Friday, November 06, 2009

Big Day for Welsh Agriculture

A new livestock market was officially opened in Welshpool today. Its reported to have cost £13 million to build. The project is the first part of a much bigger redevelopment of the town, the main feature of which is the construction of a new Tesco supermarket on the old livestock market. The new market was built by J Ross Developments, part of the Pickstock Group, the headquarters of which is in Oswestry. I can say that I was deeply impressed. My family have been users of Welshpool's livestock market since it first began operating in the 19th century. This is a big deal for me, and I'll be taking photographs on the last day's trading at the old site next Monday, and the first day's trading in this magnificent new development next Thursday.

I added this photograph to give you some idea of the scale of it. Richard Edwards' lorry at the far end looks like a dinky toy. In Wales M. E. Edwards lorries are as common as Eddie Stobarts. The new market covers 149,000 sqr. ft. Its massive.

This photograph gives you some idea of the interest there is in this new market. There had been an official opening this morning when perhaps 200 invited guests were present. This huge crowd turned up this afternoon just to look around - and enjoy a hog roast and a free bar!! It demonstrates how much this new market means to Central Wales.

And this final photograph is a personal one. Its the scanned front page of a supplement (in the Welsh Farming News) published in 1961. It was published as a celebration, the last time Welshpool Livestock Market was redeveloped. In 1961, it was owned by the local council. The man holding the gavel is the late Mr Austen Roberts, my father-in-law, who for decades was the principal of Harry Ray and Co. In 1961, he sold the pigs and barren cows. Harry Ray himself, who established the company, was Mrs D's grandfather. The first time I went to market would have been as soon as I could walk. It was what farmer's sons did in those days. And my mother would have spent the day in Welshpool as well - as all farmer's wives did. No driving licences and no two car families. For decades, Welshpool Livestock Market has been the largest one day livestock market in Europe. Today means that this record is likely to continue for many years to come.

1 comment:

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Wonderful that you have such great family connections going back generations with livestock sales.