St Marys Market, St Helens
Fruit Boules was a great way to engage both children and adults in something playful and fun, which had a serious side too. We used a grapefruit as a 'jack' ball and oranges as 'boules', trying to see who could get the closest to the jack. Later, as part of the one-day Tontine scheme the children rolled oranges to knock off numbers until we finally had a winner - who won a box of fruit and veg!
Working with great support from Claire Weetman and Jacqui Priestley we had around 50 attendees of all ages who joined together to create our own fruit & veg market stall.
DISCUSSION: We heard memories of the market place and other trading spaces in St Helens, market history, trading/selling/buying, healthy eating/grow your own, financial schemes and socially engaged art practice.
A Tontine is an investment plan for raising capital, named after Lorenzo di Tonti, who it is suggested first created a Tontine around 1653 in France.
Tontine Street was one of the first key streets laid out in St Helens and the Tontine Market seems to have been the earliest formal market trading space in the town (later joined by St Mary's Market, which still remains).
Between 1970 and 1987 the Tontine Market had 9 fruit and veg stalls, but by 1982 there was only one left, which finally closed in 1986.
LINK: Project Images