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Shrewsbury Market Hall celebrates 50 years. Shopping in Shrewsbury. Historic market traders

Shrewsbury Market Hall Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Shrewsbury Market Hall marks its 50th anniversary in September and will be celebrating with a host of events and even some help from England goalkeeper Joe Hart. The Market Hall, which includes the town's 240ft clock tower, an indoor market and a ground-floor shopping centre, was hailed "the most modern building" in Shropshire when it opened in September 1965.

Events will include special exhibitions celebrating the building's history and the faces and characters who have been part of its story over the last half a century.

Football fans will even have the chance to get their hands on a football shirt signed by the Shrewsbury-born Manchester City keeper Joe Hart.

The former Shrewsbury Town player has kindly donated the shirt as the first prize in the market's 50th Anniversary Raffle which is raising money for local charity the Lingen Davies Cancer Fund. The raffle tickets, priced at £1 each, will be available to buy from stallholders from the end of August.

Shoppers, councillors and business people in the town are all being invited to join a party on Wednesday 16th September to toast the exact anniversary of the Market Hall's grand opening 50 years ago. They will enjoy a fruit punch and live music from 11.30am to 3pm. At noon Shropshire Council leader Councillor Keith Barrow will unveil a plaque commemorating the anniversary.

The Shropshire Visual Art Network Gallery, based in the market, will stage an exhibition about the building and its history from 7th September and there will be a digital display of nostalgic images broadcast on a large screen above the main market floor during the week of the anniversary.

The building was designed by the award-winning architect David du Roi Aberdeen who also famously designed the Trade Union Congress headquarters, Congress House, in London, and the former Swiss Centre in Leicester Square.

It cost £1 million to build and was developed by the Second Covent Garden Property Company Ltd to replace a crumbling Victorian market hall that was "no longer fit for purpose".

The indoor market is home to more than 70 independent traders and is fast gaining a reputation as one of the most exciting markets in the UK.

Traditional stalls selling fresh farm produce stand alongside cosmopolitan cafes, award-winning artisan producers, vintage and antique sellers and quality craft and gift stalls.

Part of the building, a former office block known as Mardol House that adjoins the market, is about to enter a new chapter in its history as a student hall of residence for the new University Centre Shrewsbury.

The Market Hall, which straddles a pedestrian island between Shoplatch and Claremont Street, changed the face of Shrewsbury when it was built and its clock-tower, incorporating an illuminated clock called Benbow, changed the skyline.

"We have a lot to celebrate. Our wonderful market is thriving as a popular retail and tourist attraction in its own right and for the first time in around 20 years Mardol House will be back in full use," said facilities manager Kate Gittins.

"We're hoping that as many people as possible will join our celebration."

Today the market is jointly managed by Shropshire Council, which is responsible for the permanent stalls located around the perimeter of the main market floor and the gallery, and Shrewsbury Town Council which manages the canopied stalls in the centre.