Popular St Abbs pop up market hits the road

St Abbs Market, Friday's in the Old School House community centre
St Abbs Market, Friday's in the Old School House community centre

St Abbs market is open for business every Friday in the fishing village but you could find it popping up almost anywhere nowadays.

What started as an idea to get a few more people through the door of the newly opened St Abbs community centre is now an established business in its own right; with 24 produce and craft traders from Berwickshire and East Lothian operating a rota system to set up their stall there. And such is their success that they are now taking the market on the road, and proving popular in villages in north Northumberland, Berwickshire and East Lothian.

Known as St Abbs Market Traders, Jimmy Anderson explains that the traders all sell quality goods on a par with a farmers market, and are prepared to go en masse within a 30 mile radius.

“We are looking for places to take the market for week day events ” said Jimmy. “We’ve been to Bamburgh which was very sucessful and are booked for Scoutscroft.

“We see ourselves as being an add-on to organised events if organisers are happy with that and our only needs are that we are indoors - whether it be a marquee or a village hall.”

“We started up last June, at the same time as the cafe opened in the community centre. We wanted to utlise the room and someone had the idea of having a mini market. We went from two or three stalls on a Friday, to so many traders that we now have to have a rota.”

The St Abbs market is on every Friday in the village between April and October - the exception being Waddell fish merchants who carry on visiting St Abbs right through the winter as well.

A Christmas market also proved popular and is likely to be repeated in future years.

All the traders run established businesses: hand-made cards; jewellery; handbags, accessories and clothing; toys, a bread maker, the Greedy Reiver charcutier; Cooks Desire from Dunbar run by Jimmy, who purchases all his goods direct from the producer; and off course fresh fish.

Friday shopping and a coffee or lunch in St Abbs community centre is now a weekly must for many, some regularly travelling down from Edinburgh to enjoy the produce and crafts, the cakes and scones in the cafe that could challenge any contestant on ‘Great British Bake Off’, and the friendly atmosphere, meeting up with old friends and new in one of the most successful community projects in the region.