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Coventry Market Celebrates Its 40th Birthday

Coventry Retail Market officially celebrated its 40th birthday today.

The Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Maggie Rosher, cut a massive celebration cake and unveiled a plaque in the centre of the circular market to commemorate the occasion.

Twenty-two of the original businesses are still trading, along with more than 150 other stalls, and they are in the midst of a month of special events to mark the anniversary.

Market Supervisor Mick Finnegan said:

"This is really the highlight of our celebrations and we are very honoured to have the mayor here.

"The celebrations have been a year in the planning and we have had a great response. We have produced a special booklet for the businesses that have prospered since the opening.

"There are still people working here who were in the market on its very first day, which is quite incredible. It is a very special day for them and everyone else connected with the market.

"The market was revolutionary when it was opened by Princess Alexandra and is still a centre of life in Coventry. There are very few everyday things you can’t buy in the market.

"We have 176 businesses in the market and that number is rising, which is good news for everyone in the city. It shows that despite out of town development and supermarket sites there is still a thriving place for a well-run and diverse market, which is what we have here."

The cake – a replica of the market – was supplied by Maria’s bakery business in the market.

Jerome Smith, who works for the family firm, said:

"The cake looks superb. It was baked by Stoke Bakery, and is the biggest they have worked on in 26 years in business.

"It is a sponge cake which is 30 inches in diameter and it took 10 hours to decorate. It shows the clock tower and all the cars on the roof car park. It seems a shame to cut it!"

The market was seen as an architectural wonder when it was opened. It is built of over 10,000 cubic yards of concrete weighing 18,000 tons, together with 630 tons of high tensile reinforcement.

The basement is 16 to 20 feet below the original ground level and 282 reinforced concrete piles were driven up to 20 feet deep. The circular portion is in 13 segments and the dome canopy is 37ft in diameter.

The market is 276 feet in diameter and can accommodate 200 cars on the roof and the ramp to the car park is heated to counter frost and snow.

Among the other 40th celebrations are a day of dance on 7 November and a festival of light on 11 November.

The Market is also running a voucher competition for shoppers to win a Peugeot 306 Diesel Turbo.

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM