14 FEATURE Know your product

With the holiday season well and truly upon us, we thought the time was right to take another look at this indispensable product, and ask: how much do you really know about the humble bag?


I don’t think I’ve ever been on a decent sized market that didn’t have a stall dedicated to the purveying of bags. But I guess the first question has to be, what kind of bags are we talking about here, because the word undoubtedly covers a multitude of skins. There are brown paper

bags, polythene bags, carrier bags and bags under the eyes – but we’re not talking about any of those. There are also

nose bags, air bags, money bags and Oxford bags, but we’re not talking about any of those, either. The kind of bags we’re talking about here are handbags, shoulder bags and travel bags – the kind of bags you see people carrying to work or dragging off luggage carousels in airports (then stuffing back on again when they realise they’ve got the wrong one). Even within this reduced category the variations are

almost endless, of course, but as long as you get the idea, I think it’s safe to progress.


Handbags now come in all shapes, sizes and materials (Photo: Laura Taylor)

So why is it that so many of us have a bag of some sort over our shoulder or in our hand when we leave the house in the morning? We have pockets, don’t we? Well yes, but things have changed, and unless you’re prepared to wear a painter & decorator’s apron every time you go out, the majority of pockets are no longer deep enough to carry the accumulated personal clutter of the average 21st century human. There was a time when your average homo sapiens had nothing, not even clothes, (so pockets weren’t even in the equation), and the idea of carrying some kind of repository to keep objects in would have left prehistoric man bemused to say the least. Over the centurie s, however, we have learned to accumulate possessions, and nowadays we probably carry more rubbish around

with us than the average bin wagon. The upshot of which is, we need bags, and today there is a veritable profusion of materials, styles and sizes to choose from.


When it comes to handbags, efficient business women tend to go for something small, leather and over the shoulder (though I know one girl who carries a bag to work that’s big enough to hide a reasonably sized jockey). For evenings out, the size becomes yet more diminutive – after all, what do you really need when you’re out on the town? (Actually, let’s not go there). For everyday use there are no hard and fast rules, and anything goes, from strappy leather affairs that look like sacks, to shoulder bags the size of an envelope. Work bags have perhaps become more uniform in size over recent years, the main reason for which is that a lot of people now work on a laptop which they carry with them to and from the office. Once

William Shakespeare was the first to use the word luggage, in the play Henry IV (Photo: CJS*64)

again, however, the style can vary from plain black leather to lurid multi-coloured vinyl, and pretty much everything in between. For school kids there are

very precise rules, and if a bag doesn’t display the currently favoured brand name and logo, the owner can quickly find themselves ostracised for life.

Travel bags, too, have nowadays become as much a fashion item, as a repository for swim suits and sun cream. Older people tend to stick with the classic style of suitcase, though in colours they think are trendy and cool, but which in reality are roughly the colour of baby poo. For the more adventurous, however, there is a variety of luggage available sporting wheels, telescopic handles, propellers and small jet engines. (Or am I thinking of a dream I had recently)?

But enough about the

endless variety of 21st century baggage. Where did the idea actually come from?


According to author Sigrid Ivo in an article on the Museum of Bags and Purses website, the bag as an indispensable accessory is not a recent phenomenon, but has been around from the early days of human existence. Featured in paintings, prints and carpets in numerous museums throughout Europe, it would seem that a variety of bags and purses were already in existence by the late Middle Ages. One enthusiastic historian has even spotted a depiction of a laptop bag in an early Venetian tapestry. With inside pockets still

a pipe dream, a variety of sheaths, bags and purses were already functioning as practical accessories

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01709 365021 SERVING THE NATION’S TRADERS SINCE 1922 APRIL 28 - MAY 11, 2017 Trader’s fears for a Devon market

A stallholder at Plymouth City Market has told local media that he is increasingly concerned about the number of businesses moving out, despite an ongoing multi- million pound revamp of the 1950s building. With more than a dozen businesses having left in the last year, the worried trader, who wished to remain anonymous, blamed discontent among stallholders at the market on a “lack of leadership” on the shop floor. But market bosses in the

city have given assurances that they are doing everything possible to keep stallholders happy as the £3.5m refurbishment reaches the halfway point. “The current occupancy

rate is quite low,” the trader said, “lower than it was at the height of the recession. There are 27 empty, around a sixth of them. Also the perimeter shops are emptying quickly. “The main issue is the

lack of leadership on the shop floor, so to speak. The management team are uncommunicative; we see them once a week, on rent day, and we have had zero communication regarding the refurbishment works. “All of the traders are


SERVING THE NATION’S TRADERS SINCE 1922 JUNE 9 - 22, 2017 No. 4902 70p City promotes its markets

Market traders are known for providing friendly service and a shopping experience that is very different from the High Street, and a city in West Yorkshire has recently launched a campaign to promote the fact. Bradford is blessed with a number of markets including the Oastler Shopping Centre, Kirkgate Market and Keighley Market Hall, as well as outdoor markets in Shipley and Saltaire and a successful wholesale market. Now a new campaign – the

first of its kind within Bradford Council’s markets service – has been launched to inform people of the many benefits of market shopping. The Council has teamed

up with the University of Bradford’s Digital Media Working Academy to launch a campaign which is aimed at raising the profile of the district’s markets, using digital and social media to highlight the advantages and benefits they bring. Having taken inspiration

from the World War Two ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign, market traders have been actively involved in the bid to encourage more people to support the local, friendly and knowledgeable service they offer. The campaign, which is

due to run for a year, was launched on the same day as the national Love Your Local Market fortnight in May. Khansa Tufail, Bradford Council’s markets, promotions and projects officer, told local media: “It is David and Goliath; we want to attract people to

these small businesses, many who have been in Bradford for many years and have such a lot of expertise. “The markets have so

much to offer and are part of Bradford’s heritage.” Making the most of social

media, the campaign uses video footage from the market showing traders talk about their own journey in becoming a market trader, the advantages of shopping at the market and the future of markets in Bradford. Other social platforms will

also be used to link back to a main Facebook page. Traders are backing the

initiative, hoping that it will increase awareness of the markets and result in an increase in footfall and trade. Butcher John Smith, who

has a business in the Oastler Centre, told local media: “This is still a thriving market but we have struggled, especially since Morrison’s closed. We cannot manage without the public. “I myself have been here for

55 years. I hope the campaign will help bring more people to the market. As soon as you walk into the market, you save money.” The Second World War

poster theme is being used as a template, with images of real traders in the Oastler Centre superimposed on top to deliver key messages such as: ‘Your Markets Need You’, ‘We Can Do It’, ‘Deserve Local Food’ and ‘Shop for Victory.’ The second phase of

the promotion will focus on Instagram, using local photographers, while phase

Bradford’s Oastler Shopping Centre.

three, due to take place in autumn, will see the launch of Market TV on Youtube.

Reaching out

“The markets are reaching out to the public for support,” explained Khansa Tufail, “highlighting the importance of shopping locally for the welfare of their community, their local economy, employment and entrepreneurship. “Facebook has shifted from teenagers to parents and more mature adults, and we want to alert them.” The campaign is focusing

on what market shopping really stands for: local, friendly service, spending money that will benefit the local economy, and a departure

from “barcodes, packaging and faceless shopping experiences”. Chris Holmes, of Stickey’s

Honey, said: “I don’t want to take my products to London necessarily, it’s important for me. I’m a beekeeper in Yorkshire and I’m quite happy to sell all my honey in Yorkshire. There are five million customers within 40 miles of here.” Head of the Digital Media Working Academy, Simon Couth, told local media: “The Working Academy provides a unique opportunity for undergraduates and recent graduates to gain experience of working on a properly commissioned digital project. “We love what the Bradford

Borough Market attack

At around 10pm on Saturday June 3 a terrorist attack took place on London Bridge and at nearby Borough Market. A van drove into pedestrians

on the bridge before three men got out and began attacking people at random with knives.

ISSN 2057–6781 The three men, wearing

what transpired to be fake suicide vests, then ran down to Borough Market, entering the many pubs and restaurants in the area to stab as many people as possible. Seven people died and

almost 50 were injured as a result of the horrific attack. This area of Southwark is named for Borough Market itself, a wholesale and retail food market and one of the largest and oldest food

markets in London. Speaking soon after the

attack, Chair of Borough Market trustees, Donald Hyslop, said in a statement: “We are deeply shocked by the events that took place around Borough Market last night. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this senseless act. “Borough Market is in the

heart of a strong, diverse and creative community, a community that supports each

other and will pull together to show solidarity in the face of this callous attack. “We would like to thank the

emergency services for their bravery and quick response. We continue to work with the Metropolitan police with their investigations and the Market and surrounding area remains closed at this time.” At the time of going to

press we had been unable to confirm when the market would reopen.

Opening Times: The Market Hall

Monday to Saturday, 8am to 5pm. Stall opening times vary. Wilko

Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm. Sunday, 10.30am to 4.30pm. T.K. Maxx

Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm. Sunday, 11am to 5pm. (Times subject to change).

Markets team is trying to achieve in promoting the traders and what they offer. “They want to attract new shoppers and we hope that this campaign will help them to reach some different audiences. Our students involved in the filming have become regular shoppers.”

Trader under investigation for displaying racist flags

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Sgt Pepper pop-up emporium in Liverpool

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Vote of confidence

Market traders in a North York- shire town have expressed their gratitude to residents and customers for their support. The message comes after

a strong vote of confidence from locals and visitors alike

ISSN 2057–6781

to keep Pickering’s Monday market in Market Place, rejecting a proposal to move it to the town’s Ropery car park. Stallholder Joanne Dawson

told local media: “I just want to publicly thank all the customers and shop holders – they’ve given us a lot of support.” Overall 81 percent of

those who responded to the consultation were in favour of

keeping the market in Market Place, including 100 percent of traders asked. The market recently moved

back to Market Place after a brief stint in the Ropery during roadworks. Although Ms Dawson admitted she hasn’t had any confirmation that the matter is settled, she said: “At the moment it’s looking like it’s in our favour.”

aware of the fact that it is vital to present ourselves professionally and that customers will only come if we have goods worth buying – we are running businesses. “The market management

team do not feel that their role is to help develop footfall to the West End and the market.

As far as they are concerned they are administrative management only. That doesn’t work.” The trader compared Plymouth’s market to the successful Bury Market in Greater Manchester , describing the management team at Bury as “proactive” and accusing Plymouth bosses of failing to entice customers.


Although occupancy levels at the market are currently 83 percent compared to 92 percent at this time last year, a spokesperson on behalf of the market and the council said this was due to a number of personal trader issues, including retirements. They added that five stalls

and three shops have been let to new traders since building work on the facility commenced. The spokesperson told

local media: “This is a £3.2 million refurbishment project which will secure the future of the market as an anchor shopping destination for the city for many years to come, and work on this scale was always going to take time and cause some disruption. “We expected that the

works may have some impact on footfall and the situation has not been helped by current development works in Market Way, which has resulted in the road being closed.” In response to the trader’s

claim that stallholders have not been kept informed, the spokesperson said everyone was initially briefed in 2016

No. 4899

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Launch of register of approved wholesalers

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Hartlepool trader’s ingenious parking plan

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Plymouth City Market, where a £3.5m refurbishment is taking place (Photo: Murray Stanley)

when the market announced the contract had been awarded to Ryearch. “We notified that this would be a 12 month project and there would be some disruption,” the spokesperson continued. “We have made every

effort to keep disturbance to a minimum at all times, regularly liaising with Ryearch and agreed to avoid building works through December – the market’s busiest time – and carry out the majority of the work out of hours. “The market management

has made huge efforts to keep traders up to date, with monthly newsletters about

the project’s progress.” The spokesperson also pointed out that extra efforts had been made to ensure shoppers were aware that the market was still open while the work was taking place: “To try to keep visitors coming through the doors we have had numerous articles in the local media, not just about the works but new trader profiles. This has been reiterated on social media. “The scaffolding has

been dressed with banners and signs, internally and externally, to promote the fact the market is open as usual.” “The market management

meet with the chairman of the traders association on a regular basis and is not aware of any concerns that have not been addressed by either PCC or Ryearch.” The current renovation

work has been funded by Plymouth City Council in an attempt to make the most of a locally iconic example of Plymouth’s post war architecture. The council has already

invested £80,000 in upgrading dated toilet facilities at the market. City planning chiefs gave

the ambitious market project the go ahead in April last year after a consultation process with market users. The huge revamp will

cost £3.5million altogether and will see the art deco building entirely redecorated, a special waterproof coating applied to the roof and flat parts of the roof structure fitted with solar panelling.

New era for

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