Cardiff Central Market

button-theme-crimebutton_lang_frenchCardiff Central Market

This market hall was opened in May 1891. It features a high glazed roof held up by ironwork. Initially stallholders were allowed to sell eggs only from the first-floor gallery – a rule devised to encourage shoppers to visit the stalls upstairs.

The hall replaced an earlier market building, which itself had replaced a prison on part of the site. Prisoners convicted of the most serious offences would be hanged alongside St Mary Street. Crowds of spectators would pour into town for the spectacle, along with beggars and street hawkers.

A blue plaque by the market’s St Mary Street entrance records that Richard Lewis, known as Dic Penderyn, was hanged here in 1831 after being convicted of wounding a soldier during riots in Merthyr Tydfil. The evidence against him was flimsy, and more than 11,000 people petitioned for a reprieve. You can read more about him on our page about the Dic Penderyn pub in Merthyr.

Since the 18th century, farmers used to sell meat and produce on part of the current market site, but in June 1891 a stallholder complained that butchers, mostly “from the country”, were ruining the prospects of the Corporation’s magnificent market hall by deserting their stalls except on Saturdays, when footfall was highest. The Cardiff Corporation agreed that month to reduce stall rents. The following month, it resolved to erect the four-faced clock which you can see in the centre of the market.

Some stalls are kept by families which have traded in Cardiff for generations. The Ashton family has sold fish in this vicinity since the 1860s. In 1874 Roger Ashton moved from one shop to another in St Mary Street, and advertised that he bought his fish not from middlemen but direct from fishermen on the Severn, Wye and Teifi rivers, among other places. On one day that year people flocked to his shop not to buy fish but to marvel at a Severn salmon which weighed 27kg (60lbs) and was 1.4 metres (4ft) long!

Postcode: CF10 1AU    View Location Map

Website of Cardiff Market