Birmingham’s markets were established by Royal Charter in 1166; the Wholesale Market opened in 1883, with the current market buildings opening in February 1974. As they will soon disappear to make way for the Smithfield development, Friction Arts have secured funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to preserve the history of the Wholesale Market.
Wholesale Memory will focus on the living memory history of the Wholesale market, and its accompanying Sunday bootsale market. Councillor Waseem Zaffar commented: “Birmingham’s early growth and subsequent development depended in no small part to the market. Birmingham’s markets have always reflected the diversity of the city, reflecting to tastes and cultures of the communities that have settled here.”
The project will focus on creating an archive of oral histories and other materials that will be made available online, and through an exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Wholesale Memory will also commission photographs of market traders and their stalls – some of which come from families who have traded at the markets for generations.
If you are interested in helping to preserve this crucial and unique part of our city’s heritage, Friction Arts are looking for volunteers to support the Wholesale Memory project. To learn how you can get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 772 6160. You can find the Wholesale Memory project blog here, and see upcoming events here.