Walsall Market

Congratulations! You found a Hidden Hippo

The artist

Neil Hughes

Neil is a senior lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton and programme leader for the BA (Hons) Digital Production Arts for Theatre at the Performance Hub. Neil Hughes is also a internationally-renowned designer producing large events, galas and elaborate themed theatrical spectacles for celebrities and Royalty. Celebrities such as Elton John, Simon Cowell and Jean Paul Gaultier and Royalty such as The House of Liechtenstein, Lord and Lady Leicester and Prince Albert 2nd.

The location

A market has been held in High Street since c.1220 and is still a popular attraction. The market has always been central to Walsall - and it has always been changing. By recording the memories of shoppers, stallholders and officials we aim to present a picture of what market life was like in the earlier part of the 20th century. However, the history of the market goes right back to the thirteenth century and to set the scene for the evidence of living memory we must start with a brief history. In 1220 William le Rous, Lord of the Manor of Walsall, obtained the right to hold a market in Walsall by a grant from the King. A market, especially a successful market, would make money for him and bring prosperity and growth to the small town. Recent research suggests that the High Street was laid out in a planned way at this time, a broad street designed to accommodate the market. It may be significant that the site of the Guildhall occupies a central position in the street. The early market was held on a Monday, and this was moved to Tuesday in 1417. As a regular gathering of large numbers of people, the market was a natural focus for public activity both light-hearted and serious. In the market area were many popular inns and entertainment here was a regular event. The Green Dragon boasted an excellent bowling green, and the Woolpack was one of the great cock fighting centres of Staffordshire. According to popular belief the young Dr. Samuel Johnson used to wait at the Old Still Inn for the coach to Lichfield having sold books on the market.