The first new city-centre market for 10 years has just opened in Sheffield. Locals hope it will turn the area into the Borough Market of the North, says Jonathan Brown.
Customers are swarming around Waterall Brothers butcher’s stall. Piled high on the counter are the kinds of meat delicacies that supermarket shoppers under the age of 50 will probably never have seen before, let alone eaten. There are gloriously sticky roast hocks, trays of “savoury ducks” (actually sausage and bacon, rather than poultry), pork dripping and chitterlings – pigs’ intestines that draw gastronomes to the Gironde but which are also rather popular in Sheffield.
Taking pride of place, however, is the celebrated Waterall pork pie. “We sell about 3,000 a week,” says Stephen Waterall, who started in the family business aged 11. “It’s a hot water crust pastry and the filling is made from the finest cuts out of the shoulder.”
On Monday, Sheffield opened the first city-centre market in Britain for 10 years. The £18m project at the Moor replaces the decrepit Castle Market, which had seen customer numbers almost halve in recent years. Yet while many local councils are turning their backs on the idea of the traditional mixture of independent stall owners in favour of the glitzy mall, in Sheffield they are returning to an artisan food offering which, it is hoped, will turn the Moor area into the Borough Market of the North.