Monday, 2 December 2013

Castle Market.

Castle Market, Haymarket, Waingate, Sheffield
Castle Market photo © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
In a tragedy for all lovers of rampantly lunatic architecture, Sheffield's Castle Market was closed down last week, to be replaced by a spanking new indoor market at the bottom of the Moor. From comments on various sites, it seems few'll miss it.

But I certainly will.

I'll miss it for three reasons.

One was that I have happy childhood memories of it. I got my first ever box of Lego there, from a stall that had a Lego model of Queen Elizabeth as its centrepiece. I got a Dalek money box from there - possibly from the same stall. I also got a machine gun (admittedly not a real one) from the market, and a banjo. Truly it was a place of many and magical delights for a child.

Secondly, in the good old days it had a pet shop in one of the units that lined the building's ground floor exterior. That shop's downstairs holds no great memories for me but the upstairs had goldfish and snakes. No trip to town was complete without a trip to see the snakes.

The other reason is that it's a building that makes no sense at all. So random is its exterior that it's impossible to close your eyes and imagine walking round the outside of it. It's like a whole bunch of different buildings have collided with each other through some process of continental drift.

Likewise with its oddly labyrinthine interior that left you with the feeling you could roam it every hour of every day of your life and somehow still never fully know it. There'd always be some nook, some cranny, you'd never before encountered. That might not have it a sensible design for a market building but it did mean it was impossible to get bored by it.

I assume it's a truly unique building because I can't believe anyone would ever have been daft enough to build another market anything like it but, of course, that means the complexity and randomness that made it a bizarre design for a market also made it seem oddly special.

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