Harborough Museum

Living off the land

Living off the land

Harborough’s history of living off the land and Allotments Week!

Living off the land

This month’s object is one of many on display in the ‘Living off the land’ case in Harborough Museum. These objects, including this crate of tomatoes, tells the rich history of farming, agriculture and markets in Harborough.

The name of Market Harborough comes from the fact the town has had a market for over 800 years! In the disctrict there was evidence of a strong wool trade, as far back as the 14th century. The cattle and sheep markets that took place show how important farming and agriculture are in this area’s history. During the Victorian period, sheep and cattle were raised in the Welland Valley, before being sent to London’s Smithfield market.

The cattle market on High Street, before it moved to what is now Sainsbury's car park.
The cattle market on High Street, before it moved to what is now Sainsbury’s car park.

Harborough’s indoor market

In 1993 the current indoor market in Market Harborough was built, along with the development of St Mary’s Shopping Centre. This took over from different markets in the history of the area, including sheep and cattle markets on High Street and The Square which later moved to what is now Sainsbury’s car park. The area under the Old Grammar School was originally intended for the butter market, to protect traders from the weather and markets still take place there now.

In 2014 the indoor market was refurbished and was awarded Britain’s Best Small Indoor Market 2016 by the National Association of British Market Association. To find out more about the market, visit their website.

A postcard showing the sheep market in The Square, which still has markets selling a variety of food.
A postcard showing the sheep market in The Square, which still has markets selling a variety of food.

National Allotments Week

While plenty of people get their fruit and veg from Harborough’s excellent market, others take advantage of the allotments in the town including those run by Market Harborough and the Bowdens Charity.

You can celebrate, visit and learn more about allotments during National Allotments Week, which takes place 13th to 19th August. See what events are going on nearby on the National Allotments Week website and take a look at the You’re Hired exhibition at Harborough Museum to learn about the Charity’s allotments.

If you liked the images in this post, visit Image Leicestershire to see more.

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Logos for the partners of Harborough Museum including Harborough District Council, Leicestershire County Council, Market Harborough Historical Society and supported by Market Harborough and the Bowdens Charity

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