Norfolk farming: 5 things you can find at Norwich Livestock Market
PUBLISHED: 09:00 11 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:38 12 April 2016
Judith Taylor, our voice of farming, on the important place of livestock markets
When I was a little girl I can remember going regularly to Norwich Livestock Market on a Saturday morning with my father to buy calves and cattle. I was always fascinated by the auctioneer whose babble I could never really understand. The farmers seemed to well enough though as they all furiously bid - and we all know, a farmer never pays more than he has to for anything!
There has been a livestock market in Norwich since Saxon times. It was originally located in Tombland and then moved to the area known as Mancroft – stretching from Guildhall Hill to St Stephen’s Church. Meat, fish, vegetables, shoes and livestock and lots more were sold. In 1738 it moved again to what is now part of the Castle Mall shopping centre – below the castle mound, known as Castell Dykes. On July 1, 1960, the present day market opened at Harford. To begin with the market covered the whole area, gradually reducing to its current size.
We are, of course, very lucky still to have a livestock market at all as many have closed down. In the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak, livestock markets had to temporarily close and many sadly never reopened.
Farming was, and still is for some, a very insular existence, so market days were and remain to be seen by many as a bit of a social occasion to meet up with like-minded folk, to perhaps share a cuppa or lunch and “talk farming”. They are also a good way for farmers to gauge values and prices, and an opportunity for the general public to get a real feel for the relationship between food and farming.
Norwich Livestock Market holds:
• Fortnightly cattle and sheep markets throughout the year
• Monthly Fur and Feather sales - February to October
• Regular farm machinery sales
• Specialist rare breed sales
• An annual Christmas poultry sale