Darlington Market Hall: A brief history
Darlington Market Hall and Clocktower were completed in 1864 and immediately became a landmark and expression of civic pride in the rapidly-expanding town. The role of the building has changed over the years and the improvements will ensure it remains a pleasure for future generations. The original Victorian design remains as impressive as ever but the facilities need updating to make better use of the building. This is an opportunity to adapt the building to attract new businesses into the town centre.
The elegant Gothic-revival design of Alfred Waterhouse (Designer of Manchester Town Hall and the London Natural History Museum) has been added-to over the years but many of the alterations are unsympathetic to the original design. The current works replace them with improvements more in keeping with the original design but suited for todays needs.
- Repairs and redecoration of the historic structure
- Draught-proofing and environmental control for the sales floor
- A new ‘Temperate Garden’ facing onto Market Square
- New Public WCs, ATMs and Customer Care facilities
- An Enterprise Haven with Office and Workshop space for start-up businesses
- ‘Farmgate’ – a new Urban Farmshop offering a sales outlet for local Growers and Producers
- The Market Vaults – refurbished for restaurant and leisure and make use of the Garden
The original building was open-sided but was soon enclosed to make the sales floor more comfortable! Those boarded walls will now be replaced with glazing to regain the transparency but maintain pleasant working conditions. Clever adaptation will enable different uses to trade independently at different times of the day and encourage better use of the building. Practical improvements are being introduced for Stallholders – internal service stairs and purpose-designed production areas in the basement. The emphasis today is on helping existing Stallholders grow their business and encouraging new start-ups with low-cost space.