Abingdon Street Market, Blackpool town centre

New Future for Abingdon Street Market

Have you seen the original features at Abingdon Street Market? Although it’s not a listed building, at over 150 years old it’s a heritage asset to the town. Now, it’s future will be secured with ambitious regeneration plans.

* Note that Abingdon Street Market is currently closed *

Did you know? Originally built in 1862, the first use for the building was a police station!

We went to take a look around in August 2020 before it closed. Come inside and see for yourself!

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Future and Funding for Abingdon Street Market

In summer 2020, Government funding was secured. The money, from the ‘Getting Building Fund’, will secure the future of this town centre asset. And In October 2020, formal approval is given by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to proceed with the scheme. £3.63m is being spent on acquisition of the building and the refurbishment scheme. Exciting times!

Refurbishment Plans for Abingdon Street Market

Plans have been given the go ahead for the refurbishment of Abingdon Street Market that will give the market a new lease of life and secure its long term future at the heart of Blackpool’s town centre.

Visual of how the Cedar Square entrance to Abingdon Street Market will look
Visual of how the Cedar Square entrance to Abingdon Street Market will look

A project spokesperson said, “The market’s renovation will modernise both the internal space as well as the external façade, whilst respecting its heritage as part of the Town Centre Conservation Area.

“The renovations will deliver a more contemporary, attractive marketplace with new features that will encourage shoppers and visitors to stop and socialise, stay for longer and spend more. Also boosting footfall and retail trade in the surrounding area.”

Artist's Impression of the Cedar Square entrance to Abingdon Street Market
Artist’s Impression of the Cedar Square entrance to Abingdon Street Market

The planning application includes:

  • the demolition of a single storey extension on Police Street,
  • the external refurbishment of all façades,
  • replacement of access doors and windows with new feature glazed frontages.
  • new entrances are proposed from Cedar Square, Queen Vera’s Road and Church Street.

Internal plans include:

  • An extended food and beverage quarter with 250 seats for consumption of food and beverages purchased in the market
  • Stalls for food produce, food and beverage, artisan stalls and flexible retail units
  • Coffee stall and bar area

The market closed its doors at the start of the lockdown period and has remained closed due to the urgency and severity of some of maintenance works required.

Where are the Abingdon Street Market Stalls now?

Some of the traders chose their own premises in the town centre. A number of other stallholders temporarily moved together, into the former Topshop unit at Victoria Street before finding longer term premises.

In August 2021 we went for a look around to see what the plans are and where the stallholders went –

Then in April 2022 we went back to take a look at progress, and find out what lies in store next for stallholders –

Stallholders who relocated into the town centre: 

  • McRoberts Butchers – 6-8 Abingdon Street
  • Bread Basket – opened opposite the entrance to Abingdon Street Market
  • Trellis Café – 61 Victoria Street (former Café Fresh)
  • Sea Breeze Café – 29 Victoria Street (former Starbucks)
  • Joe Barlow Vape Shop –  37 Corporation Street
  • Lost Ark Jewellery shop – Unit K1 Houndshill Shopping Centre 

Abingdon Street Market through the Years

This well known building began life in 1862 as a Police Station. The mock Tudor look appeared when the police moved out. Have you ever spotted this original sign, uncovered above the entrance?

Police station sign at Abingdon Street Market. Photo: Juliette Gregson
Police station sign. Photo: Juliette Gregson
Police Station sign at Abingdon Street Market
Police Station sign at Abingdon Street Market

Did you also know? The road between St Johns Church and the market was once called Police Street?

Then it was a garages workshop and one of the town’s first car showrooms, operated by the Jackson Brothers. You can just see the first two letters of the sign in the next photo –

Abingdon Street Post Office and Market. Photo: Juliette Gregson
Abingdon Street Post Office and Market. Photo: Juliette Gregson
44 Abingdon Street. Photo: Juliette Gregson
44 Abingdon Street. Photo: Juliette Gregson

Becoming a Market

Later, around 1925, it becomes Blackpool Market and is renamed Abingdon Street Market in 1928.

Sadly, many original features of the building have been lost. Including the thoroughfare for horse and cart access at the front, along with the ornate ironwork lantern.

Have you got any old photos of Abingdon Street Market?

Merge of old and new photos, created by Andrew Ayre
Merge of old and new photos, created by Andrew Ayre
Merge of old and new photos, created by Andrew Ayre
Merge of old and new photos, created by Andrew Ayre

Thanks to David Wall, Marilynne Tomlinson, Andrew Ayre and Juliette Gregson for information and photos for this article.

Improving a Heritage Asset

In 2012, refurbishment funding helped to transform the appearance of the market. It came from a Townscape Heritage Initiative grant, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Blackpool Council.

The works to improve the front of the market started in spring 2012. By Easter that year the building is shrouded in scaffolding. But the market stayed open and continued to trade as normal.

Building Works at Abingdon Street Market Blackpool
Building Works at Abingdon Street Market Blackpool

This restoration makes a big change to its appearance:

  • The previous Tudor facade is removed and replaced to restore the ‘balance and symmetry intended in the original design’.
  • New windows.
  • There’s a new facade at ground floor.
  • New entrance way created, also making the market fully accessible for disabled people.
  • A new name for the front of the building, made with individual letters.

This traditional method of signwriting doesn’t tarnish and in fact improves with age. Craftsmen cut the letters from 40mm thick oak then varnish, and finally coat with real gold leaf.

Abingdon Street Market
Lettering on the front of the building

The back of the building had already been rendered and re-painted. This follows on from the other works in the St John’s Square area. It was all designed to make the market an appealing building that fits in with the outdoor dining and pedestrianised feel of that area of town.

Local Shopping in Abingdon Street Market

This building at the heart of Blackpool town centre was an Aladdin’s Cave of all kinds of things. Once a general market with more than 70 stalls. Selling food and fresh quality produce, including fresh bread, meat, vegetables and fish.

Stall in Abingdon Street Market
Stall in Abingdon Street Market
Food and groceries on sale
Food and groceries on sale
Clothes and goods on sale in the market
Clothes and goods on sale in the market

The front and rear entrance also made a useful shortcut from the Talbot Road end of town through to the central shopping areas. A popular place for residents and visitors alike.

  • Find it at 16-20 Abingdon Street, postcode FY1 1DE

While you’re here…

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5 thoughts on “New Future for Abingdon Street Market”

  1. Can you still buy the famous burnies (bread rolls) from the bread stall and is the mobile phone accessories stall there as well

  2. This is very interesting !! Also I have noticed another interesting building above Beaverbrokes on Church Street. What is this ?
    You could do a walking tour around all these landmarks.

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