Dunstable Yesteryear - the market in 1968

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A colour postcard issued in 1968 celebrated what was then Dunstable market’s new venue in front of the Civic Hall.

The picture was taken from the roof of the shops at the end of Queensway, looking in the direction of what is now the college. The trees on the left were alongside Grove House Gardens. Most of these have now been felled and the hall has gone too, replaced by the Asda supermarket.

Dunstable’s market had previously been held on Wednesdays and Saturdays on the wide pavement in High Street North, down as far as Albion Street. In Victorian times the area outside the Nag’s Head and the Crown was called Market Hill.

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It was quite a hazardous site in more recent times, with heavy lorries on the main road passing just a few feet from the market stalls. So, when the Queensway Hall was opened in 1964, the borough council made the hall’s car park available instead.

Dunstable market in 1968Dunstable market in 1968
Dunstable market in 1968

In 1987 the market was moved to the north side of the hall where the stalls could remain set up permanently.

In 1996 a small market was started on Fridays in the Ashton Square area. It was a great success, with shoppers saying that they preferred it there rather than the Queensway Hall site which they said was too far away from the town’s main shopping area. In 1997 the whole market was moved there. Originally it was based mainly on The Square but some market traders complained about traffic fumes and preferred to have stalls placed further away from the main road.

Yesteryear is compiled by John Buckledee, chairman of Dunstable and District Local History Society.

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