Going to Market
Tue, 5 October 2021 - Sat, 19 February 2022.
An exhibition of photographs of livestock markets, 1970s-present, by Settle-based photographer John Bentley. John focuses on the human participants and traces the paths from long-gone markets right up to present day auction marts.
In 1963 there were 677 livestock markets in England and Wales, but today there are only around 80 remaining. The images from the 1970s and 80s show markets that are long gone.
In the past, a day at the market usually meant just that – a whole day out. Nowadays many markets have moved from the old town centre sites to large, specialised locations, which means only limited interaction with the local town. In addition, with time at a premium and farmers now bringing their animals to market in a trailer, the visit to market may be relatively brief.
Nevertheless, John’s images convey the ongoing community aspects of markets, as an important meeting place for farmers to buy and sell stock, discuss the state of their industry and to have a general gossip.