Bury Market – A Blast From the Past!

This week I went in pursuit of my childhood food memories and to see if nose to tail eating was still alive and well in Lancashire.

I took along budding photographer Tom Challand who being many years my junior and not from Lancashire found himself on a train peering at a brief with a mystifying wish list of dishes and ingredients long since out of fashion.

Let me explain why – My grandmother Ann Heap was also a foodie and I like to joke that she ran the original pop up supper clubs. She had a shop in Colne which comprised of a slab of slate with a fresh display of tripe every day, elder, honeycomb and seam were all laid out. Then a long corridor with a couple of seats to sit and eat (the pop up element) and then what can only be described as a pie emporium at the back where everything possible was cooked into a pie and then what was not sold in the shop was rushed down to the working mens club to be eagerly consumed. Meat and potato, cheese and onion, butter pie, cow’s heel pie and the ubiquitous stew and hard.

My mum has kindly supplied me with granny’s stew and hard recipe and it’s on my to do list to blog about this…

So off we set in pursuit of these and much much more and naturally we chose to visit the award winning Bury Market.

Our first port of call ticked many cakes off the list and set our tummies rumbling. Sad cakes aka fly pies, manchester tarts, jam slices, Chorley cakes, Eccles cakes and even parkin. The Harry Muffin stall had the lot!

Keeping on the sweet tooth angle we headed over to Goslings who still make a range of sweets right there in Bury and ticked off some more oldies but goodies. kendal mint cake, sasparella tablets and coltsfoot rock to name but a few.

Time for lunch and for Tom to have his first taste of pie and peas. What a perfect find Valeries cafe was – friendly staff, great atmosphere and perfect home made pies. I thought granny was in the kitchen!

OK now back to the hunt – I absolutely loved David’s Quality Meats stall. Steak puddings, black puddings, tripe, cheese and onion pies, cow’s heel – he had it all. He even gave me a nibble of his delicious brawn.

Yummy Brawn
David proudly displaying his tripe

Finally our nostalgic food tour could not be complete without a visit to the amazing Bury Black pudding Company where we both scoffed some delicious samples. I was thrilled to find a pile of real black puddings which were actually made in Bury – from no fat versions to the traditional 7.5% fat versions – simply the best.

I took home a vegetarian version and cooked with it – to be honest I would not have known that it was a vegetarian version if I hadn’t opened the packet – how do they do that?!

Yummy Black Pudding

With our hunting complete we toured the rest of the market which was amazing in it’s size, diversity and prices. The food hall was turning over an immense amount of fish but with oysters going out at 75p each I’m not surprised.

You can get anything you want here and I could go on all day about every stall but here were my most surprising finds…..

A gravestone stall – not your everyday market item

Shopping and a haircut – thats a full service
Northern Soul – Is that still a thing?
These were a particular favourite of mine because I cook with similar pans in Thailand
They don’t have this choice of colours in my salon!
Can you get this Simpsons furniture home on the bus?

We chose to go by train to Picadilly station then hop on the tram which was another 20 min ride – The metrolink was really easy, wheelchair accessible and only £4.80 for an off peak day return

Manchester Picadilly Station


Metrolink Tram

Alternatively National Holidays offer coach trips from all over the country.

If visiting the market has really tickled your fancy and you want to make a weekend of it then you may be interested in the local Travelodge which is an economical option or snuggle into Brook Fall Cottage complete with a log burning stove and only 25 mins from the market.

If you really want to splash the cash though head for the stunning Manchester Raddison Blu Edwardian Hotel.

However you choose to go its a great day out and your wallet will thank you for it.

Have fun. Carole X

Carole Mason

Food and Travel - Author of Mae's Ancient Thai Food

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Carole Mason

If you would like to work with me or try my food please get in touch with me at carole@carolemason.co.uk