in the country.

A stall sold jams and preserves in different flavours.

Farmers can market raw produce or processed food. But it needs to be from what was produced on their own farm. They need to be manning the stall too.  It had the look of a homemade product, so different from the slick packaged bottles that are sold at the supermarket.

There were baked goodies like muffins, gingerbread and carrot cake.  The muffins were a meal by itself.

Homemade toffees and wooden cutting boards from local timber!

Others had cheeses, meats and ice-creams. Bite-sized pieces arranged for sampling. No pressure to buy, no glib sales talk…Few local artists and photographers were also selling their work.

Very familiar Indian handicrafts. But the banner said it was a charity stall in aid of Nepal. Far away in this little town in the UK!

Away past the Moot Hall, the square lead into another lane and there were more shops.  So many outlets with varied goods in Keswick., And considering it has a population of about 6000, you wonder where the sales come from! Tourists?

It was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. But like the stores across the UK, closing hour was 5.30 in the evening, despite daylight lasting upto 9.30 in the night in summer.  It had something to do with the labour laws in the country. For us it seems strange, after all, isn’t that when shopping/spending begins in India?

I would like to thank Radha for writing this post and for sharing her photographs! You can visit her blog at: Musings of a Night Owl

Read about: 
Fish Market Mumbai
Tibetans at the Cliff Bazaar in Kerala


Meena Venkataraman said...

Wow..very interesting!...
I love markets in the UK..they are amazing!

Nisha said...

Though they all are markets, still they are similarities and variations.

I also love to visits markets across the globe and find them intriguing.

I liked the idea of a charity stall.

Ms.N said...

nice :). thought cumbria, italy initiatlly. have heard of the camden market in uk, havent been tho!

Indian Bazaars said...

Meena: Thanks for dropping by...

Nisha: If you visit an interesting market and would like to do a guest post at Indian Bazaars, would be great! I guess, that's for all readers!!

Ms.N: It was nice that Radha shared this experience with us. There was a post earlier here - the Lonely Planet Blog Carnival on MARKETPLACES which included a post on the Camden market, actually two posts, in case you want to check that out -