History

Birmingham’s wholesale food markets date from 1166, when the Lord of the Manor Peter de Birmingham obtained a royal charter permitting him to hold a market at “his castle at Birmingham”, though later members of the de Birmingham family claimed that markets in Birmingham had been held since before the Norman Conquest. It was this market that provided the first impetus to the growth of Birmingham as a commercial town from the twelfth century onwards. Until the nineteenth century the markets were held throughout the streets of the centre of the town: a cornmarket and Welsh and English markets selling cattle are recorded in 1553, with butchers shambles and a fish market recorded from the eighteenth century.

The organisation of the market was one of the main concerns of the Birmingham Street Commissioners following their establishment in 1769, with the body taking on responsibility for the collection of tolls in 1806 and buying the marketing rights outright from the Lord of the Manor in 1824, before handing responsibility to the Birmingham Corporation in 1854.  In the early nineteenth century the clearance of buildings from the Bull Ring allowed the concentration of the markets on the site. In 1817 the Street Commissioners opened the Smithfield market on the site of the Birmingham Manor House, new wholesale fruit and vegetable markets opened on Moat Row in 1883, and the pig and cattle trades moved to a new market in Montague Street between 1892 and 1898. The wholesale fish market in Bell Street was opened in 1869 and extended in 1883, while in 1897 a new meat market with an attached slaughterhouse was opened in Bradford Street.

Increasing congestion in the markets area, coupled with the demolition of the Fish Market for the construction of the Bull Ring Centre in 1958 and the increasing inadequacy of the Smithfield and City Meat markets, led to post-war plans to develop a new wholesale market complex. Tenants moved into the  Pershore Street Market in 1974.

A new phase in the history of the market has now begun as the market has relocated to new premises on the Hub industrial estate in Witton, designed to offer a 21st century wholesale market environment. This released the old site for redevelopment in the city centre and provides an exciting vibrant location for the wholesale market to flourish in the west midlands for the future.

Birmingham Markets is one of the largest integrated wholesale markets in Europe, providing fresh produce to restaurants, hotels, fast food outlets and local retailers across the Midlands and Wales.

Given its Royal Charter in 1166, the Markets remain a dynamic and vibrant part of the Birmingham city economy, offering a cost competitive source of fish, poultry, meat, fruit and vegetables and flowers.

With its commitment to quality, Birmingham Markets offer local producers an international market in which to trade.

Read more about the history here: https://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/commercial-property/nostalgic-look-birmingham-wholesale-markets-9097499