Thursday, 15 October 2015

To the Bull Ring

Not to fight Ferdinand, but rather visit the markets.  The Bull Ring is a major commercial centre in Birmingham.  These days the most notable features of the area are the two shopping arcades and the market place.  The arcades contain the usual shopping complex shops so the covered and open markets were our destination.

Wikipedia states the market started in 1154 when Henry II granted a charter to a local land owner.  Initially the area specialised in textiles and by the 16th Century the street was known as Mercer St.  By the early 18th Century the name had been changed to Spicer Street reflecting the decline of cloth and the rise of grocery and meat.  The Bull Ring developed in the main Birmingham market.  By the 1830’s and 40’s it was also a location where the working classes went to demonstrate and listen to speeches.

I wondered why the area was known as the Bull Ring.  Apparently the area was first known as Corn Cheaping and there was a green (small park) in Corn Cheaping that was used for bull baiting.  The bull would be tied by the nose to an iron ring and then “baited” by setting dogs on it.  The bull had some room to move by usually having about 30ft of rope between the ring and it’s nose.  One form of baiting involved using a special breed of dog to attack the bull by biting and holding onto its nose.  The breed were known as Bulldogs.

In yesterday’s post I mentioned Typhoo Tea was established by John Sumner.  His ancestors had a grocery business in the Bull Ring which he sold to pay off his debts and start Typhoo Tea.

Today half the market is in two large covered building whilst the rest is an open market with canvas awnings.

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There are a large number of meat, poultry and fish vendors in the covered market.

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The open market sell fresh fruit and vegetables amongst other goods.

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We bought some sweet and juicy dark plums before heading to the nearby China Town where these is a Chinese supermarket.  Steamed dumplings and dim sims for dinner.

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We returned to the boat via the new Central Railway Station.

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1 comment :

Halfie said...

Have they renamed New Street Station as Central Station? That will confuse a lot of railway travellers for a while.