[Swaffham Market]

1980 , Swaffham (Norfolk)

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A day at Swaffham market.

The film begins with general shots of the town centre as the church clock strikes 6.00 am. The market is empty and milk is being delivered. Dave Johnson, a stall holder, is filmed loading his lorry at his home in Costessey near Norwich. Ray Harding, who buys and sells at the market, is filmed on his smallholding preparing goats for market. At the market the lorries begin to arrive. A pitch will cost ?2.50 for six feet; extra space is chaarged at 15p per foot. The auctioneer, Tyrone Roberts arrives in his sports car. Stalls that set up include flower stalls, bric-a-brac and a carpet stall as well as fruit and vegetable stalls. Local people, especially school children help to unload the fruit and vegetables. Swaffham's is a Saturday market. The commentary emphasises the national elements of the market. Dave Johnson speaks of the attitudes to market traders and of the contempt in which he feels they are held, especially by banks. Sandy Lovell, the market superintendent talks about the market and his role. He walks around the market talking to the traders. His main problem, he explains, is 'creepers' people who try to steal extra space. He talks to a stall holder whose tow bar is across his mark. Early shoppers arrive at the market. A young woman explains that she buys her fruit and vegetables here because they are fresher and she saves money. There are scenes of the auction yard in preparation for the day. Swaffham has one of the last livestock auctions in Norfolk. The RSPCA is present. Chickens and rabbits are placed in cages awaiting sale. Tyrone Roberts explains his history in the auction business. He began at the age of 15 with the Abel family who ran the auction. He bought the business five or six years ago.The Church clock reads 9.00 am. There are general market scenes and sounds, including pitchers. The commentary explains that markets have seen a revival during the last 40 or 50 years. This market has been hit by the by-pass that takes traffic past Swaffham. The commentary explains that the traders have formed a Market Traders Association. They have negotiated the right to hold the same pitch. At 9.30 am Sandy Lovell begins to let unclaimed pitches to casual traders. The film meets some of the characters of the market. George Barrow is a trader and dealer who has been visiting the market for 63 years. He buys bicycles that need a little repair and then sells them on at a profit. He remembers the carts coming to the market. He also remembers when pigs, calves and bullocks were sold there. Ray Harding and his family visit the market every Saturday. They are filmed looking around and buying ice creams for the children. He claims to have furnished his house from the market. He likes the happy atmosphere. Charles Hardy is a dealer, originally from London. He recalls buying a human skeleton in a coffin for ?1/10s and selling it on for ?7 or ?8. He has the best line in the film. I go to Church ... and drink the holy water. This is a reference to The Greyhound Public house and to Watneys. The commentary tells the story of John Chaplin, the peddler of Swaffham. There is a shot of the town sign that features him. The commentary mentions that the market benefits shopkeepers because of the crowds that are attracted to the town. Dave Johnson compares the prices and profit on turnover between the two. Sandy Lovell collects the rent from the stall holders. Dave Johnson thinks that he makes a good living. He highlights the risks taken by the fruit and vegetable stall holders. They can make a lot of money, but they can lose a lot, especially on soft fruit. He agrees with the image of the market traders as successful but says there are no holidays in the South of France for him.Swaffham Market.At the auction Tyrone Roberts is assisted by his son. They sell produce and then other goods. In the Red Lion, Jack Smith, President of the Market Traders Association, talks to some of the stall holders. There are interior shots of the pub. The film returns to the market and visits the second hand stalls. At the auction, one of Ray Harding's goats is sold for ?16.50. George Barrow bids for a bicycle that he buys for ?21. At the office, people pay what they owe. 50% of the price goes to the auctioneer. The punters begin to pack up and leave.At the market more shoppers explain why they come there. George Barrow features with his bicycle and an ice cream. As the market begins to clear up traders explain what kind of day they've had. Dave Johnson has had a 'diabolical' day. He blames Margaret Thatcher - and the weather. This latter point is probably justified as on a day when many were eating ice cream, much of his stock is winter coats. A fruit and vegetable seller has had a 'disastrous' day. After 2.00pm he was selling at a loss and still people weren't buying. A fast food stall holder thinks this is a sign of the times. People can't spend what they haven't got. She also blames the by-pass. In contrast Tyrone Roberts says the auction was 'exceptional.' At 5.30pm the dustcart arrives. The final scenes are of the market packing up and emptying.

Featured Buildings

The Greyhound Public House; The Red Lion Public House

Keywords

Markets

Other Places

Costessey

Manifestations

[Swaffham Market]

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