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Iconic Gothic Welsh Market Hall Revamped with AHF Support

13 January 2021

Located in west Wales, the Markethall is located in Cardigan, serving the community since 1860 as one of the region’s finest buildings. The pre-eminent Victorian art critic, John Ruskin, was a strong advocate of architecture in the modern gothic style, and the now Grade II* listed Markethall is said to be among the first buildings to reflect this.

From vintage clothing and dressmaking to artisan pasta and pastries, the Markethall provides local residents and business owners with a place to socialise, to buy and sell predominantly locally made goods and an opportunity to appreciate an architectural marvel. Up to 50 stallholders occupy the market, which provides them with an accessible site to develop and manage their businesses.

The building is in a poor state of repair and lacks the modern access that the space needs and deserves. For some time, a scheme has been in the course of development to address and rectify these issues. The AHF is assisting with the continuation of this important project by providing cashflow finance during the delivery phase of modernisation and restoration through a loan of £200,000 from our Heritage Impact Fund (HIF). Among other elements, these improvements will support the development of the Upper Market area into a food court celebrating Welsh produce and culinary offerings, improve trading facilities, introduce incubator units and ‘pop up spaces’ and allow for increased footfall throughout.

In line with the HIF’s mandate to support organisations creating community benefit in historically significant spaces, the Markethall and its complementary activities contribute to tackling poverty and economic inactivity by providing flexible employment and business opportunities in a pocket of relative deprivation. The Markethall is now owned and managed by the Cardigan Building Preservation Trust, a registered charity having its origins in a town council initiative in 1996 focused on community regeneration in Cardigan.

This partnership exemplifies the breadth of the AHF’s work. We have previously funded various phases of this scheme, including a Feasibility and Options Appraisal and subsequent project development. We also supported Cardigan Building Preservation Trust in their restoration of the adjacent Guildhall building from 2007.

Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, says:

I am really pleased to see Cadw support the Architectural Heritage Fund as they help Cardigan Building Preservation Trust breathe new life into a historic, landmark building which remains very much a focal point of the town.

Howard Williams from Cardigan Building Preservation Trust says:

The Trustees are hugely grateful to the AHF for their consistent, practical and long-term support of our project to restore and modernise a heritage building of major social and economic importance to the people of Cardigan and the surrounding district.   

Commenting on the partnership, Matthew Mckeague, CEO of the AHF, said:

The Market Hall is an excellent example of AHF’s support for successive stages of projects, including through the provision of a social investment loan. The Market Hall will be a boost for the local economy at a vital time as we recover from COVID-19 and will sustain and enhance this unique piece of Cardigan’s heritage

Photo Credits

Cardigan Building Preservation Trust

Editor’s notes

1)            The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976 to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas. We are the only specialist heritage social investor in the UK. We provide advice, development grants and loans.

2)            For media enquiries please contact Oliver Brodrick-Ward, on 020 79250199 /


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