9. Market Hall.
Although built in 1853, the Market Hall is still a pleasing feature of St. Helen’s Square and remains a busy shopping centre Before the construction of the Market Hall in 1853, weekly markets were held in various parts of Scarborough, each often associated with one commodity. For example, Newborough was the Thursday Market, at which pots, glass and earthenware goods were on sale from Bar Street down to St. Nicholas Street; and stalls of general goods on both sides of the street further down to St. Helen’s Square. On Saturdays, a market was held in Princess Street.
The new Market Hall was built by a private market company and opened on 8th August 1853. Annual Street fairs were still held, however, at Martinmas and Whitsuntide, with the tolls now passing to the market company. An Order of the Home Secretary in November 1896 terminated all the surviving annual fairs held in Newborough. The market company was paid £300 compensation by the Corporation for loss of all these tolls. One street market – that of the corn merchants - persisted in nearby King Street until the 1950s, however. The market building was designed by John Irvin, Borough Surveyor (who died less than three months before it opened) and cost £16,000. Despite its down-to-earth purpose, it is a dignified building with pleasing lines, mercifully unmodified since erection. The two decorative borough seals on the front elevation possess a special charm. Scarborough Fair, now celebrated in the song popularised by Simon and Garfunkel, flourished for over 500 years. Between 15th August and 29th September every year, the annual herring fish fair was held mainly on the sands. It also extended to the narrow streets and alehouses of the Old Town which were crowded with local tradesmen and European merchants, as well as minstrels, fortune tellers, quack doctors and dentists, and many others. Scarborough Fair had faded into history by the end of the 18th century and was last held in 1778, though still very much
alive in local folklore. Walk now to the rear of the Market Hall - either along the adjacent Market Way or through the Market Hall itself - and you are at the top of St. Sepulchre Street. About 200 yards down this street on your right is Trinity House. It can be identified by the superior stone facing and the lettering across the width of the façade at second-storey level.