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Gravesend Borough Market to celebrate 750th anniversary of being chartered with week of half term activities

By Ed McConnell

To mark the 750th anniversary of Gravesend's market a week of activities will kick off on Sunday.

The market is one of the oldest in the country and its rich history will form the basis for a number of events over Half Term.

On Sunday from 10am to 4pm vintage vehicles will be on display in the market square behind Borough Market, off High Street. There will also be car-themed children's activities between 11am and 3pm.

Gravesend Borough Market, the entrance to the market off High Street. Picture: Gravesham council
Gravesend Borough Market, the entrance to the market off High Street. Picture: Gravesham council

On Shrove Tuesday a pancake race will be held from 12pm to 1pm followed by a flipping contest by the market's Queen Victoria statue at 2pm.

On Valentine's Day (Wednesday) from 11am to 1pm you can learn about the market's traditions before heart-themed children's activities take over the venue from 1pm to 3pm.

Thursday will see children taught about the medieval period by the market's very own knight. The session runs from 10.30am to 3pm.

On Friday from 11am to 3pm there will be a chance to share your memories of the market with traders of the past, while a final children's session themed around the river will run from 1pm to 3pm.

Finally, on Sunday, February 18, an hour-long guided walk of Gravesend will start at 11am. To book phone 01474 337 600 or email info@visitgravesend.co.uk

All children's events are open to those under 11 with a responsible adult.

Typical Saturday morning scene in Gravesend market in 1959
Typical Saturday morning scene in Gravesend market in 1959

Borough Market opened in 1268 when Henry III granted a charter to Robert de la Parrock of Parrock Manor.

From 1199 to 1516 royal grants of markets and fairs were generally recorded in charters, which were in the main written in Latin.

Subsequent charters were grant by Edward III in 1366 and in 1568 during the reign of Elizabeth I.

The first Gravesend market build in 1898.
The first Gravesend market build in 1898.

Transferred to the ownership of Gravesend’s Corporation in 1694 the market has continued to change over the centuries with the market building that we have today being built towards the end of the 19th century and formally opened on 18 December 1898.

More recently, the market building underwent major restoration and is re-establishing itself again as a place to buy and sell goods in the heart of the town.

The market’s 750th anniversary coincides with the February school half-term and a programme of activities has been arranged to commemorate this date.

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