Sunday, 20 April 2014

Grand Opening of the Cheesemarket


It's a bit hard to see, but at the front of the crowd is King Richard, in his crown and robes, opening the Cheesemarket. Beside him is George the Town Cryer. We actually had two Town Cryers for the occasion - Ken Smith returned to the role for what he said was his last shout, and he's still got a good voice that doesn't need a microphone!
Everyone else did. Juliette Noble gave an account of the last six years of hard work by all the volunteers - the committee and the people who had gone to Brecon and Hereford and Aberystwyth to search for local records, and the potter who had made the tiles that were sold to raise money for the project, and the ones who had wrestled with the planning bureaucracy and applications for grants, and organised the furnishings for the new holiday flat.
As a by-product of the Cheesemarket project, we now have a History Group in Hay - and the meeting they had last week resulted in half a dozen people willing to lead guided history tours around Hay.
So, the tiles are up around the inside walls of the Cheesemarket, and the information boards showing some of the local history, including historic photos of the fair and the dancing bear and the railway station, as well as old photos of shops paired with their present appearance. It all looks very professional.

The holiday flat was also open for viewing - and they have done a marvellous job. I was last up there about eighteen years ago, when the Camera Club met there, and I remember a rather dusty empty space. After the Camera Club moved out (the last in a long line of uses for the room, which has also been a Catholic Church and furniture showroom amongst other things), the building was more or less derelict until the Cheesemarket project started. Now there's a double bedroom with shower and toilet at the staircase end of the building, and the rest of the space is open plan with a kitchen and dining area at one end, and living room at the other. There's a book in the flat listing all the people who paid for tiles, and some of the job titles they have chosen are quite imaginative - Lincoln Ratcliffe (son of Gareth) who is only about three or four, is down as "Future Fireman".
It all looks very posh, and the views from the windows are wonderful:


At the bottom of the picture you can just see the green and white awning of the stalls that had been set up, with displays of photos and pictures by children from Hay School. They were also serving cheese (of course!) from Neal's Yard, and wine.
After Richard declared the Cheesemarket open, the community choir sang, starting with a song about the Martyr of the Storm, a farmer who froze to death on her way back from market to her six children, just before Christmas around a hundred years ago. One person I spoke to said they would have preferred a more cheerful song - about cheese!

1 comment:

watchthatcheese said...

I should think so to, cheese hardly ever gets a look in when it comes to songs!