Lincoln Cornhill Market opens to the public after £8.7 million refurbishment

Lincoln’s Cornhill Market has finally reopened to the public after a major two-year regeneration project. Previously known as the Central Market, the new venue opened its doors on May 17, exactly 86 years after it first opened in 1938.

The £8.7 million refurbishment, which began in May 2022, was made possible through funding from the government, City of Lincoln Council and Historic England. Aiming for a more modernised look, the new market has been described as a “perfect blend of a traditional city marketplace and a high-quality food hall”.

Celebrations will continue on Saturday, May 18 with local food demonstrations in the City Square and various stallholder offers. A total of 24 traders have been confirmed to open stalls in the market.

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One of the traders excited to get going is Bradford Plants, a husband and wife duo based in Lincoln selling a variety of plants and gardening equipment. Owner Paul Bradford recently decided to quit his job of 18 years at British Sugar to run Bradford Plants full time with his wife Jo.

He said: “It’s been a long time waiting but it has come around very quickly. It’s exciting. For the last 20 years I’ve sold plants in the summer. I’ve always enjoyed doing it and doing people’s gardens through the summer. When this opportunity came up I thought I want to do it full time because if I don’t then I’ll regret it.”

Paul and Jo Bradford, owners of Bradford Plants at the Cornhill Market in Lincoln
Paul and Jo Bradford, owners of Bradford Plants at the Cornhill Market in Lincoln

Paul’s dad was also a market trader in Lincoln in the 70s and 80s. He added: “It’s in my blood and I’ve always enjoyed it. My dad was a keen gardener as well.”

Another trader at the new Cornhill Market is La Bella di Casa, which sells homemade Italian ice cream. It is run by two sets of parents whose children attend the same school. Will Morris and his wife Isabel teamed up with Italian couple Antonio Catalano and Isabelle Martinuzzi to start the business, utilising Antonio’s gelato making expertise.

Will Morris, Antonio Catalano and Isabelle Martinuzzi of La Bella di Casa
Will Morris, Antonio Catalano and Isabelle Martinuzzi of La Bella di Casa

Will said: “We’re very excited. It’s been a journey but we’re happy with how the stall is looking. We’re the only parlour in the Lincoln area making proper gelato and making it on-site.

“Antonio is a third generation gelato chef. We all met because our daughters are in the same class at school. The idea came from there. Antonio has another parlour in Rugby and he wanted to open one more locally in Lincoln, and they were happy for us to jump on board.”

Mayor of Lincoln, Councillor Alan Briggs, cut the ribbon to open the market. He was once a trader at the previous Central Market with his father. He said: “It’s absolutely stunning. I’m very proud because many years ago my father and I had a stall in here for 25 years selling knitting wool so it’s quite nostalgic to come back in and see how it’s been transformed and brought into the modern day.

The Cornhill Market is officially open for business
The Cornhill Market is officially open for business

“There is still traditional fruit and veg but we’ve got to move on with the times. There are a lot of modern ideas in here. I’m really looking forward to it being successful.”

Naomi Tweddle, leader of City of Lincoln Council, said: “Seeing the building with such an exciting atmosphere has been incredible, and a taste of what’s to come for Cornhill Market’s new future. The funding from the government’s Towns Fund programme through the ‘Be Lincoln Town Deal’, City of Lincoln Council and Historic England has enhanced the building’s best features and given it a new lease of life.

“We’re excited for the people of Lincoln and further afar to visit Cornhill Market and enjoy this new addition to the city centre’s atmosphere.”

Full list of traders

  • Nonna Juanna
  • Tick King
  • Aroyjingthai
  • The Chicken Grill – The Greek Brothers
  • BanZai Oriental Street Food
  • Spice O’Klock
  • Lincs Mo Mos
  • Punk Dogz
  • PJS Supermarket LTD
  • Earthly Creations
  • Oatz & Co
  • PS I Fudge You
  • Fabric Tattoos Embroidery
  • The Cookie People
  • Flippin Crêpes
  • The Mysterious Jeweller
  • Corner Farm Kitchen
  • Bubble Kiss
  • Greekland – The Greek Brothers
  • Stokes Coffee
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Bella Di Casa
  • Bradford Plants
  • Cup & Dough

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