After the removal of the cloth market to the Cloth Halls, Briggate was still the home of the other markets in Leeds, except for the cattle market which was in Vicar Lane.
By the beginning of the nineteenth century, Briggate had become unsuitable as a market place. It was the main north- south route through Leeds, and was congested with traffic. Its northern end was partially blocked by the Moot Hall and the Shambles.
The answer was to move the market elsewhere, and this was made possible by the economic boom of the 1820s. Trade was thriving, and the businessmen of Leeds were prepared to invest their money in the improvement of public amenities.
The merchants, bankers, and other influential townspeople wanted to move the market stalls away from the street into a covered market, which would accommodate the butcher's shambles and the fish market as well. The cattle market and the fruit and vegetable market would be housed separately. But the shopkeepers and publicans of Briggate were afraid of losing trade if the street market was moved, and could not agree with the merchants on a suitable site. In the end, between 1823 and 1829 no less than five markets were built.
The Bazaar and Shambles, between Briggate and Vicar Lane, was built by two butchers, Frederick and Joseph Rinder, It was completed in 1825, and on the ground floor had 60 shops, 50 of them occupied by butchers, arranged in 2 rows or streets. On the first floor was the bazaar, a block of shops which was let to dealers for the sale of fancy goods, millinery and clothes. The butchers' shops were very successful, but the bazaar less so, and in 1858 part of the bazaar was used as a carpet warehouse. The building was bought in 1898 by Leeds Corporation and demolished to make way for a new road.
The South Market was built in Meadow Lane in 1823-24 and cost £22,000 to build, the money being raised from £50 shares. The architect was R D Chantrell. It was a general retail market, and it was hoped it would attract those people coming into Leeds from the south. There were 23 butchers' shops, and stalls, 26 other shops, 88 stalls, 9 slaughter houses and 18 dwellings. But the South Market was not a success; it did not attract retailers away from Briggate: nor did many people shop there. From 1827 quarterly leather fairs were held there, and it became known as the leather market.
The Central Market was a covered market built in Duncan Street in 1824-27 and cost £30,000 to build. Like the south market the money was raised from £50 shares. Inside there was a central market hall surrounded by shops on three sides. There were also shops on the outside, opening to the street. Most of the shops were butchers and fishmongers, the covered central space had stalls for fruit, vegetables, and dairy produce. There was also a balcony where fancy goods were sold. Altogether there were 67 shops, 56 stalls, 6 offices and a hotel. The market rivalled Briggate in the number of stalls, but it was never as successful as might have been expected. The Leeds Corporation bought the market in 1868. The building was badly damaged by fire in 1893, and was demolished when Vicar lane was extended into Duncan Street.
A Corn Exchange was built at the top of Briggate in 1827. There was a central courtyard, divided into compartments, where corn was sold. It incorporated warehouses and offices for the use of corn factors, a hotel and tavern, and four shops. It was a profitable venture, and helped to maintain Briggate as a central point for trading. It was replaced by a new Corn Exchange in 1862.
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The Bazaar and Shambles
Design for the South Market
Plan of the South Market, 1847
The South Market
The Central Market
Plan of the Central Market, 1847
The Corn Exchange
Markets built 1700 - 1745