This film is part of Free

Hitchin Market

Jellied eels, popper bead necklaces, and striped humbugs; a few of the items offered at Hitchin Market. Amateur footage to accompany hand-written verse.

Amateur film 1956 6 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for East Anglian Film Archive


An inventive way of documenting a day at Hitchin market in the mid 1950’s. This amateur footage accompanies long verse that narrates with humour giving a flavour of what to expect at Hitchin's thriving outdoor market, with stall-holders - cobbler, fishmonger, grocer, confectioner - selling their goods to a bustling crowd of shoppers. The visitors travel from each corner of the county by bus, and return the same way.

The hand-written verse, found in the can together with the film, unfortunately requires more space than provides here, however, in part: Can’t you hear the conductor? “Ere, come along, nark it, You can’t buy a pig nowadays in the market!” –That’s not true, exactly. In Hitchin at least, You can still go and purchase your fine fattened beast, your poultry and pigs and your cattle and horses. But to most folk these days, Hitchin Market of course is, The stalls set up here, th’other side of the town, Where the Church of Saint Mary looks cheerfully down, to the steps by the side of the River called Hiz. And is this Hitchin Market? You’re right, chum, this is! ... and so the verses continue.