The world’s smallest Marks and Spencer’s store, and the last surviving example of the Penny Bazzar shops which gave birth to the Marks and Spencer’s chain stores we know today, locate in an indoor market in the centre of Newcastle.
- The Grainger Market first opened in 1835.
- It is named after Richard Grainger, who came up with the idea for the market.
- Grainger also helped redevelop the city of Newcastle in the 1830s and turn it from a town of disorganised streets to what we see today.
- The Grainger Market was originally separated into two markets: a butchers’ market selling meat and vegetable market selling fruit and vegetables. Later other goods like baskets and pottery were introduced and sold.
- A big celebratory dinner was held in the market on the 22nd October 1835. 2000 men attended the dinner and women were allowed to observe from a specially constructed gallery.
- Today, Grainger Market is still one of the biggest market halls in England.
- Hidden within the Grainger Market is one of the world’s smallest Marks and Spencer’s stores.
- The Marks and Spencer’s store was opened in 1895 and is known to be the last surviving example of a ‘Penny Bazaar’ shop. This was a marketing trick where many goods were priced as a penny and marked with ‘Don’t ask the Price, It’s a Penny’. This was unheard of as that time people would normally have to ask for the price of goods in shops before buying.
- Today, the Marks and Spencer’s store is still open. It still has its original signage but the lights have been converted from gas to electricity. There is one major change though, everything isn’t priced for a penny anymore!
Then and now
Voices from the past
A young girl recounts visiting the Penny Bazaar in Newcastle’s Grainger market to buy a gift for her mother.
N.B. This audio clip is a work of fiction written and performed by a secondary school student. Although inspired by a real place in Newcastle and Gateshead, the characters and incidents which feature in it are either products of the student’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Dates and other information referred to in the clip may not be accurate.