St. Nicholas Market, Bristol
Corn Street was part always the market area in Bristol, and like Broad Street was one of the four original streets of the city. Originally traders had their stalls in these street; the Exchange was then built in 1741-3 for corn and general trade, with St Nicholas Market being built next to it in 1743 for the sale of fruit and veg. It is all now St Nicks Market, open every day but Sunday. You'll also find stalls in the street on Wednesday, Saturday, and the first Sunday of every month.
Visit for the markets and the beautiful 18th century architecture!
The corn exchange was built in 1753 to replace older facilities. Although, of course, corn was traded, the hall was used by merchants to sell and trade different kind of goods. During the decades, goods from overseas trade became dominant. Today, the exchange is part of St. Nicholas' markets, which has become quite popular.
In front of the corn exchange, you can still see some pillars, sometimes called "nails", which were used in many english markets. After bargaining, business was completed by putting money on this pillar. The term "to pay on the nail" comes from these transactions.
Take also a look at the clock. It has two hands shwoing the minutes. While the black hand shows Greenwhich Mean Time, the red one shows "Bristol time". As Bristol is located 200 kms west to London, the sun rises and sets 9 minutes later than in London. Such different times were common until the introduction of new means of communications and faster means of transport (railways) made a standardisation of time necessary. Today, nobody uses "Bristol time" of course, but the red hand is still an interesting remain of past times.
The old Corn Exchange is now used for an indoor market full of all kind of things from Italian delis to New Age books. It is a lovely old building too, and famous for its clock with two minute hands since before GMT was introduced, Bristol and London had different time zones, Bristol being further west.
Most guide books will tell you about the 'nails', the iron tables in front of the Corn Exchange where merchants would spread out samples of their wares for inspection. If it was satisfactory, the buyer would put money down there and then, and this gave the English language the phrase 'cash on the nail'.
Less well known but perhaps more historically important is the tale behind the Corn Exchange clock. Look up and you will see it has two minute hands, one set nine minutes behind the other. These reflect the difference between Bristol time and London time - Bristol being 200km due west of London the sun rises and sets nine minutes later than it does in London. Keeping different times was fine until the coming of the railway, when it soon became apparent that agreement would have to be reached on exactly when trains arrived and departed. Thus began the concept of Greenwich Mean Time. There's an indoor market behind the facade of the Corn Exchange, too, and a Farmers Market in front on Wednesdays.
Lovely place to find 2nd hand and unusual stuff! Also a bookworm's paradise.
Bristol is a heaven for anyone looking for used books at bargain prices--lots of good used books/records there. St. Nicholas Markets is a lovely place to find not only used books, but silver jewelry (Celtic jewelry fans take note!), the usual Oriental bric-a-brac, 2nd hand stuff (lots of nice used cds too), organic and deli food, old clothes, pictures, fossils, candles, incense, etc, etc, etc!
Built in 1745 it is one of the few glass covered markets left in the UK and the biggest and most varied in the West country. I can spend hours there shopping in the speciality shops, there is everything from clothing to bead makers, vegetable stalls,fish shops, tattoo parlours,antique stalls and bric a brac.The market has expanded into the Corn exchange on 2 floors