This film is part of Free

Clegg's People - York

Farmers barter for the best price for their heifers and sows as the ancient trade in livestock endures virtually unchanged over the millennia into the modern era.

Documentary 1986 24 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


An insight into the world of cattle and pig markets as roving reporter Michael Clegg visits York Livestock Centre at Murton on the Thursday market day before Christmas 1985. Buyers and sellers of cattle and pigs rub shoulder to shoulder around the auction ring, bidding by the raising of an eyebrow or a thumb, as the auctioneer beats out his rhythmic patter, and Clegg himself has a go at upping the price.

Michael Clegg ran his series for Yorkshire Television throughout the 1980s. Clegg was a naturalist, former columnist at the Yorkshire Evening Post, and a regular on BBC Radio 4's Natural History Programme. Born near Barnsley, Clegg was an early campaigner for wildlife sites. The old cattle market, dating back to the 16th century, was just outside Walmgate Bar, moving to Murton in 1976. Little is changed since this film was made: the Monday “Fatstock Market” and Thursday markets remain the same. East Yorkshire also remains a leading area for pig farming, although claims for high welfare standards for pigs are disputed by animal welfare campaigners.