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Open Cambridge: Market Stall Stories

10 September 2016

For Open Cambridge 2016, Great St Mary’s Heritage is planning an exciting free family day celebrating the history and mysteries of Cambridge Market.

Great St Mary's watching over the market square. Photograph courtesy of the University of Cambridge.

Great St Mary's watching over the market square. Photograph courtesy of the University of Cambridge.

Do you know how Petty Cury got its name, or what you could buy from the smearmongers? Have you heard of the Cambridge book-fish, or the Great Market fire of 1849?

Market square has been the centre of Cambridge since the middle ages. Boats used to sail all the way up to Cambridge from the sea at King’s Lynn before the fens were drained. The ships and barges brought fish, wine, salt and luxuries to the docks all along the river. Local people and villagers from all around Cambridge came to the market to trade, gossip and see justice done: the market was also the site of the jail and public whippings, the stocks and beheadings.

Thanks to funding from Cambridge BID there will be a wide range of activities in and around the market on Saturday 10 September, including mini historical market tours, time-travelling market traders from medieval times to the swinging sixties, and children’s activities in Great St Mary’s.

The Museum of Cambridge are setting up a pop-up exhibition and memory stall where they hope to collect local people’s memories of Cambridge Market. You can also take a walking tour all about trade and shopping to the Museum, which is offering free entry.

At 4pm, join us in Great St Mary’s for a talk about the changing faces of the market through history and unusual ideas about how to transform it for the future.

There’s no need to book for this free family event, with activities taking place in the market from 10am-4pm, and the evening talk in Great St Mary's from 4-6pm.

Browse the Open Cambridge programme for more exciting events.

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