One of Derby’s most famous landmarks is set to be demolished as part of a wider plan to improve the Market Hall and the surrounding areas. A planning application has been made to Derby city Council outlining the remaining work that is needed to refurbish the Grade II-listed Victorian structure.
It follows on from extensive repair work over the past few years and is due for completion in 2024. The final cost for repairing and refurbishing the Market Hall could be up to £35 million and would include creating a public event area outside the building in Osnabruck Square where three kiosks currently stand.
One of these is Uncle Tom’s Cabin – well known for the place to “get the best cup of tea in Derby” – which was first founded back in the 1950s. It is unclear when demolition would take place and if the business will continue inside the refurbished Market Hall or elsewhere. Despite attempts to contact the owner, no-one from Uncle Tom’s Cabin was willing to comment on the situation.
But people who remember the location over the years, or who have used were happy to pass an opinion on the situation. Marge Drake, 68, of Alvaston, said: “I suppose you feel that it has always been there and it would be a shame to see it disappear altogether but there seems to be such a lot of change nothing would surprise me.
And Mick Draper, 52, of Chaddesden, added: “I remember going there as a kid with my grandad, Arthur, and meeting some of his friends for a cuppa and a sausage cob on a Saturday morning when I was young.” One comment on Facebook said: “Lovely relaxing place for some alfresco drinks and a chat.”
There are currently three kiosks in the square with one of the others being temporarily occupied by nearby Artcore. The current kiosks in Osnabruck Square were constructed almost 40 years ago but Uncle Tom’s Cabin was originally founded in a previous building by Tommy Barnes in 1954. In 1975, the business celebrated its 21st birthday with free cups of tea for all of its loyal customers.
The planning application for the Market Hall work reveals designs for the improvements in Osnabruck Square, which is seen as an area for people to gather and socialise and could be used for events. They also include full length windows overlooking the square to open up the area inside and outside the building.
The design statement says: “There exists significant potential to enhance and animate this elevation to better connect Osnabruck Square with the internal spaces, and to create a more open and inviting public face to the building.”
It continues: “Works are proposed to transform Osnabruck Square, which will see the demolition of the cabins, and the removal of some trees to open up the space and allow for a greater appreciation of this historic elevation. The refurbished public space will include a new paving scheme, street furniture, lighting and tree planting, to create an inviting destination in which people will want to spend time.
“Forming this new, flexible open area will also allow the experience and content of the Market Hall to extend into the public realm. A transformed Osnabruck Square could be utilised to extend the Market Hall activities and service offer, accommodating outdoor pop-up market stalls and street food outlets.
“All three kiosks are proposed to be demolished to open up the space, with their footprints being resurfaced in concrete pavers, to tie in with the existing surrounding paving design.”
Inside the Market Hall, on the ground floor, it is intended to have an area for up to 32 market stalls, which will be able to be portable. Also there will be a space for in the region of 14 food stalls and a bar. On the first floor balcony, there will be seating, more bars or eating areas and also a section for start-up creative traders.
Work is also to be carried out looking at what improvements can be made to Lock-Up Yard just outside of the Market Hall leading to Cornmarket. Three flat-roofed unoccupied retails units on the other side of the hall in Lock-Up Yard, adjacent to the Tiger Bar, are also planned for demolition, according to the planning application.
The design statement says: “The three retail units in Lock-Up Yard were constructed in the 1980s. They are of a simple masonry construction, with a flat roof, spanning between the Market Hall and the adjacent Tiger Bar, enclosing a small hidden triangular courtyard space.
“These small retail units have not been occupied for some time, and have suffered internally from water damage. There would be a cost to repair these units and return them to a lettable standard. Instead, it is proposed to demolish these units, to expose more of the historic elevation of the Market Hall, and create a new screen wall in render, connected to the Tiger Bar and screening the new plant area being created as part of the Market Hall refurbishment.”
The retail space opposite occupied by the fishmongers S Bailey is not affected by the plans but owner Stewart Bailey says he is hoping the Market Hall will reopen as soon as possible because his business is suffering from not having the footfall it used to have.
He said: “Please let people know we are still here and selling fresh fish as we have done for decades and to come and see us.”
Previously, Simon Riley, city council strategic director of corporate resources, said that the Market Hall was a crossroads for people accessing all areas of the city.
He said: “It is time for it to be commercially viable in its own right. It is a key destination, right at the centre of the city. It won’t just be for shopping in but somewhere people go to relax, look around and be a focus destination.”
A city council spokesman said that the deadline for demolition of the Osnabruck Square kiosks will not be decided until planning permission is granted and a programme of work is drawn up. But added: “We are working with the kiosk owners about the future.”
Work started on renovating the Market Hall in 2019 with a price tag of around £11 million in total but a series of complex problems linked to the age of the building have increased the costs.