New chapter opens in Corn Exchange's long history
BIDDERS will get more than they have bargained for on Thursday, November, 27, when the new-look auction room in Market Rasen's historic Corn Exchange swings into action for the first time since refurbishment.
The old Corn Exchange on Queen Street, now owned by auctioneers Perkins, George Mawer & Co, has had an impressive refurbishment, with a new mezzanine floor of two offices now overhanging the grand auction room and redecoration for the first time in decades
Being a listed building with Grade 2 status, the changes have had to be done with great sympathy - and are completed so successfully that they fit in perfectly with what went before and actually enhance the saleroom.
Bidders will see for themselves on Thursday at the first major public auction to be held since the work was completed, and again at the traditional poultry auction to be held on December 22.
Nick Sharp, land agent with Perkins, George Mawer & Co, said that whilst the historic fabric had been preserved - including the floor marked out with a badminton court being lifted and re-instated - it had all been improved.
"We were short of space upstairs and needed to find somewhere and some way to expand but because the building's listed we had limited scope. This way we have made use of the wasted space high up in the auction room, finding space within our own four walls and I think it's the best possible solution.
"Everybody coming here remembers it as a dance venue, where they came to with friends, met their partners, celebrated major events and played badminton. The integrity of all that has been preserved," said Mr Sharp.
The Corn Exchange dates back to 1854 - two years longer than the Rasen Mail - when a number of enterprising tradesmen clubbed together and bought up two old houses and shops in Queen Street with the intention of building an exchange on the site.
Perhaps the seed was sown by Brigg opening an exchange in 1850, but it was clear that traders were finding it quite inconvenient to be doing all their business in the open air. The vicar of Market Rasen offered the west side of the Market Place for the development, but this would have needed the permission of the Bishop of Lincoln and Lord Chancellor.
The building was designed by FH Goddard and finished by the end of 1854. By then a competing company decided to take up the vicar on his offer, and built a rival Corn Exchange which later became the town hall and cinema.
In 1856 the two exchange companies merged and moved into the Queen Street building, which had made a greater profit, 143 in 1855.
By November 1856 the other building was opened as Market Hall for the sale of butter, lard, eggs, poultry, pigeons, cheese and fruit. The building survived until 1960 when it was demolished and replaced by the Co-op to become what is now Priceless and the Square Cafe Bar
Meanwhile the Corn Exchange was struggling to balance the books. Receipts in 1858 were expected to exceed expenditure, but the Corn Exchange and Market Company was still 1,000 in debt. By 1859 they had pulled out of the red, but all surplus was spent on roof repairs to the tune of 126.
In the late 19th century and early 20th, the building was owned by John William Watson, and he still had an office there in 1912.
In 1934 the Corn Exchange is recorded as being sold for 750 to a Mr C Holland of Lea House, Bawtry.
Eventually the Corn Exchange became another function hall and hosted many important events, such as the VE day celebrations. There was even a badminton court in the auction room.
Since then it has been bought by George Mawer & Co, the property company which has since become Perkins, George Mawer & Co, and remains at the heart of the community, bustling on bust auction days as expected at tomorrow’s antiques, furniture and collectors items sale.
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Weather for Market Rasen
Friday 24 May 2013
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