The festive season returns to the heart of Manchester as the award winning Christmas markets take over the city for five weeks.
And while the 350 strong aligned chalets entice the passing market goers to their decorative stands, the grand prize to occupy the bustling pavement on Albert Square is not what all stall owners have in mind.
The Christmas markets, one of the largest in the UK, inhabit some of Manchester’s most distinctive streets. They notably run from Exchange Square through to St Anne’s Square, wind around King Street, Brazennose Street and up in to Albert Square.
— TheNakedCandleCo (@nakedcandleco) November 23, 2016
Jake Polhill, who runs The Naked Candle Co stall situated on Brazennose Street is making his debut appearance at the markets. He kindly explains how the application process works.
Polhill: “You get an application form, Albert Square is not on the application form as you have to have been trading with them for a few years, but there are different streets which all have different prices, Brazennose Street being one of the cheapest.”
“It’s my first time” Polhill added, “I thought I would see how it goes, I hopefully will not have a bad time where I am but I will learn from other traders where is better”.
Polhill finally added a valuable point: “Albert Square gets really busy but potentially to busy, so a lot of people have said they don’t have time to look at the stalls in Albert Square because it’s that busy they pushed along. Whereas down this street its busy, but busy enough that they can actually stop and look the products”.
Far from Brazennose Street sits Exchange Square, surrounded by some of Manchester’s most popular attractions such as the Football Museum, Printworks, various food establishments and Manchester’s Arndale Shopping Centre.
Andrew Pieri, a self-taught contemporary artist from Carlisle is no stranger to the Manchester Christmas markets. Pieri used to have a stall in St Anne’s Square and after taking some time out from the markets he returns with his Contemporary Art stall situated in Exchange Square.
Pieri tells: “Exchange Square was not my first choice; my first choice was more towards St Anne’s Square but because I haven’t been for several years you are kind of put to the back of the queue I think”.
When asked about his decision to set up along Exchange Square he added: “I believe this area in the square can be just as busy as any of the other market streets and squares. People who come to visit the markets tend to walk all the way along each area so the customers are always there”.
Asked if Pieri would ever debate having his stall up on Albert Square he replied: “For me no, as you can see I am the sole runner of this stall, and the closing times up on Albert Square are much later than those of the streets. I get quite tired by the time its ready to close up so I am much happier to be here”.
By Alexander Costello