The centre of Birmingham has been home to markets ever since records began. The Wholesale Markets have existed on their present site since 1816 when the land was purchased from the De Birmingham family along with the old moated manor house which had been occupied by the family and its descendents for centuries.
Just a year later The Smithfield Market was opened by the Birmingham Street Commissioners, the new owners of the old De Birmingham estate. As the market expanded and developed it established its own cattle market which later sold sheep and pigs and other livestock.
In 1883 the wholesale vegetable market was opened and the cattle markets and animal stock moved away from the site. Markets were still held around the Bull Ring and for a time the Rag Market also operated within the grounds of the wholesale vegetable market. In 1897 the Meat Market and Abattoir opened in Bradford Street.
This fragmented arrangement of markets were given a new home in the mid 1970's when the new fish, meat and poultry markets were opened. The current wholesale market is the largest of its type in the UK and the site is now far too crowded with no room for any additional expansion.
The success of the existing markets means that the site will move from its outdated infrastructure to custom built efficient and food safe premises in a covered market site near the M6 at Witton on the site of the old IMI premises on Brookvale Road. Over 80 units will house a wide variety of wholesale market traders.
The decision to transfer the wholesale markets to "The Hub" gives it the chance to expand by a third more than its existing size on a site which has been developed by property company Pruprim.
Moving the existing wholesalemarkets will create room for further urban regeneration and modernisation in this key city location.
The 21 acre site is expected to be sold by auction and the money used for various projects in and around the city centre. The sheer size of the site makes this the largest single urban redevelopment site in the UK. What a fantastic opportunity for the City of Birmingham.
On the downside no one seems to know what will happen to the regular Sunday Car Boot sale that has taken place for years on the old site.