Commercial Heritage as Democratic Action: Historicizing the ‘Save the Market’ Campaigns in Bradford and Chesterfield, 1969–76

Commercial Heritage as Democratic Action: Historicizing the ‘Save the Market’ Campaigns in... Abstract This article argues that the traditional retail market—a ubiquitous commercial feature of British towns and cities—produced a particular strand of heritage politics in late 1960s and early 1970s Britain. In recovering the activists involved in two campaigns to ‘save the market’ from redevelopment—one unsuccessful campaign in Bradford and one successful campaign in Chesterfield—I make the case for thinking through local urban heritage movements in comparative terms, focusing on how place-based citizenship collided with a nascent, national ‘anti-development’ mood in the early 1970s. The campaigns in Bradford and Chesterfield defended the transhistorical ‘publicness’ of the retail market—its spatial centrality, its collective ownership, and its relief of town or city rates—as a critique of contemporary, undemocratic privatization of communal space. Combining the archives of civic amenity, community action, and heritage societies with subjective attitudes towards preservation and redevelopment found in local ‘letters to the editor’ pages, this article reads the market as one physical nexus where local ‘politics’ and ‘publics’ collided and permutated in early 1970s provincial Britain. This focus on the lived heritage of socio-economic place has bearing on public history, the history of urban social movements, and architecture and planning historiography. Introduction In March 1973, Jennifer Jenkins penned a letter to the Derbyshire Times (DT). Jenkins wrote not as the wife of one of Britain’s most recognizable politicians,1 but as the Chairman of the Consumers’ Association, the Secretary of the Ancient Monuments Society, and a Chesterfield native (currently living in exile in London). Jenkins was appalled at the recent news that Chesterfield’s historic market place, granted a market charter in the thirteenth century, would soon give way to an enclosed shopping precinct. She reminded the readers of the DT: Chesterfield is not merely a shopping magnet for the surrounding district, but more importantly, a historic town dating from Roman times. Its residents have always had a particularly vital and active local life… it is clear that the 32,000 signatories of the petition [to Save the Market] feel a similar sense of shock at the prospect of their town’s centre becoming another developer’s stereotype.2 Jenkins’ letter elucidated the stakes of the proposed redevelopment of Chesterfield Market: the privatization of a nominally public space, the severing of historical continuities, and the undercutting of participatory democracy in the name of development. Chesterfield was not alone in this fight. Elsewhere in her letter, Jenkins referenced the battles to save Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus as proof that ‘people do not want their familiar centres to be torn down and replaced by the standard developments being built everywhere from Central Africa to North America’. For developers with increasingly international property portfolios, the familiarity of everyday, traditional shopping was an untenable emotional tie to otherwise valuable town or city centre land. But for citizens like Jenkins, local shopping practices were what infused otherwise homogenous urban spaces with deeply felt value. This article spotlights local heritage campaigns to ‘Save the Market’ in two communities left outside of a capital city or national paradigm: Jennifer Jenkins’ market town of Chesterfield and the medium-sized industrial city of Bradford. The main actors in each campaign—civic amenity and heritage societies, ratepayer associations, chambers of trade and commerce, and women’s groups—defended the retail market as ‘public’ in a fiscal, spatial, and historical sense. This shopping institution was kept up by local rates, its revenue relieved the rates of the town and city residents, it occupied public space in the heart of the town or the city, and its provenance in medieval charters made it a central feature of ‘public’ history. The fact that markets traversed these registers made them vehicles for intersectional—yet often factional—amenity and heritage activism. The associational networks of this activism form this article’s source base: I draw from correspondence, pamphlets, and expert testimony held in the archives of Bradford’s Kirkgate Market Action Committee (KMAC) and the Chesterfield Civic and Heritage Societies, as well as samples from the large volume of local ‘letters to the editor’ that weighed in on market redevelopment in both places. While political scientists and media scholars have rightly qualified letters to the editor as a self-selective and mediated forum controlled by ‘gatekeepers of the public sphere’, they are nevertheless a vital resource for historians interested in studying how political debate coalesced around narratives of the affective self and collective action (neatly exemplified in the aforementioned Jennifer Jenkins statement).3 In balancing the organizational aspects of heritage activism with lived, personal attitudes towards preservation and redevelopment voiced by residents, this article transforms the market into one physical nexus, wherein local politics and publics collided and permutated in early 1970s provincial Britain. The dual economic and political ‘crises’ of the 1970s have received academic revision over the past 5 years. Two edited volumes have focused our attention to the rhetorical meaning of ‘crisis’ as a narrative descriptor in the Thatcherite project and to the diverse cultural potentials of the 1970s, respectively.4 The goal of this article, however, is more in line with recent analyses of ‘popular individualism’ in the 1970s, described as the ascendency of the ‘ordinary’ as a mode of political testimony and popular self-making.5 I argue that ‘ordinariness’ has a particular use for histories of political culture in 1970s provincial Britain. The middle-class campaigns and community actions groups that flourished in the decade were suspicious of the top-down decision-making, whether it emanated from their city halls or from Westminster. These activists turned, instead, to the networks forged in everyday spaces like neighbourhoods, educational establishments, and local professional organizations to forward political claims that were salient not only to their day-to-day material interests but also to the coherence of their particular lived environments.6 Because these networks and their causes could be so varied and fleeting, their lasting importance is often misunderstood or written out of metropolitan-focused or national stories. Thinking comparatively about their political genealogies and ultimate goals adds depth and contingency to over-arching histories of protest and crisis in the 1970s. I argue that citizens came to community action through different channels and thought strategically and instrumentally about the creative ways in which they might regain control over the ordinary spaces and institutions that mattered in their lives. Resisting demolition and redevelopment decisions was one way these citizen groups put their critiques into action. Planners, preservationists, and historians of the built environment pinpoint this moment in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a ‘sea change’ in the British conservation movement, when the tide shifted from the unquestioned good of comprehensive planning and modernist urban renewal to the economic and cultural worth of preservation.7 The passage of the Civic Amenities Act (1967) and new Town and Country Planning Acts (1968/1969) broadened the power of local authorities to include more public participation in the planning process, introduced ‘spot listing’ to save historic sites from demolition, and enabled the designation of ‘conservation areas’ rather than single building listings. However, the changing mechanics of listing are only part of the story of this era’s heritage movement. Planning scholar Peter Larkham has argued that the post-1967 definition of ‘character’ in conservation areas made objective claims to preservation illusive.8 The southern and southeastern English focus of many civic and heritage societies meant that ‘character’ was often defined in terms of rural or village charm, not the industrial or semi-industrial quality that defined communities like Chesterfield or Bradford. These regional foci of heritage societies, the typology of ‘historic’ centres disseminated by the Ministry for Housing and Local Government,9 and the lingering sense that conservation was a socially elitist practice10 compounded to make ‘character’ an attribute imbued with class and taste connotations. In many ways, the ‘heritage industry’ debate in the later 1970s and 1980s only reinforced this elitist or regionally circumscribed sense of preserving and interpreting the past. Starting with the landmark Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition ‘Destruction of the Country House’ (1974–5), scholars have pointed to a decade when national heritage became tightly allied with the Tory Party and a conservative view of history.11 While this work has been critical to historians’ understandings of why the British past is a cultural touchstone of Thatcherism, by focusing on ‘the nation’ as a constructed, consumable product of the political right, this vision of heritage falls into the trap set by the growth of preservation legislation in the 1960s: it limits the political and scalar potentials of a shared past to a programme of metropolitan elites, rather than a participatory movement across spaces of civil society. In Theatres of Memory (1994), Raphael Samuel highlighted the folly of such a circumscription, calling on historians and cultural critics to see heritage as perpetually ‘metamorphosing’, open to different political modes and historical claims.12 While visionary in its social and political imaginings of heritage, Samuel’s implicit London focus largely reinscribes heritage’s geographic boundaries: the Leftist, ‘middle-class radicals’ who campaigned to save Covent Garden, resurrect the Globe, or stop the London Ringways, still spoke from a metropolitan place-position. Their associational culture does not align neatly with provincial town and city activism, which often defined its preservationist claims in opposition to the spectre of ‘London’ and its images of materialist property developers and an out-of-touch central government. In its focus on regional actors, my work is indebted to scholarship emerging from histories of the built environment and critical geography that foreground the complex local, national, and international political coalitions that emerged from heritage and preservation campaigns in 1960s and 1970s.13 A new generation of scholars has brought the breadth of Samuel’s ‘heritage as politics’ argument to bear on diverse urban and town environments, situating preservation campaigns as one incubator of ‘active citizenship’ in post-war associational life.14 This article makes the case for thinking comparatively across these particularities of place and the publics that claimed their ownership in heritage and civic activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s. By using a ubiquitous feature in the economic and cultural fabric of provincial Britain—the retail market—I demonstrate how differences in strategy and in timing across the Bradford and Chesterfield coalitions influenced the relative success of preservation campaigns. Chesterfield’s and Bradford’s encounters with urban redevelopment have attracted limited scholarly attention from planning experts and social historians. Chesterfield’s redevelopment saga was a brief case study in Colin Amery and Dan Cruickshank’s The Rape of Britain (1975), and the town’s contentious relationship with modernization continued to attract attention from critical planning and geography scholars through the 1980s.15 In Bradford, the historiography is more recent, but also more limited. Simon Gunn’s study of Bradford’s modernist redevelopment was an important corrective to post-war urban history that tended to centre on London and the new towns, as well as a vital synergy of architectural and social history.16 Yet Gunn’s end point with modernism’s ‘fall’ in the late 1960s and early 1970s does not account for the contentious battle to save Victorian Bradford in the mid-1970s. The scholarship on both Chesterfield and Bradford captures the broad terms of the debates in both communities, but the focus on comprehensive planning and urban renewal as ideological programmes has tended to efface the vibrant and participatory coalitions that emerged at the intersection of oppositional politics and heritage enthusiasm. This article follows the volatile fortunes of the ‘Save the Market’ campaigns in Bradford and Chesterfield, tracing them from initial formation to ultimate significance. Between 1969 and 1976, legislative changes around listing and planning participation, local government scandals, and national economic fortunes structured the fates of the Chesterfield and Bradford campaigns. The first section will lay out this timeline and its key actors. The second section will focus on three thematic claims shared by Bradford and Chesterfield activists. The first of these claims was fiscal: the retail market relieved rates and was a small business hub; therefore, its preservation was integral to the local economy. The second was political: the retail market was publicly owned asset, making its potential sale and redevelopment a flashpoint of ratepayer activism against undemocratic local government. The final was preservationist: markets incubated a vision of provincial heritage in the Midlands and West Yorkshire that was adjacent to, rather than emblematic of, the more visible industrial manufacturing heritage of these locales. The heritage campaigns in Bradford and Chesterfield inflected the market’s transhistorical qualities to different degrees, each grappling with the market as both a material and immaterial institution worth preserving. The third section will assess both the systemic and tactical reasons for Bradford and Chesterfield markets’ divergent fortunes. The final section reads the preservationist proposal for Chesterfield’s market hall and market place, developed by the architectural firm Feilden + Mawson, focusing specifically on how their survey process and socio-economic rationale cultivated the market place’s inherent ‘publicness’. After the Feilden + Mawson designed town centre opened in 1981, Chesterfield Civic Society chairman Michael Brayshaw warned that there was a ‘real danger of the story of the fight to save Chesterfield Market Place being rewritten’ as the triumph of architects and politicians, rather than activists and amenity societies.17 Brayshaw’s comments speak to a lived, emotional divide between ‘the people’ and ‘the professionals’ within anti-development urban social movements; this article will explore how this dichotomy played out in the defence of urban retail space, and how the lived heritage of public commerce fuelled preservation campaigns in late 1960s and early 1970s provincial England. At Risk: Bradford and Chesterfield’s Market Areas in the Mid-Twentieth Century Bradford’s Kirkgate Market, built in 1878, had been the subject of preservation versus redevelopment debates since the inter-war period. The Victorian hall was first slated for demolition in 1936, when estate agent Sam Chippendale ‘came within one vote’ of developing the site. This initial setback proved to be merely a blip in the otherwise successful career of Chippendale and his firm, Arndale. In 1969—after a series of soap-operatic twists and turns involving notorious architect and local government briber John Poulson18—Bradford Council granted Town and City Properties (a subsidiary of Arndale) the contract for market redevelopment. Arndale’s proposed complex promised multiple levels of shopping, dining, exhibition space, a hotel, and over 400 parking spaces. The new market would be built beside the old Victorian hall, which would be pulled down after construction ended to ensure uninterrupted market trading.19 Bradford’s market trading and wider business community were the first to oppose the proposed redevelopment. Archie Edgar, Secretary of the Bradford Market Tenants’ Association, argued that Kirkgate’s independent businesses benefited council and citizen alike: the £60,000 annual revenue generated by the market subsidized the local government’s ‘follies’, while cafés, bargain shopping, and personable stall holders were an ‘essential element in the life and character of the city’.20 The local Chamber of Trade similarly opposed the Council’s myopic dealings. As large-ownership outfits consolidated control over Bradford’s Central Business District and supermarkets capitalized on rising car ownership in the suburbs, independent retailers in the city centre were desperate to maintain the magnetic shopping draw provided by Kirkgate.21 Finally, the newly organized Bradford Ratepayers’ Association represented residents’ interests in the argument for the market as a local economic engine. They chastised the Council for ‘dispensing with an asset’ owned by the taxpayers and vital to funding public services, all in exchange for a private, £3.7 million development.22 In the fall of 1970, this language was put into action when the Ratepayers’ Association called for a public inquiry into the Kirkgate Market redevelopment proposal, specifically the Council’s compulsory purchase order for a number of businesses within the Kirkgate clearance area.23 Although public opinion—marked by a 30,000-strong petition—was on the side of these citizen-activists, the legal chances were stacked against the objectors from the start. Planning permission had been granted to Arndale in May 1970, and market tenants and their business and resident allies were not the owners of the land up for compulsory purchase.24 The government inspector and the Secretary of State for the Environment recommended compulsory purchase for Kirkgate in December 1970, all but ensuring that the site would be redeveloped along the lines of the Bradford Council-Arndale plan. In many ways, the 1960s fate of Chesterfield’s market ran parallel to that of Bradford’s. In 1962, the Council designated the market place as a Central Development Area (CDA), envisioning the open trading area and the 1857-built Victorian hall to be replaced with an enclosed building.25 By the time Chesterfield Council partnered with Hammerson property developers on the CDA contract in 1967, 5 years of delay had further run down the area and reinforced its ‘obsolescence’ and ‘blight’. With a group of Labour modernizers at the helm, Chesterfield Council and Hammerson released their final CDA scheme to the city in the fall of 1972: a 5-acre megastructure of two shopping malls and 630 parking places that shrunk Chesterfield’s open market to a circumscribed corner of the precinct-dominated centre.26 The defenders of Chesterfield Market benefited from two crucial government initiatives unavailable to their Bradford predecessors. One was a new Town and Amenity Bill, which closed loopholes that allowed listed and unlisted buildings to be demolished on local authorities’ watches (as was the case in Bradford). This national initiative was echoed on the international stage: in 1972, the European Architectural Heritage Year (EAHY) began as a 3 year-year process of ‘focusing the attention on the need to preserve and enhance architectural heritage’.27 Chesterfield Civic Society saw an ‘amusing piece of double think’ in Chesterfield’s concurrent EAHY activity and their dogged desire to redevelop the market place, while letters to a Hammerson executive and to Prince Philip (both members of the EAHY council, the latter as its UK president) urged a reappraisal of the market’s architectural and historic heritage.28 As Chesterfield’s amenity societies and professional associations shored up public support for their market campaign, Bradford’s protesters limped towards the end of their fight. As the new Bradford Arndale shopping centre neared completion in May 1973, Secretary of State for the Environment Geoffrey Ripon made a snap decision to spot list the doomed Kirkgate Market.29 This renewed pressure from the KMAC, a group made up of college and university lecturers, heritage enthusiasts, and local councillors. However, this flurry of action proved to be Kirkgate’s dying gasp rather than the start of a new campaign: Bradford Council pressed ahead and set the market demolition order for November 1973.30 As Kirkgate demolition began, Chesterfield was fighting to stave off a similar fate. Yet both local and national events in April 1974 pushed the preservationist argument in a new direction. After Labour returned to national power in early 1974, the ratepayer refrain about over-investment was echoed by an unlikely source: Hammerson. Chancellor Denis Healey’s new budget introduced a steep hike in business rates and a new finance bill, prompting the property developers to declare it would be ‘imprudent, indeed irresponsible’ to invest in a large-scale project—estimated at £6 million by early 1974.31 In addition to this capital crunch at the top, there were corresponding financial concerns among Chesterfield’s citizens. Oil Crisis inflation, local government reorganization, and the expansion of council services had increased the rates disproportionately in the north of England.32 In the end, it was Chesterfield Market’s coherency of historic and picturesque buildings that proved to be its saving grace. In August, the Peacock Inn—a fifteenth-century inn on the south side of the market place—was spot listed after the Town and Country Amenity Bill came into law. Chesterfield Borough Council, under the new listing legislation, would need to start another inquiry process into the demolition of the Peacock. The saga dragged on until April 1975, when the delay of the project, the prospect of another battle with the town’s heritage and amenity societies, and a faltering national economy officially severed the relationship between Hammerson and the Council, ostensibly ending Chesterfield’s post-war pursuit of comprehensive development.33 The trajectory from market redevelopment reveal to either demolition (in the case of Bradford) or reprieve (in the case of Chesterfield) underscores the pace and polyvocality of planning legislation and politics in late 1960s and early 1970s Britain. The slightly later timing of the Chesterfield campaign undoubtedly played a role in the market’s reprieve, but it would be determinist and teleological to privilege planning and preservation chronologies over the interpersonal and intersectional networks that worked within and alongside these legislative developments. In both Bradford and Chesterfield, the historic and contemporary form and function of the retail market spurred activism from a diverse field of citizens and politicians. As the next section shows, delving deeper into the relationship between associational life and the particularities of the market as urban place shifts the focus of the preservation campaigns from final outcomes to the contingent nature of urban social movements. Asset Management: The Retail Market as Public Space Bradford’s and Chesterfield’s market tenants, small business owners, and shoppers opposed the respective market schemes for a host of reasons, but one of the most trenchant appeals in both locales was to the public purse. By the early 1970s, anti-development critics could point to high-profile city centre redevelopment in cities like Birmingham, Sheffield, and Blackburn, projects which some decried as ‘white elephants’ where only national stores could afford rents.34 The letters to the editor page in the DT became a sounding board for citizens across the country who relayed their own local markets’ histories as cautionary tales against overdevelopment. When open markets transformed into indoor shopping precincts, these letters claimed, the change not only created commercial voids in the centre but also pushed much-needed custom to other towns where character-filled—and affordable—open markets still existed.35 In the lived experience of these letter writers, a large town like Chesterfield only maintained its ‘edge’ over nearby centres in Sheffield, Barnsley, and Rotherham because of its increasingly unique open-air market.36 This fiscal argument linked the concerns of shoppers with the concerns of traders. In Bradford, for example, market tenants were unimpressed after touring Arndale-redeveloped markets in Nelson and Bolton, more certain than ever that Kirkgate was a Victorian hall worth preserving. Traders and shoppers shared a fundamental belief that a retail market was a low-cost, low-revenue form of shopping that was threatened by property developers’ concept of profit. Archie Edgar, President of the Kirkgate Market Tenants’ Association, championed the retail market’s irreplaceable value for a city like Bradford, where the prevailing low wage level meant that ‘the market style of shopping has more appeal for the less well-off’.37 These sentiments were echoed in Chesterfield’s defence. Allowing Hammerson to develop the market would also mean higher rents for market stallholders and trickle-down effects on their customers, often those working-class residents, who suffered from nearby industrial redundancies, or their wives, who had to work with smaller household budgets and higher market prices.38 At the heart of the disagreement between those who wished to modernize the market and those who wished to retain its present atmosphere was this question of real versus prospective shopping trends: Should retail planning attempt to pull back affluent customers who had strayed to larger shopping areas, or should it cater to those locals who depended on easy access to affordable everyday goods?39 The retail market—where the state had historically guaranteed quality goods at competitive prices—was thus the site where the financial concerns of the shopper and the small shopkeeper or market tenant collided. In its immediacy and its localness, the threat to both Bradford and Chesterfield market scaled down Britain’s ‘national’ crises over inflation and the potential limit to economic growth. The financial objections to the private–public development partnerships in Bradford and Chesterfield also stemmed from a deeper distrust of local government policy in the early 1970s. How could the market, an institution nominally owned by the ratepayers of Bradford, be entrusted to outside firms with no opportunity for debate? In Bradford, the group at the helm of this subterfuge was Development Committee, who had neither put the market issue to public debate nor allowed the press or public to be present when they agreed on the Arndale contract.40 Bradford Council’s previous dealings with John Poulson exacerbated this distrust of elected leaders; one Kirkgate supporter likened the controversy to Nixon’s Watergate and deemed historic buildings to be some of Poulson’s most visible victims.41 Kirkgate’s defenders played up the site’s collective ‘good’ against the financial and political machinations of a Council where ‘all shades of political opinion are deluded by the chimera of progress’.42 As the Kirkgate cause became a rallying cry against over-development, it created strange bedfellows in Bradford’s local government. Although the Tories had controlled Bradford Council since 1967, their tacit support of Labour-initiated development schemes raised the ire of populist, fiscally prudent Conservatives. Independent Conservative Jim Merrick opposed the fact that the press and public had not been party to the Development Committee’s decision in 1969, and ultimately faulted the Council for entering into such a high-cost scheme where Bradford’s assets would be redirected towards a private development company.43 In public, Merrick painted Bradford’s declinism in broader strokes, equating the city’s falling birth rate to a ‘city dying from bankruptcy’.44 Merrick is better remembered as the founder of the Yorkshire Campaign to Stop Immigration in June 1970, a parallel cause that curiously had no direct overlap with his fight to preserve Bradford’s built heritage. Yet Merrick’s explicit critiques, along with his broader political background, suggest how ratepayer activism positioned a populist-tinged local citizenship against the misguided policies of the Council. The retail market—a civic asset which belonging to just such an imagined ‘people’—helped focus these debates in place. Echoing Merrick’s sentiments on the Bradford Left was Christopher Vincenzi, a lawyer with links to local Quaker and trade union circles, as well as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Elected as a Labour Councillor in late 1970, Vincenzi was part of the generation of younger local Labour politicians whose radical politics stood in opposition to the Wilson national establishment.45 Vincenzi threw himself into the battle for local participatory democracy: he joined and eventually fronted the KMAC, with whom he battled the Council’s Kirkgate-ambivalent Labour Group on behalf of the city’s pro-Kirkgate Labour Party.46 Kirkgate Market’s meaning to the urban Left (Vincenzi) and the anti-immigrant, populist Right (Merrick) is testament both to the market’s public capacity and to the splintering of traditional political platforms in late 1960s and early 1970s Britain. The critique of an overly commercial and unnecessarily obtuse Council was likewise central to the Chesterfield campaign. Hammerson might have been the London-based villains who saw the market place as a mere ‘financial reward’, but Chesterfield Council was the enabler in this perverse ‘fling’.47 Yet while Bradford’s KMAC and Councillors like Merrick had fixated on the misguided policies that transcended party politics, Chesterfield’s campaign was much more partisan. Echoing the intra-Labour critiques of Vincenzi in Bradford, Chesterfield Heritage Society President Graham Robinson claimed that the Chesterfield Labour Group, in eliminating the ‘common people’ from the planning process, was not only going against the national Labour Party platform but was endangering the market as the citizenry’s birthright since its 1204 charter.48 Robinson pounced on the paradox at the heart of Chesterfield’s Labour leadership, that a supposedly ‘socialist’ party had sided with private developers and ignored democratic process, and harnessed the market’s transhistorical appeal as the ideal vehicle for a campaign against the materialist, short-sighted policies wrought by a political party who claimed legitimacy by representing ‘the people’. As in Bradford, the Chesterfield platforms built on the market issue gained their legitimacy from a belief that the urban or town development ethos risked severing the bond of consent between governors and governed. The serving of a writ to Chesterfield Council on 1 April 1974, was the symbolic height of this ratepayer citizenship. Graham Robinson, market trader Roy Davidson, and Bill Kennerley exploited an obscure element of the Local Government Act of 1933 in which ratepayers might appeal to the courts for a statutory declaration that their Council was mishandling the public purse or local public assets. The idea of the writ was floated to the Chesterfield Heritage Society by Christopher Booker and Bennie Gray, freelance journalists investigating council–developer dealings, mostly in London.49 Chesterfield’s writ servers accused the Council and Hammerson of entering into a relationship that was not in the financial interests of the town’s ratepayers and was therefore unlawful because it would lead to a ‘deficiency in the council’s accounts’.50 Although the writ was withdrawn 10 days later, this tactic of ratepayer activism jump-started a new phase in the fight to save Chesterfield Market. A fresh petition, a public march on the Town Hall, and renewed national publicity pushed Chesterfield further into the preservation limelight.51 Groups like the Bradford Ratepayers Association or individuals like Graham Robinson fed the civic narrative that British retail markets were run by local councils and their market committees on behalf of the ratepayers. Residents who lived within the bounds of the town or city and paid into its public services benefited from the market’s cluster of competitive businesses and its modest relief of the local rates. The entry of the private developer into this political–economic relationship, therefore, raised larger ideological questions over the role of local government as independent capitalist operators beyond the check of local ratepayers. Citizens campaigned to save local markets not only because they cornerstones of the local commerce but because they suggested a form of civic belonging that transcended the machinations of contemporary councils. At their ideological cores, then, the campaigns to save Bradford’s and Chesterfield’s markets were battles over the right to define local historical value and character. In Bradford, the KMAC—contemporaries of the more famous Covent Garden Community Association—used the language of heritage to argue for participatory, citizen-centric notions of planning. With its ties to the Complementary Studies department at the Bradford College of Art52 and with Christopher Vincenzi acting as a bridge to Council politics, the KMAC consolidated different registers of the urban Left in provincial Britain. Headed initially by Graham Carey, a veteran of neighbouring heritage societies and a lecturer at a local teacher training college, they argued that preservation could not only save Kirkgate as a building but Bradford as a democracy. Carey’s letters to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government,53The Times,54 and the citizenry of Bradford55—not to mention his frequent letters to the editor of the Bradford Telegraph and Argus—made explicit connections between the lack of political transparency and the dearth of heritage listing in Bradford. In his estimation, ‘if statutory listing and architectural merit can be judged without reference to the affections of at least 30,000 persons then the appropriate Civil Servants need to be replaced by ones who are more aware that there is a connection between life and art’.56 In KMAC ephemera and in testimony to the public inquiry, Carey celebrated the generational and stylistic linkage the market provided, particularly as it served as a foil to comprehensive development’s sterile ‘isolation in time’. This line of argument echoed the Civic Amenities’ conception of ‘character’, which the Council refused to recognize and thus to protect in legislation.57 As Carey developed an argument for the affective local character of the market, he recruited regional and national experts to speak to the architectural merit of Kirkgate. Derek Linstrum (Senior Lecturer, Leeds School of Architecture) and Derek William Buckler (preservationist architect, Manchester) called Bradford ‘undoubtedly the finest’ of the northern market halls, referring both to the regional importance of its architects (Lockwood and Mason) and to its ability to cohere entire parts of Victorian Bradford. Buckler agreed with Linstrum and even went a step further, drawing up a renovation plan to resolve the market’s structural issues while preserving its historic character.58 Bolstering the local expertise of Linstrum and Buckler were the national champions of nineteenth-century architecture, John Betjeman and the Victorian Society. Initially, the Victorian Society did not recognize Kirkgate as one of the best markets in Yorkshire, although they came to appreciate its ‘atmosphere’.59 Far more than his Victorian Society cohort, Betjeman openly embraced the place-based, emotional case for Kirkgate: in his mind, ‘the other parts of [Bradford] are a bit like you see anywhere, whereas Kirkgate is Bradford’.60 Betjeman urged town fathers to heed the mistakes made in towns like Birmingham and not to destroy Bradford’s ‘robust and human-scale’ Victorian architecture for modernist ‘slabs and cubes’ that dehumanized people (Fig. 1).61 Betjeman echoed a refrain that had been growing in certain Bradford circles for a decade: that modernist renewal had destroyed the buildings that made Bradford legible to its residents and unique as a coherent townscape.62 Kirkgate’s physical anchoring of Bradford’s Victorian commercial and architectural core was a final bulwark against the complete modernist transformation of the city. Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Hand-crafted poster from KMAC Campaign. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2. Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Hand-crafted poster from KMAC Campaign. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2. Like the KMAC in Bradford, the Chesterfield Heritage Society helped define why the market’s ‘historic’ qualities were worthy of protecting in light of the mounting backlash against comprehensive renewal. Graham Robinson leveraged the language of deep, ancient England connoted by open market commerce. The romance of the market’s ‘sights, smells, and sounds’, essentially ‘unchanged since the Magna Carta’, was a capacious, transitive, and malleable celebration of local history.63 This rallying cry was diametrically opposed to Chesterfield’s Labour leader, Jock Anderson (a ‘Napoleon’ or ‘Stalin’ figure to some), whose mantra—‘if you conserve too much, you get ruins, and if you get ruins, there is no-one in them’—underpinned his neophilic attitudes.64 Cestrefeldians living in Cambridge, West Lothian, and even Seneca Falls, NY, decried this ‘monstrous act of vandalism’, the ‘proposed rape of Chesterfield Market Place’ that would ‘tear down the past and replace it with buildings of rather dubious character’.65 The destruction of not only the market hall but also the open market place was a key difference between the Bradford and the Chesterfield cases.66 To its Chesterfield defenders, the market place transcended economic and architectural worth: it had been the town’s meeting area since the reign of King John, where the populace might ‘trade, celebrate, loaf, harangue, or even riot’.67 Knights, orators, electioneers, and Salvation Army workers had all crossed the market’s cobbles, each contributing a new historical layer to the town’s political culture.68 Whereas Kirkgate’s defenders ultimately tried to use the site’s Victorian architectural merit as its possible saving grace, Chesterfield’s activists seized on the market place’s ancient provenance and its constantly evolving historic character. This focus on intangible rather than tangible heritage would prove beneficial for the ‘Save the Market’ campaign in the Derbyshire town. The DT letters section became a forum for lively debate over whether shopping space constituted built heritage. The newspaper editors often featured pro-development dissenting letters to ferment discussion and disagreement; in April 1974, Margaret Ferns’s rejoinder that Chesterfield should ‘get on making this town a beautiful town’ drew a line between the modern shopping amenities of Doncaster, Sheffield, or Mansfield and appropriate heritage leisure supported by stately homes like Hardwick Hall or Bolsover Castle.69 However, the vast majority of published correspondence spoke of heritage not as a matter of architectural significance or aristocratic association, but as a feature of quotidian regional identity. The belief that Chesterfield Market was ‘natural social point’, with its ‘quaint irregularities’, ‘individuality’, and ‘ancient heritage’ pushed against the narrative that developers should and could improve the commercial character of market towns. Chesterfield’s market place was heritage because it had survived the era of urban renewal that had transformed Birmingham’s and Sheffield’s retail markets into ‘graffito-lined concrete jungles’.70 In Chesterfield, heritage was not a hermetically sealed time capsule of England’s past, but the product of daily or weekly commerce and sociability in town’s retail core. Cestrefeldian women’s organizations proved to be some of the most vocal and vital supporters of this usable, everyday past that was practiced at the market. Eighty members of Brampton’s Women’s Guild voted to save Chesterfield Market—not along partisan lines but as ‘townswomen’.71 Women’s Institutes likewise threw their support behind the cause, fearing that: The market place is in danger of being lost forever in the interest of private profit…We believe that market squares, village greens, common land and footpaths belong to the people and that right—fought for and won at no little cost by our forebears—cannot be taken away without proof that these ancient rights have no longer a valid purpose.72 Compared to the exclusively male leadership of the Bradford campaign, the alliance of women’s groups with ratepayers and preservationists opened the Chesterfield campaign to the intersection of localized social identities. As the managers of their household budgets, Chesterfield’s women addressed the Council’s poor financial dealings in terms of their own economic logic. As opposed to the KMAC’s political pointedness and arguments for architectural merit, Chesterfield activists used the unbuilt features of market places to argue for their intersectional, transhistorical value and their relevance to rural, village, and town heritage. Divergent Tactics, Different Outcomes How, then, did Chesterfield’s heritage-based, anti-development campaign succeed while Bradford’s failed? Timing is one of the most telling differences. Kirkgate’s defenders fought without the 1974 Amenities Act and the impending EAHY on their side; each of these developments was a concerted political effort to mitigate local authorities’ destruction of conservation areas. When Secretary Rippon spot listed Kirkgate Market in May 1973, there was little recourse for turning listing into preservation, so demolition followed apace. Conversely, when the Peacock Inn was spot listed only 15 months later, the reorganization of local government and the teeth of the 1974 Act provided the planning and preservation apparatus that could save Chesterfield Market. There were also differences in economic timing: Hammerson pulled out of Chesterfield due to a national budget unfavourable to property development, while much of the debate and decision-making in Bradford took place pre-Oil Crisis, during the era of shopping development boom. Though it may seem cynical to attribute preservationist triumphs to the economic downturn in Britain during the early 1970s, planning historians have noted that these constraints must be recognized alongside the social movement angle.73 Focusing on both localities allows us to see how the particularities of place as well as of time conditioned public receptiveness to development versus preservation. As Simon Gunn has shown, Bradford was a well-worn testing ground for ‘functionalist modernism’ since the first wave of post-war development plans. The slow-down of the local woollen and worsted industries and the outsourcing of manufacturing to peripheral sites only exacerbated the sense of the city centre as a Victorian holdover in need of redevelopment. Chesterfield’s claim to a more transhistorical ‘market town’ character, however, was a salient line of defence. While the town supported a group of manufacturing and engineering firms—along with mining communities further afield—the open market retained pride of place as a public economic stage where consumer and trader had met face-to-face for almost 800 years. Hammerson’s proposal cut to the mythical heart of Chesterfield in a much more destructive manner than Arndale’s in a waning urban–industrial stronghold. While Bradford had defenders of nineteenth-century urbanism like John Betjeman, Ian Nairn, and native son J. B. Priestley on its side, Chesterfield had the romance of pre-modern commerce. Comparing Bradford and Chesterfield reminds us that blanket applications of ‘heritage industry’ or ‘conservation’ do not go far enough to explain the local cultures that underpin the preservation of socio-economic place. Beyond these structural pre-conditions, political tactics and tone further distinguished the Bradford and Chesterfield ‘Save the Market’ campaigns. In Bradford, the anger at the Development Committee and the lack of consultation or democratic process spoke to a general distrust in the political system. Working in the wake of the Skeffington Report on public participation and planning, the Redcliffe Maud Report on local government, and the Poulson Affair, the KMAC and their allies saw corruption across the political spectrum. In Chesterfield, the Hammerson scheme was laid squarely at Labour’s feet, with the local party becoming a stand-in for fears about the Left’s capitulation to capitalist developers in the name of ‘progress’.74 The Tories were then able to ally with civic and amenity societies as the defenders of Chesterfield’s historic character and sensitive development. Whereas Bradford’s public silencing was endemic of local government corruption, Chesterfield’s market activists characterized Labour Group’s control of the town as an irony at the heart of the social democratic party. These political overtones shaped the organization and tactics of the Bradford and Chesterfield campaigns. In Bradford, the KMAC had initially played a vital role in the coalition of market traders, ratepayers, and small shopkeepers; their members’ backgrounds in amenity and heritage societies unified arguments around local heritage and conservation, and while Bradford was exceptional in its brief attraction of both right-wing and radical branches of 1970s urban social movements,75 this solidarity was fleeting. By the end of the campaign, the radical left of Bradford’s student and lecturer movements carried the banner for Kirkgate. Consider the final act of Kirkgate’s activists, a ‘send off’ during the last day of trading. Spear-headed by the Welfare State Group,76 thirty-three young people enacted a funeral march from City Hall to the market, where they staged a sit-in and sang ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’ (Fig. 2).77 The market tenants, going about their business closing up stalls on the last day of trading, were not overly impressed with these tactics.78 Speaking a few years after the demolition of the market and the opening of the new building, Christopher Vincenzi remarked, ‘we were concerned with the social and aesthetic side of the building, whereas the traders were concerned with the economic, the financial’.79 While Kirkgate’s public revenue, ownership, and history had originally attracted a cross-section of Bradford’s political class from fiscally conservative right to counterculture left, the tenuous cooperation of this movement plagued the market cause through its last days in 1973. Figure 2 View largeDownload slide Requiem for Kirkgate Market, Tony Coult, and Baz Kershaw, eds, Engineers of the Imagination (London, 1983), 2. Figure 2 View largeDownload slide Requiem for Kirkgate Market, Tony Coult, and Baz Kershaw, eds, Engineers of the Imagination (London, 1983), 2. Compared to Bradford, Chesterfield’s campaign was an exercise in moderate, inter-sectional protection of public space. A vocal contingent of Chesterfield women and middle-class professionals defended the intrinsic heritage of the market, drawing from a well of political, civic, and architectural knowledge to strengthen Chesterfield’s national and international relevance. This coalition proved to be much longer lasting than Bradford’s, in part because economic conditions turned in conservation’s favour, but also because the politics of the cause appealed to a broad spectrum of opinion. Retail markets attracted a range of support by virtue of the architectural distinction they embodied, the economic solidarities they enabled, and the civic stakeholding they engendered. Yet ‘public’ outrage was not identical across Bradford and Chesterfield. This final section will turn to the mid-1970s preservation plan for Chesterfield Market, and the mode through which Cestrefeldians became active incubators of local history and participation in the market’s renewal. Preserving Publicness: Bernard Feilden and Chesterfield Townscape Hammerson’s departure brought an end to 1960s comprehensive planning in Chesterfield, but debate remained over who would design and construct a sensitive renewal of the market area. The constrained national economic climate necessitated a phased scheme that would at least partially conserve the buildings surrounding the market place.80 In early 1976, Chesterfield Council and the Department of the Environment approached conservation architect Bernard Feilden of the Norwich-based firm Feilden + Mawson to consult on the new survey of the town and its historic built fabric. A firm committed to conservation and townscape principles, Feilden + Mawson sought to balance ‘fabric and function’, or, the built environment that they could control and citizens’ uses of these places and spaces in everyday life.81 As part of their Central Area study, the consultant architects distributed 350 questionnaires to primary and secondary schools, churches, senior clubs, women’s organizations, and miners’ organizations. The firm found that the majority of respondents were sympathetic to the conservation ethos, with buildings like the Town Hall, the Crooked Spire of the Church of St Mary and All Saints, and especially the market serving as key focal points in the visual and narrative map that Cestrefeldians made for themselves (Fig. 3). In addition to this citizen outreach, Feilden + Mawson consulted with the Civic and Heritage Societies from the initial stages of their survey, a gesture that members of these societies called a ‘breath of fresh air’ after years of impasse with Hammerson.82 For Feilden + Mawson, heritage design and building preservation facilitated conversations between past and present, individual and community, and the multitudes of publics who comprised local civil society. Figure 3 View largeDownload slide Primary school responses to Feilden + Mawson questionnaire. Chesterfield Central Area Study (1976). Reproduced with the gracious permission of Chesterfield Borough Council. Figure 3 View largeDownload slide Primary school responses to Feilden + Mawson questionnaire. Chesterfield Central Area Study (1976). Reproduced with the gracious permission of Chesterfield Borough Council. The final Central Area study, published in May 1976, bridged Chesterfield’s unique character with pressing socio-economic concerns. Feilden + Mawson recognized the narrative of ‘dying’, ‘decline’, and ‘obsolescence’ that permeated public opinion in Chesterfield, not just in terms of industry but also in terms of retail competition.83 The realignment of shopping catchment to redeveloped Sheffield, Nottingham, Mansfield, Sutton, and Worksop was matched with fears about Chesterfield becoming a dormitory town for larger cities.84 Rather than challenging regional shopping competitors at their own game (‘resisting outsider commercial pressure’), Feilden + Mawson broke with Hammerson’s logic to argue that preservation made economic and business sense. Renovation of the market hall and its surrounding area would cost 30 per cent less than demolition and rebuilding, and in so doing would preserve the outline of Chesterfield’s recognizable character.85 Retention and selective improvement were the antidotes to what ailed Chesterfield in its current climate: the facts that the ‘unique market’ was the largest in the country and ‘attracted people from many miles around’ were the cornerstones of a new shopping plan.86 Furthermore, the underused spaces in the market hall could provide an art gallery or library space, a social hub that could bring ‘evening life’ back to the market place.87 In Feilden + Mawson’s estimation, the market hall and market place provided two concurrent linking functions: they connected people to a coherent past as they connected people in sociable space. From their survey techniques to their written report to their final product (completed in 1981), Feilden + Mawson privileged how the Cestrefeldian moved through and conceived of space, which in turn revealed how the market was a cornerstone in the physical and experiential map of the town. The market, they argued, was a focal point in the sensory landscape of the town and an ‘urban area in the best sense: a building of human scale strongly linked to human activity’.88 This ‘uniqueness’ also had a commercial valence. Feilden + Mawson put into practice the economic argument that activists and preservationists had been developing for years: as other regional markets succumbed to the precinct or Arndale model, the potential value of Chesterfield’s traditional market increased. Feilden + Mawson translated the ‘at risk’ heritage of the market to the ‘in demand’ character of atmospheric shopping places. The future prosperity of the town lay in its ancient assets, perhaps none more invaluable than the open market place. Conclusion The strategies and recommendations of the Feilden + Mawson Chesterfield proposal corroborate Raphael Samuel’s analysis of heritage in recession: as local economies and the public sector collapsed in the late 1970s and early 1980s, conservation became the new preferred mode to tackle urban blight.89 This article has explored the different origins and permutations of this renewal policy, and how the politics of place shaped local preservationist activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I have argued that the specifics of site matter when we discuss how citizens chose to champion heritage as a form of ‘active’ citizenship in the post-war period. The British retail market was a literal meeting point in countless cities and towns, and its role as a palimpsest of different epochs meant that it had a remarkable ability to cultivate multidimensional forms of civic belonging. The markets in Bradford and Chesterfield tapped into economic arguments by virtue of their affordability, fuelled anti-political establishment moods through their ‘collective’ function, and embodied a transcendent form of local commercial history. The heritage politics of the ‘Save the Market’ campaign, therefore, must be contextualized as part of the early 1970s juncture in social democracy, when ‘popular individualism’ was not yet a forefather of Thatcherism, but a diffuse mode of articulating and enacting citizenship.90 In Bradford and Chesterfield, actions such as letter writing, writ serving, public marching, and collaborative planning tied subjective ideas of ‘belonging’ to local economic places, as retailers and consumers linked with politicians, students, and Victorian architecture enthusiasts to defend ‘traditional’ forms of shopping. The power of Kirkgate and Chesterfield markets to gather these political alliances and to speak across registers of local, national, and international commercial and architectural ‘value’ reminds us that British retail heritage is an invaluable, if understudied, node in cultural and economic histories of place. Historians working on Germany have started to interrogate this phenomenon with the nostalgia for corner stores,91 while scholars in the USA see similar modes emerging in the romance of ‘downtown’ as a shopping landscape of the past.92 This article has argued that the British traditional retail market helped local communities imagine retail and consumption as an asset run for the benefit of ‘the people’, and that retail market heritage was predicated on recovering a historic, commercial ‘public’ to challenge the promise of public–private development. The social history of the Chesterfield campaign—told in conjunction with the unsuccessful Bradford struggle only 70 miles away—reveals that this brand of heritage did not emerge from an undifferentiated national and political field, but is the uneven, participatory process of local stakeholders challenging the deficiencies of the present by constructing a particular narrative of the past. Footnotes 1 Roy Jenkins was then between stints as Labour Shadow Chancellor and Shadow Home Secretary. 2 Letter to the editor, Derbyshire Times (hereafter LE, DT) Jennifer Jenkins, 30 March 1973. 3 Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, ‘Letters to the Editor as a Forum for Public Deliberation: Modes of Publicity and Democratic Debate’, Critical Studies in Media Communication, 18 (2001), 304. 4 Ben Jackson and Robert Saunders, eds, Making Thatcher’s Britain (Cambridge, 2012); Lawrence Black et al., eds, Reassessing 1970s Britain (Manchester, 2013). 5 Emily Robinson et al., ‘Telling Stories about Post-War Britain: Popular Individualism and the “Crisis” of the 1970s’, Twentieth Century British History, 28, (2017), 279–80. 6 For a contemporary account, see Roger King and Neill Nugent, eds, Respectable Rebels: Middle Class Campaigns in Britain (London, 1979); for a recent historical study, see David Ellis, ‘On Taking (Back) Control: Lessons from Community Action in 1970s Britain’, Renewal, 25 (2017), 53–61. 7 Sophie Andreae, ‘From Comprehensive Development to Conservation Areas’, in Michael Hunter, ed., Preserving the Past: The Rise of Modern Heritage in Britain (London, 1996), 142; John Pendlebury and Tim Townshend, ‘The Conservation of Historic Areas and Public Participation’, Journal of Architectural Conservation, 5 (1999), 72; Pendlebury, Conservation in the Age of Consensus (London, 2008), 6; Miles Glendinning, The Conservation Movement: A History of Architectural Preservation (London, 2013), 403. 8 Peter Larkham, ‘The Place of Urban Conservation in the UK Reconstruction Plans of 1942-1952’, Planning Perspectives, 18 (2003), 311. 9 Colin Buchanan and Partners, Bath: A Study in Conservation (London, 1968); Viscount Esher, York, Study in Conservation (London, 1968); D Insall and Partners, Chester (London, 1968); GS Burrows, Chichester: A Study in Conservation (London, 1968); Roy Worksett, The Character of Towns (London, 1969); John Delafons, Politics and Preservation: A Policy History of the Built Heritage, 1882-1996 (London, 1996), 98. 10 David Eversley, ‘Conservation for the Minority?’, Built Environment, 3 (1974), 14–15; Timothy Cantell, ‘Why Conserve?’, The Planner, 61 (1975), 6–10; Pendlebury and Townsend, ‘The Conservation of English Cultural Built Heritage: A Force for Social Inclusion?’, International Journal of Heritage Studies 10 (2004), 11–31. 11 Robert Hewison, The Heritage Industry: Britain in a Climate of Decline (London, 1987); Patrick Wright, On Living in an Old Country: The National Past in Contemporary Britain (London, 1985); Neal Ascherson, ‘Why Heritage Is Right-Wing’, The Observer, 8 November 1987; Pendlebury, ‘Conservation, Conservatives and Consensus: The Success of Conservation under the Thatcher and Major Governments, 1979-1997’, Planning Theory and Practice, 1 (2000), 31–52. 12 Raphael Samuel, Theatres of Memory: Past and Present in Contemporary Culture (London, 2012), 303. 13 Rebecca Madgin, ‘Reconceptualising the Historic Urban Environment: Conservation and Regeneration in Castlefield, Manchester, 1960-2009’, Planning Perspectives 25 (2010), 29–48; Andrew G. McClelland, ‘A “Ghastly Interregnum”: The Struggle for Architectural Heritage Conservation in Belfast before 1972’, Urban History, published online 31 January 2017, 1–26; Erika Hanna, Modern Dublin: Urban Change and the Irish Past, 1957-1973 (Oxford, 2013); Kurt Iveson, ‘Building a City for “The People”: The Politics of Alliance-Building in the Sydney Green Ban Movement’, Antipode, 46 (2014), 992–1013. 14 Helen McCarthy and Pat Thane, ‘The Politics of Association in Industrial Society’, Twentieth Century British History, 22 (2011), 227. In 1976, 85 per cent of the civic societies in Britain had been founded since 1957. The largest single reason for their establishment was a major local planning development issue. Anthony Barker, The Local Amenity Movement (London, 1976), 7 and 21. On the archival wealth of civic societies, see Lucy Hewitt and John Pendlebury ‘Local Associations and Participation in Place: Change and Continuity in the Relationship between State and Civil Society in Twentieth-Century Britain’, Planning Perspectives, 29 (2014), 25–44. 15 Colin Amery and Dan Cruickshank, The Rape of Britain (London, 1975), 58; Alison Ravetz, Remaking Cities (London, 1980), 104–8; John Short, The Urban Arena: Capital, State and Community in Contemporary Britain (London, 1984), 145–6. 16 Simon Gunn, ‘The Rise and Fall of British Urban Modernism: Planning Bradford, Circa 1945-1970’, The Journal of British Studies, 49 (2010), 849–69. 17 Derbyshire Record Office (hereafter DRO), Matlock, Papers of the Chesterfield Civic Society, D6488/2/4, Michael Brayshaw, ‘The Redevelopment of Chesterfield Market Place’, paper given to the Rushcliffe Civic Centre for ‘Conservation and planning—Today and Tomorrow’ conference, 14 June 1986. 18 Although the links between Town and City and Poulson were tenuous, in 1962 Sam Chippendale did give Poulson 13,500 shares in the company. West Yorkshire Archive Service (hereafter WYAS), Bradford, Papers concerning campaign to save Kirkgate Market, Bradford from demolition, 73D90/1/3, Kirkgate Market Action Committee to the editor of Bradford Telegraph and Argus (hereafter T&A), 1 July 1973. 19 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Bradford City Council, Application for the confirmation of the City of Bradford (Kirkgate and Westgate) compulsory purchase order 1970, 5. 20 J. Sanderson, ‘Letter to the Editor—Wanton and reckless’, T&A, 19 November 1970. Denys Thornton, ‘Market Can Come Down, Rules Minister’, T&A, 14 July 1970. ‘Protest over £20 Rent in New Market’, T&A, 18 May 1970. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Archie Edgar, Evidence at Public Inquiry, 5. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Letter from Kirkgate Market Action Committee to the Minister of Housing and Local Government, 8 June 1970. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Archie Robert Edgar (Secretary, Market Tenants’ Association) evidence. 21 Bradford Chamber of Trade had 800 trader members and 2,000 associated members, all of them being retailers. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Application for compulsory purchase order, 11. C. Richardson, A Geography of Bradford (University of Bradford, 1976), 142–3. 22 J. R. Hope, ‘Letter to the Editor—Questioning Wisdom of Losing This “Plum”’, T&A, 19 November 1970. 23 Denys Thornton, ‘Tangle Sets the Mind Boggling’, T&A, 16 November 1970. 24 Thornton, ‘Tangle Sets the Mind Boggling’. 25 DRO D6449/UL, Borough of Chesterfield. Redevelopment of central area explanatory statement, 1962. 26Civic Trust News 59 (January/February 1977), 13. 27 ‘European Architectural Heritage Year’, The Architects’ Journal, 9 August 1972. 28 DRO D6449, Chesterfield Civic Society, Chairman’s report and newsletter, September 1975. DRO D6488/2/14. Letter from Chesterfield Heritage Society to AO Kelting, joint managing director, Hammerson and member of executive council EAHY 1975, 6 May 1973 and Letter from Chesterfield Heritage Society to HRH Prince Philip, November 1973. 29 Denys Thornton, ‘Ministry Now Says Mechanics’ and Market “of Interest”’, T&A, 24 May 1973. 30 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/2, Letter from Kirkgate Market Action Committee to Secretary of State for the Environment, 9 June 1973. In 1973, the KMAC polled 500 Bradfordians and found almost 80 per cent of them in favour of preservation. Demolition of listed buildings was not rare, but the advent of Listed Building Consent in the late 1960s had cut the number of listed building demolitions by 25 per cent. Glendinning, 295. 31 ‘Strong chance of rethink on town centre’, DT, 12 April 1974. For more on the property crash in 1973–4, see Peter Scott, The Property Masters: A History of the British Commercial Property Sector (London, 1996), 194–200. 32 Neill Nugent, ‘The Ratepayers’, in King and Nugent, eds, Respectable Rebels (London, 1979), 30. 33 John Smith, ‘Hammerson Scheme Out? Phased Plan likely for Town-Centre Rebuilding’, DT, 4 April 1975. 34 G. Bradley (Bournemouth), LE, T&A, 13 May 1970. 35 V. Palmer, LE, DT, 16 March 1973; Geoffrey King (Tunbridge, Kent), LE, DT, 16 March 1973; Wright (Mansfield), LE, DT, 8 March 1974; Dorothy Bell (Penrith), LE, DT, 24 May 1974. 36 David and Shirley Fitzpatrick, ‘Chesterfield: Lessons in Destruction’, Built Environment, December 1974, 632. 37 Albert A. Swindlehurst, Bradford in 1970, 73D90/3/2. 38 Roger Mason, LE, DT, 12 January 1973; Marian Billinge, LE, DT, 2 March 1973. 39 Rachel Rush, LE, DT, 16 March 1973. 40 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/5, Copy of Letter to the Sunday Times, 27 May 1973. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Application for compulsory purchase order, 15. 41 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/2, Letter from John Gascoigne to the Editor of The Observer, 17 June 1973. 42 Graham Carey, ‘Time to Call a Public Meeting about Market’, T&A, 13 May 1970. 43 WYAS Bradford, BBD1/7/T14925, Letter from Councilor Jim Merrick to the Members of the Council, 10 October 1969. 44 Merrick, ‘Letter to the Editor’, T&A, 22 June 1970. 45 Stewart Lansley et al., Councils in Conflict: The Rise and Fall of the Municipal Left (Houndsmills, 1989), 5 and 9–10. 46 ‘Council Group Snubs Party over Market’, T&A, 7 October 1970. 47 Roger Mason, LE, DT, 12 January 1973; Elizabeth Broomhead, LE, DT, 21 June 1974. 48 T. G. Robinson, LE, DT, 19 February 1973. 49 Booker and Gray had been covering the fights to save both Covent Garden and Tolmers Square from the Greater London Council and Camden Council, respectively. DRO D6488/2/4, Brayshaw, ‘The Redevelopment of Chesterfield Market Place’; Nick Wates, The Battle for Tolmers Square (London, 1976), 105–6. 50 John Smith, ‘Writ Served over Plan for Town Centre’, DT, 5 April 1974. 51 Christopher Booker and Bennie Gray, ‘Ripping Out a Town’s Heart against the Citizens’ Wishes’, The Observer, 31 March 1974; ‘Campaign for Town Heritage’, The Guardian, 2 April 1974; Brian Carter and Dan Cruikshank, ‘Chesterfield Reprieved?’, The Architects’ Journal, 24 April 1974; Peter Smith, ‘Chesterfield and Rotherham’, Built Environment, June 1974, 276. 52 Albert Hunt’s Bradford Art College Theatre Group—devoted to alternative and activist theatre—was founded in 1968. This organization drew much of its intellectual ethos and personnel from the college’s Complementary Studies programme. Lecturer and KMAC secretary John Gascoigne would take an active role in community organizing and oral history projects in Bradford. Albert Hunt, Hopes for Great Happenings (London, 1976), 69–70 and 78–9. 53 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/1, Graham Carey to Anthony Dale (Chief Investigator, Historic Buildings Section), 26 August 1970. 54 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/1, Graham Carey, ‘Non-Conservation: Non-Democracy’, Letter to the Editor of The Times, n.d. 55 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/1, ‘Open Letter to the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Councillors and Officials of Bradford Corporation’ n.d. 56 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/1, ‘Non-Conservation: Non-Democracy’. 57 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Vote Kirkgate!, nd. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Graham Carey evidence to public inquiry, 2. 58 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Derek Linstrum testimony. ‘Same Exterior, Renovated Interior. “Old and new” Alternative Market Plan’, T&A, 23 October 1970. 59 London Metropolitan Archives, London, Papers of the Victorian Society, LMA 4460/01/35/003, Letter from David Lloyd to Jane Fawcett, 18 June 1970. 60 ‘Lovely Kirkgate Market Part of City’s Heart, says Sir John’, T&A, 14 November 1970. 61 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/4, Undated newspaper clipping, letter received by T&A. 62 Gunn, ‘Rise and Fall’, 864. Yorkshire Film Archive (hereafter YFA), film no. 1696, ‘The Glory that Was Bradford’, 1967. 63 ‘Save the Market Campaign Hots Up’. 64 ‘Town Project Could Add 4p in £on Rates’, DT, 19 October 1973. Anderson also feared Chesterfield would be a ‘torpid backwater’ if they did not redevelop. ‘Notes by the way—The Backwoodsmen Sharpen Their Axes’, DT, 11 May 1973. 65 Patrick Thomas (Cambridge), LE, DT, 19 January 1973. Margaret De V Wills (Whitburn, West Lothian), LE, DT, 16 March 1973. Mrs Patricia Preece (Seneca Falls), LE, DT, 23 March 1973. 66 Many Chesterfield residents who defended the market place actually welcomed the destruction of the market hall. Hardwick, LE, DT, 12 April 1974. David Powell, LE, DT, 3 May 1974. 67 T. G. Robinson, LE, DT, 16 February 1973. Simon Ward, LE, DT, 24 May 1974. 68 DRO, Papers of the Chesterfield Architectural Heritage Society, D6488/2/3, ‘Supporting Papers on the Redevelopment of Chesterfield’. 69 Margaret Ferns LE, DT, 12 and 26 April 1974. 70 Turner LE, DT, 19 April 1974. 71 Mary Robinson and Effie E Porter, LE, DT, 9 March 1973. 72 V. L. Miles, LE, DT, 13 April 1973. 73 Pendlebury, Conservation, 63. For the mid-1960s analogue, see Otto Saumarez Smith, ‘Central Government and Town-Centre Redevelopment in Britain, 1959-1966’ The Historical Journal, 58 (2015), 243. 74 Smith, ‘Chesterfield and Rotherham’, 276. Jeanette Bramley, LE, DT, 13 July 1973. ‘Town Centre Scheme to Go Ahead’, DT, 10 May 1974. Pro Bono Publico, LE, DT, 10 May 1974. 75 On the comparative ideology of local right- and left-wing politics in the 1970s, see Stuart Lowe, Urban Social Movements: The City After Castells (Houndmills, 1986), 118–51. 76 The Welfare State theatre group, founded by John Fox, had some overlap with the Albert Hunt’s Bradford College of Art group, including their collaboration on The Russian Revolution street performance in 1968. Hunt, Hopes, 68–9. 77 Stephen Cook, ‘33 Arrests during Kirkgate Protest’, T&A, 5 November 1973. 78 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/4, ‘Quick Knees-Up- and Traders Grunt “Goodbye”’, T&A clipping, n.d. 79 YFA, film no 1714, ‘New Plans, Old Loves’, 1974. 80 ‘Go-Ahead for yet another Town Centre Plan’, DT, 11 April 1975. 81 Chesterfield Borough Council, Chesterfield: Central Area Study (Chesterfield, 1976), 3.1; for more on Townscape, see Gordon Cullen, Townscape (London, 1961). 82 DRO D6488/2/5, Chesterfield Heritage Society, ‘Saving the Market: 1973-75’. 83 ‘Market Place “Could Become a Twilight Zone”’, DT, 30 January 1976. ‘A Dying Town?’, DT, 30 April 1976. 84 Chesterfield Borough Council, Chesterfield: Central Area Study, 2.1 85 ‘Preservation in Revised Town Plan’, DT, 11 June 1976. 86 Chesterfield Borough Council, Chesterfield: Central Area Study, 4.4. 87 Chesterfield Borough Council, Chesterfield: Central Area Study, 4.2–4.3. 88 Chesterfield Borough Council, Chesterfield: Central Area Study, 4.4 89 Samuel, Theatres of Memory, 292. 90 See Emily Robinson et al., ‘Telling Stories about Post-War Britain’. 91 Jan Logemann, ‘Remembering “Aunt Emma”: Small Retailing between Nostalgia and a Conflicted Past’ Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, 5 (2013), 151–71. 92 Vicki Howard, From Main Street to Mall: The Rise and Fall of the American Department Store (Philadelphia, 2015), 211–20; Alison Isenberg, Downtown America: A History of the Place and the People Who Made It (Chicago, 2004), 255–311. © The Author [2017]. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Twentieth Century British History Oxford University Press

Commercial Heritage as Democratic Action: Historicizing the ‘Save the Market’ Campaigns in Bradford and Chesterfield, 1969–76

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Abstract

Abstract This article argues that the traditional retail market—a ubiquitous commercial feature of British towns and cities—produced a particular strand of heritage politics in late 1960s and early 1970s Britain. In recovering the activists involved in two campaigns to ‘save the market’ from redevelopment—one unsuccessful campaign in Bradford and one successful campaign in Chesterfield—I make the case for thinking through local urban heritage movements in comparative terms, focusing on how place-based citizenship collided with a nascent, national ‘anti-development’ mood in the early 1970s. The campaigns in Bradford and Chesterfield defended the transhistorical ‘publicness’ of the retail market—its spatial centrality, its collective ownership, and its relief of town or city rates—as a critique of contemporary, undemocratic privatization of communal space. Combining the archives of civic amenity, community action, and heritage societies with subjective attitudes towards preservation and redevelopment found in local ‘letters to the editor’ pages, this article reads the market as one physical nexus where local ‘politics’ and ‘publics’ collided and permutated in early 1970s provincial Britain. This focus on the lived heritage of socio-economic place has bearing on public history, the history of urban social movements, and architecture and planning historiography. Introduction In March 1973, Jennifer Jenkins penned a letter to the Derbyshire Times (DT). Jenkins wrote not as the wife of one of Britain’s most recognizable politicians,1 but as the Chairman of the Consumers’ Association, the Secretary of the Ancient Monuments Society, and a Chesterfield native (currently living in exile in London). Jenkins was appalled at the recent news that Chesterfield’s historic market place, granted a market charter in the thirteenth century, would soon give way to an enclosed shopping precinct. She reminded the readers of the DT: Chesterfield is not merely a shopping magnet for the surrounding district, but more importantly, a historic town dating from Roman times. Its residents have always had a particularly vital and active local life… it is clear that the 32,000 signatories of the petition [to Save the Market] feel a similar sense of shock at the prospect of their town’s centre becoming another developer’s stereotype.2 Jenkins’ letter elucidated the stakes of the proposed redevelopment of Chesterfield Market: the privatization of a nominally public space, the severing of historical continuities, and the undercutting of participatory democracy in the name of development. Chesterfield was not alone in this fight. Elsewhere in her letter, Jenkins referenced the battles to save Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus as proof that ‘people do not want their familiar centres to be torn down and replaced by the standard developments being built everywhere from Central Africa to North America’. For developers with increasingly international property portfolios, the familiarity of everyday, traditional shopping was an untenable emotional tie to otherwise valuable town or city centre land. But for citizens like Jenkins, local shopping practices were what infused otherwise homogenous urban spaces with deeply felt value. This article spotlights local heritage campaigns to ‘Save the Market’ in two communities left outside of a capital city or national paradigm: Jennifer Jenkins’ market town of Chesterfield and the medium-sized industrial city of Bradford. The main actors in each campaign—civic amenity and heritage societies, ratepayer associations, chambers of trade and commerce, and women’s groups—defended the retail market as ‘public’ in a fiscal, spatial, and historical sense. This shopping institution was kept up by local rates, its revenue relieved the rates of the town and city residents, it occupied public space in the heart of the town or the city, and its provenance in medieval charters made it a central feature of ‘public’ history. The fact that markets traversed these registers made them vehicles for intersectional—yet often factional—amenity and heritage activism. The associational networks of this activism form this article’s source base: I draw from correspondence, pamphlets, and expert testimony held in the archives of Bradford’s Kirkgate Market Action Committee (KMAC) and the Chesterfield Civic and Heritage Societies, as well as samples from the large volume of local ‘letters to the editor’ that weighed in on market redevelopment in both places. While political scientists and media scholars have rightly qualified letters to the editor as a self-selective and mediated forum controlled by ‘gatekeepers of the public sphere’, they are nevertheless a vital resource for historians interested in studying how political debate coalesced around narratives of the affective self and collective action (neatly exemplified in the aforementioned Jennifer Jenkins statement).3 In balancing the organizational aspects of heritage activism with lived, personal attitudes towards preservation and redevelopment voiced by residents, this article transforms the market into one physical nexus, wherein local politics and publics collided and permutated in early 1970s provincial Britain. The dual economic and political ‘crises’ of the 1970s have received academic revision over the past 5 years. Two edited volumes have focused our attention to the rhetorical meaning of ‘crisis’ as a narrative descriptor in the Thatcherite project and to the diverse cultural potentials of the 1970s, respectively.4 The goal of this article, however, is more in line with recent analyses of ‘popular individualism’ in the 1970s, described as the ascendency of the ‘ordinary’ as a mode of political testimony and popular self-making.5 I argue that ‘ordinariness’ has a particular use for histories of political culture in 1970s provincial Britain. The middle-class campaigns and community actions groups that flourished in the decade were suspicious of the top-down decision-making, whether it emanated from their city halls or from Westminster. These activists turned, instead, to the networks forged in everyday spaces like neighbourhoods, educational establishments, and local professional organizations to forward political claims that were salient not only to their day-to-day material interests but also to the coherence of their particular lived environments.6 Because these networks and their causes could be so varied and fleeting, their lasting importance is often misunderstood or written out of metropolitan-focused or national stories. Thinking comparatively about their political genealogies and ultimate goals adds depth and contingency to over-arching histories of protest and crisis in the 1970s. I argue that citizens came to community action through different channels and thought strategically and instrumentally about the creative ways in which they might regain control over the ordinary spaces and institutions that mattered in their lives. Resisting demolition and redevelopment decisions was one way these citizen groups put their critiques into action. Planners, preservationists, and historians of the built environment pinpoint this moment in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a ‘sea change’ in the British conservation movement, when the tide shifted from the unquestioned good of comprehensive planning and modernist urban renewal to the economic and cultural worth of preservation.7 The passage of the Civic Amenities Act (1967) and new Town and Country Planning Acts (1968/1969) broadened the power of local authorities to include more public participation in the planning process, introduced ‘spot listing’ to save historic sites from demolition, and enabled the designation of ‘conservation areas’ rather than single building listings. However, the changing mechanics of listing are only part of the story of this era’s heritage movement. Planning scholar Peter Larkham has argued that the post-1967 definition of ‘character’ in conservation areas made objective claims to preservation illusive.8 The southern and southeastern English focus of many civic and heritage societies meant that ‘character’ was often defined in terms of rural or village charm, not the industrial or semi-industrial quality that defined communities like Chesterfield or Bradford. These regional foci of heritage societies, the typology of ‘historic’ centres disseminated by the Ministry for Housing and Local Government,9 and the lingering sense that conservation was a socially elitist practice10 compounded to make ‘character’ an attribute imbued with class and taste connotations. In many ways, the ‘heritage industry’ debate in the later 1970s and 1980s only reinforced this elitist or regionally circumscribed sense of preserving and interpreting the past. Starting with the landmark Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition ‘Destruction of the Country House’ (1974–5), scholars have pointed to a decade when national heritage became tightly allied with the Tory Party and a conservative view of history.11 While this work has been critical to historians’ understandings of why the British past is a cultural touchstone of Thatcherism, by focusing on ‘the nation’ as a constructed, consumable product of the political right, this vision of heritage falls into the trap set by the growth of preservation legislation in the 1960s: it limits the political and scalar potentials of a shared past to a programme of metropolitan elites, rather than a participatory movement across spaces of civil society. In Theatres of Memory (1994), Raphael Samuel highlighted the folly of such a circumscription, calling on historians and cultural critics to see heritage as perpetually ‘metamorphosing’, open to different political modes and historical claims.12 While visionary in its social and political imaginings of heritage, Samuel’s implicit London focus largely reinscribes heritage’s geographic boundaries: the Leftist, ‘middle-class radicals’ who campaigned to save Covent Garden, resurrect the Globe, or stop the London Ringways, still spoke from a metropolitan place-position. Their associational culture does not align neatly with provincial town and city activism, which often defined its preservationist claims in opposition to the spectre of ‘London’ and its images of materialist property developers and an out-of-touch central government. In its focus on regional actors, my work is indebted to scholarship emerging from histories of the built environment and critical geography that foreground the complex local, national, and international political coalitions that emerged from heritage and preservation campaigns in 1960s and 1970s.13 A new generation of scholars has brought the breadth of Samuel’s ‘heritage as politics’ argument to bear on diverse urban and town environments, situating preservation campaigns as one incubator of ‘active citizenship’ in post-war associational life.14 This article makes the case for thinking comparatively across these particularities of place and the publics that claimed their ownership in heritage and civic activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s. By using a ubiquitous feature in the economic and cultural fabric of provincial Britain—the retail market—I demonstrate how differences in strategy and in timing across the Bradford and Chesterfield coalitions influenced the relative success of preservation campaigns. Chesterfield’s and Bradford’s encounters with urban redevelopment have attracted limited scholarly attention from planning experts and social historians. Chesterfield’s redevelopment saga was a brief case study in Colin Amery and Dan Cruickshank’s The Rape of Britain (1975), and the town’s contentious relationship with modernization continued to attract attention from critical planning and geography scholars through the 1980s.15 In Bradford, the historiography is more recent, but also more limited. Simon Gunn’s study of Bradford’s modernist redevelopment was an important corrective to post-war urban history that tended to centre on London and the new towns, as well as a vital synergy of architectural and social history.16 Yet Gunn’s end point with modernism’s ‘fall’ in the late 1960s and early 1970s does not account for the contentious battle to save Victorian Bradford in the mid-1970s. The scholarship on both Chesterfield and Bradford captures the broad terms of the debates in both communities, but the focus on comprehensive planning and urban renewal as ideological programmes has tended to efface the vibrant and participatory coalitions that emerged at the intersection of oppositional politics and heritage enthusiasm. This article follows the volatile fortunes of the ‘Save the Market’ campaigns in Bradford and Chesterfield, tracing them from initial formation to ultimate significance. Between 1969 and 1976, legislative changes around listing and planning participation, local government scandals, and national economic fortunes structured the fates of the Chesterfield and Bradford campaigns. The first section will lay out this timeline and its key actors. The second section will focus on three thematic claims shared by Bradford and Chesterfield activists. The first of these claims was fiscal: the retail market relieved rates and was a small business hub; therefore, its preservation was integral to the local economy. The second was political: the retail market was publicly owned asset, making its potential sale and redevelopment a flashpoint of ratepayer activism against undemocratic local government. The final was preservationist: markets incubated a vision of provincial heritage in the Midlands and West Yorkshire that was adjacent to, rather than emblematic of, the more visible industrial manufacturing heritage of these locales. The heritage campaigns in Bradford and Chesterfield inflected the market’s transhistorical qualities to different degrees, each grappling with the market as both a material and immaterial institution worth preserving. The third section will assess both the systemic and tactical reasons for Bradford and Chesterfield markets’ divergent fortunes. The final section reads the preservationist proposal for Chesterfield’s market hall and market place, developed by the architectural firm Feilden + Mawson, focusing specifically on how their survey process and socio-economic rationale cultivated the market place’s inherent ‘publicness’. After the Feilden + Mawson designed town centre opened in 1981, Chesterfield Civic Society chairman Michael Brayshaw warned that there was a ‘real danger of the story of the fight to save Chesterfield Market Place being rewritten’ as the triumph of architects and politicians, rather than activists and amenity societies.17 Brayshaw’s comments speak to a lived, emotional divide between ‘the people’ and ‘the professionals’ within anti-development urban social movements; this article will explore how this dichotomy played out in the defence of urban retail space, and how the lived heritage of public commerce fuelled preservation campaigns in late 1960s and early 1970s provincial England. At Risk: Bradford and Chesterfield’s Market Areas in the Mid-Twentieth Century Bradford’s Kirkgate Market, built in 1878, had been the subject of preservation versus redevelopment debates since the inter-war period. The Victorian hall was first slated for demolition in 1936, when estate agent Sam Chippendale ‘came within one vote’ of developing the site. This initial setback proved to be merely a blip in the otherwise successful career of Chippendale and his firm, Arndale. In 1969—after a series of soap-operatic twists and turns involving notorious architect and local government briber John Poulson18—Bradford Council granted Town and City Properties (a subsidiary of Arndale) the contract for market redevelopment. Arndale’s proposed complex promised multiple levels of shopping, dining, exhibition space, a hotel, and over 400 parking spaces. The new market would be built beside the old Victorian hall, which would be pulled down after construction ended to ensure uninterrupted market trading.19 Bradford’s market trading and wider business community were the first to oppose the proposed redevelopment. Archie Edgar, Secretary of the Bradford Market Tenants’ Association, argued that Kirkgate’s independent businesses benefited council and citizen alike: the £60,000 annual revenue generated by the market subsidized the local government’s ‘follies’, while cafés, bargain shopping, and personable stall holders were an ‘essential element in the life and character of the city’.20 The local Chamber of Trade similarly opposed the Council’s myopic dealings. As large-ownership outfits consolidated control over Bradford’s Central Business District and supermarkets capitalized on rising car ownership in the suburbs, independent retailers in the city centre were desperate to maintain the magnetic shopping draw provided by Kirkgate.21 Finally, the newly organized Bradford Ratepayers’ Association represented residents’ interests in the argument for the market as a local economic engine. They chastised the Council for ‘dispensing with an asset’ owned by the taxpayers and vital to funding public services, all in exchange for a private, £3.7 million development.22 In the fall of 1970, this language was put into action when the Ratepayers’ Association called for a public inquiry into the Kirkgate Market redevelopment proposal, specifically the Council’s compulsory purchase order for a number of businesses within the Kirkgate clearance area.23 Although public opinion—marked by a 30,000-strong petition—was on the side of these citizen-activists, the legal chances were stacked against the objectors from the start. Planning permission had been granted to Arndale in May 1970, and market tenants and their business and resident allies were not the owners of the land up for compulsory purchase.24 The government inspector and the Secretary of State for the Environment recommended compulsory purchase for Kirkgate in December 1970, all but ensuring that the site would be redeveloped along the lines of the Bradford Council-Arndale plan. In many ways, the 1960s fate of Chesterfield’s market ran parallel to that of Bradford’s. In 1962, the Council designated the market place as a Central Development Area (CDA), envisioning the open trading area and the 1857-built Victorian hall to be replaced with an enclosed building.25 By the time Chesterfield Council partnered with Hammerson property developers on the CDA contract in 1967, 5 years of delay had further run down the area and reinforced its ‘obsolescence’ and ‘blight’. With a group of Labour modernizers at the helm, Chesterfield Council and Hammerson released their final CDA scheme to the city in the fall of 1972: a 5-acre megastructure of two shopping malls and 630 parking places that shrunk Chesterfield’s open market to a circumscribed corner of the precinct-dominated centre.26 The defenders of Chesterfield Market benefited from two crucial government initiatives unavailable to their Bradford predecessors. One was a new Town and Amenity Bill, which closed loopholes that allowed listed and unlisted buildings to be demolished on local authorities’ watches (as was the case in Bradford). This national initiative was echoed on the international stage: in 1972, the European Architectural Heritage Year (EAHY) began as a 3 year-year process of ‘focusing the attention on the need to preserve and enhance architectural heritage’.27 Chesterfield Civic Society saw an ‘amusing piece of double think’ in Chesterfield’s concurrent EAHY activity and their dogged desire to redevelop the market place, while letters to a Hammerson executive and to Prince Philip (both members of the EAHY council, the latter as its UK president) urged a reappraisal of the market’s architectural and historic heritage.28 As Chesterfield’s amenity societies and professional associations shored up public support for their market campaign, Bradford’s protesters limped towards the end of their fight. As the new Bradford Arndale shopping centre neared completion in May 1973, Secretary of State for the Environment Geoffrey Ripon made a snap decision to spot list the doomed Kirkgate Market.29 This renewed pressure from the KMAC, a group made up of college and university lecturers, heritage enthusiasts, and local councillors. However, this flurry of action proved to be Kirkgate’s dying gasp rather than the start of a new campaign: Bradford Council pressed ahead and set the market demolition order for November 1973.30 As Kirkgate demolition began, Chesterfield was fighting to stave off a similar fate. Yet both local and national events in April 1974 pushed the preservationist argument in a new direction. After Labour returned to national power in early 1974, the ratepayer refrain about over-investment was echoed by an unlikely source: Hammerson. Chancellor Denis Healey’s new budget introduced a steep hike in business rates and a new finance bill, prompting the property developers to declare it would be ‘imprudent, indeed irresponsible’ to invest in a large-scale project—estimated at £6 million by early 1974.31 In addition to this capital crunch at the top, there were corresponding financial concerns among Chesterfield’s citizens. Oil Crisis inflation, local government reorganization, and the expansion of council services had increased the rates disproportionately in the north of England.32 In the end, it was Chesterfield Market’s coherency of historic and picturesque buildings that proved to be its saving grace. In August, the Peacock Inn—a fifteenth-century inn on the south side of the market place—was spot listed after the Town and Country Amenity Bill came into law. Chesterfield Borough Council, under the new listing legislation, would need to start another inquiry process into the demolition of the Peacock. The saga dragged on until April 1975, when the delay of the project, the prospect of another battle with the town’s heritage and amenity societies, and a faltering national economy officially severed the relationship between Hammerson and the Council, ostensibly ending Chesterfield’s post-war pursuit of comprehensive development.33 The trajectory from market redevelopment reveal to either demolition (in the case of Bradford) or reprieve (in the case of Chesterfield) underscores the pace and polyvocality of planning legislation and politics in late 1960s and early 1970s Britain. The slightly later timing of the Chesterfield campaign undoubtedly played a role in the market’s reprieve, but it would be determinist and teleological to privilege planning and preservation chronologies over the interpersonal and intersectional networks that worked within and alongside these legislative developments. In both Bradford and Chesterfield, the historic and contemporary form and function of the retail market spurred activism from a diverse field of citizens and politicians. As the next section shows, delving deeper into the relationship between associational life and the particularities of the market as urban place shifts the focus of the preservation campaigns from final outcomes to the contingent nature of urban social movements. Asset Management: The Retail Market as Public Space Bradford’s and Chesterfield’s market tenants, small business owners, and shoppers opposed the respective market schemes for a host of reasons, but one of the most trenchant appeals in both locales was to the public purse. By the early 1970s, anti-development critics could point to high-profile city centre redevelopment in cities like Birmingham, Sheffield, and Blackburn, projects which some decried as ‘white elephants’ where only national stores could afford rents.34 The letters to the editor page in the DT became a sounding board for citizens across the country who relayed their own local markets’ histories as cautionary tales against overdevelopment. When open markets transformed into indoor shopping precincts, these letters claimed, the change not only created commercial voids in the centre but also pushed much-needed custom to other towns where character-filled—and affordable—open markets still existed.35 In the lived experience of these letter writers, a large town like Chesterfield only maintained its ‘edge’ over nearby centres in Sheffield, Barnsley, and Rotherham because of its increasingly unique open-air market.36 This fiscal argument linked the concerns of shoppers with the concerns of traders. In Bradford, for example, market tenants were unimpressed after touring Arndale-redeveloped markets in Nelson and Bolton, more certain than ever that Kirkgate was a Victorian hall worth preserving. Traders and shoppers shared a fundamental belief that a retail market was a low-cost, low-revenue form of shopping that was threatened by property developers’ concept of profit. Archie Edgar, President of the Kirkgate Market Tenants’ Association, championed the retail market’s irreplaceable value for a city like Bradford, where the prevailing low wage level meant that ‘the market style of shopping has more appeal for the less well-off’.37 These sentiments were echoed in Chesterfield’s defence. Allowing Hammerson to develop the market would also mean higher rents for market stallholders and trickle-down effects on their customers, often those working-class residents, who suffered from nearby industrial redundancies, or their wives, who had to work with smaller household budgets and higher market prices.38 At the heart of the disagreement between those who wished to modernize the market and those who wished to retain its present atmosphere was this question of real versus prospective shopping trends: Should retail planning attempt to pull back affluent customers who had strayed to larger shopping areas, or should it cater to those locals who depended on easy access to affordable everyday goods?39 The retail market—where the state had historically guaranteed quality goods at competitive prices—was thus the site where the financial concerns of the shopper and the small shopkeeper or market tenant collided. In its immediacy and its localness, the threat to both Bradford and Chesterfield market scaled down Britain’s ‘national’ crises over inflation and the potential limit to economic growth. The financial objections to the private–public development partnerships in Bradford and Chesterfield also stemmed from a deeper distrust of local government policy in the early 1970s. How could the market, an institution nominally owned by the ratepayers of Bradford, be entrusted to outside firms with no opportunity for debate? In Bradford, the group at the helm of this subterfuge was Development Committee, who had neither put the market issue to public debate nor allowed the press or public to be present when they agreed on the Arndale contract.40 Bradford Council’s previous dealings with John Poulson exacerbated this distrust of elected leaders; one Kirkgate supporter likened the controversy to Nixon’s Watergate and deemed historic buildings to be some of Poulson’s most visible victims.41 Kirkgate’s defenders played up the site’s collective ‘good’ against the financial and political machinations of a Council where ‘all shades of political opinion are deluded by the chimera of progress’.42 As the Kirkgate cause became a rallying cry against over-development, it created strange bedfellows in Bradford’s local government. Although the Tories had controlled Bradford Council since 1967, their tacit support of Labour-initiated development schemes raised the ire of populist, fiscally prudent Conservatives. Independent Conservative Jim Merrick opposed the fact that the press and public had not been party to the Development Committee’s decision in 1969, and ultimately faulted the Council for entering into such a high-cost scheme where Bradford’s assets would be redirected towards a private development company.43 In public, Merrick painted Bradford’s declinism in broader strokes, equating the city’s falling birth rate to a ‘city dying from bankruptcy’.44 Merrick is better remembered as the founder of the Yorkshire Campaign to Stop Immigration in June 1970, a parallel cause that curiously had no direct overlap with his fight to preserve Bradford’s built heritage. Yet Merrick’s explicit critiques, along with his broader political background, suggest how ratepayer activism positioned a populist-tinged local citizenship against the misguided policies of the Council. The retail market—a civic asset which belonging to just such an imagined ‘people’—helped focus these debates in place. Echoing Merrick’s sentiments on the Bradford Left was Christopher Vincenzi, a lawyer with links to local Quaker and trade union circles, as well as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Elected as a Labour Councillor in late 1970, Vincenzi was part of the generation of younger local Labour politicians whose radical politics stood in opposition to the Wilson national establishment.45 Vincenzi threw himself into the battle for local participatory democracy: he joined and eventually fronted the KMAC, with whom he battled the Council’s Kirkgate-ambivalent Labour Group on behalf of the city’s pro-Kirkgate Labour Party.46 Kirkgate Market’s meaning to the urban Left (Vincenzi) and the anti-immigrant, populist Right (Merrick) is testament both to the market’s public capacity and to the splintering of traditional political platforms in late 1960s and early 1970s Britain. The critique of an overly commercial and unnecessarily obtuse Council was likewise central to the Chesterfield campaign. Hammerson might have been the London-based villains who saw the market place as a mere ‘financial reward’, but Chesterfield Council was the enabler in this perverse ‘fling’.47 Yet while Bradford’s KMAC and Councillors like Merrick had fixated on the misguided policies that transcended party politics, Chesterfield’s campaign was much more partisan. Echoing the intra-Labour critiques of Vincenzi in Bradford, Chesterfield Heritage Society President Graham Robinson claimed that the Chesterfield Labour Group, in eliminating the ‘common people’ from the planning process, was not only going against the national Labour Party platform but was endangering the market as the citizenry’s birthright since its 1204 charter.48 Robinson pounced on the paradox at the heart of Chesterfield’s Labour leadership, that a supposedly ‘socialist’ party had sided with private developers and ignored democratic process, and harnessed the market’s transhistorical appeal as the ideal vehicle for a campaign against the materialist, short-sighted policies wrought by a political party who claimed legitimacy by representing ‘the people’. As in Bradford, the Chesterfield platforms built on the market issue gained their legitimacy from a belief that the urban or town development ethos risked severing the bond of consent between governors and governed. The serving of a writ to Chesterfield Council on 1 April 1974, was the symbolic height of this ratepayer citizenship. Graham Robinson, market trader Roy Davidson, and Bill Kennerley exploited an obscure element of the Local Government Act of 1933 in which ratepayers might appeal to the courts for a statutory declaration that their Council was mishandling the public purse or local public assets. The idea of the writ was floated to the Chesterfield Heritage Society by Christopher Booker and Bennie Gray, freelance journalists investigating council–developer dealings, mostly in London.49 Chesterfield’s writ servers accused the Council and Hammerson of entering into a relationship that was not in the financial interests of the town’s ratepayers and was therefore unlawful because it would lead to a ‘deficiency in the council’s accounts’.50 Although the writ was withdrawn 10 days later, this tactic of ratepayer activism jump-started a new phase in the fight to save Chesterfield Market. A fresh petition, a public march on the Town Hall, and renewed national publicity pushed Chesterfield further into the preservation limelight.51 Groups like the Bradford Ratepayers Association or individuals like Graham Robinson fed the civic narrative that British retail markets were run by local councils and their market committees on behalf of the ratepayers. Residents who lived within the bounds of the town or city and paid into its public services benefited from the market’s cluster of competitive businesses and its modest relief of the local rates. The entry of the private developer into this political–economic relationship, therefore, raised larger ideological questions over the role of local government as independent capitalist operators beyond the check of local ratepayers. Citizens campaigned to save local markets not only because they cornerstones of the local commerce but because they suggested a form of civic belonging that transcended the machinations of contemporary councils. At their ideological cores, then, the campaigns to save Bradford’s and Chesterfield’s markets were battles over the right to define local historical value and character. In Bradford, the KMAC—contemporaries of the more famous Covent Garden Community Association—used the language of heritage to argue for participatory, citizen-centric notions of planning. With its ties to the Complementary Studies department at the Bradford College of Art52 and with Christopher Vincenzi acting as a bridge to Council politics, the KMAC consolidated different registers of the urban Left in provincial Britain. Headed initially by Graham Carey, a veteran of neighbouring heritage societies and a lecturer at a local teacher training college, they argued that preservation could not only save Kirkgate as a building but Bradford as a democracy. Carey’s letters to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government,53The Times,54 and the citizenry of Bradford55—not to mention his frequent letters to the editor of the Bradford Telegraph and Argus—made explicit connections between the lack of political transparency and the dearth of heritage listing in Bradford. In his estimation, ‘if statutory listing and architectural merit can be judged without reference to the affections of at least 30,000 persons then the appropriate Civil Servants need to be replaced by ones who are more aware that there is a connection between life and art’.56 In KMAC ephemera and in testimony to the public inquiry, Carey celebrated the generational and stylistic linkage the market provided, particularly as it served as a foil to comprehensive development’s sterile ‘isolation in time’. This line of argument echoed the Civic Amenities’ conception of ‘character’, which the Council refused to recognize and thus to protect in legislation.57 As Carey developed an argument for the affective local character of the market, he recruited regional and national experts to speak to the architectural merit of Kirkgate. Derek Linstrum (Senior Lecturer, Leeds School of Architecture) and Derek William Buckler (preservationist architect, Manchester) called Bradford ‘undoubtedly the finest’ of the northern market halls, referring both to the regional importance of its architects (Lockwood and Mason) and to its ability to cohere entire parts of Victorian Bradford. Buckler agreed with Linstrum and even went a step further, drawing up a renovation plan to resolve the market’s structural issues while preserving its historic character.58 Bolstering the local expertise of Linstrum and Buckler were the national champions of nineteenth-century architecture, John Betjeman and the Victorian Society. Initially, the Victorian Society did not recognize Kirkgate as one of the best markets in Yorkshire, although they came to appreciate its ‘atmosphere’.59 Far more than his Victorian Society cohort, Betjeman openly embraced the place-based, emotional case for Kirkgate: in his mind, ‘the other parts of [Bradford] are a bit like you see anywhere, whereas Kirkgate is Bradford’.60 Betjeman urged town fathers to heed the mistakes made in towns like Birmingham and not to destroy Bradford’s ‘robust and human-scale’ Victorian architecture for modernist ‘slabs and cubes’ that dehumanized people (Fig. 1).61 Betjeman echoed a refrain that had been growing in certain Bradford circles for a decade: that modernist renewal had destroyed the buildings that made Bradford legible to its residents and unique as a coherent townscape.62 Kirkgate’s physical anchoring of Bradford’s Victorian commercial and architectural core was a final bulwark against the complete modernist transformation of the city. Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Hand-crafted poster from KMAC Campaign. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2. Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Hand-crafted poster from KMAC Campaign. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2. Like the KMAC in Bradford, the Chesterfield Heritage Society helped define why the market’s ‘historic’ qualities were worthy of protecting in light of the mounting backlash against comprehensive renewal. Graham Robinson leveraged the language of deep, ancient England connoted by open market commerce. The romance of the market’s ‘sights, smells, and sounds’, essentially ‘unchanged since the Magna Carta’, was a capacious, transitive, and malleable celebration of local history.63 This rallying cry was diametrically opposed to Chesterfield’s Labour leader, Jock Anderson (a ‘Napoleon’ or ‘Stalin’ figure to some), whose mantra—‘if you conserve too much, you get ruins, and if you get ruins, there is no-one in them’—underpinned his neophilic attitudes.64 Cestrefeldians living in Cambridge, West Lothian, and even Seneca Falls, NY, decried this ‘monstrous act of vandalism’, the ‘proposed rape of Chesterfield Market Place’ that would ‘tear down the past and replace it with buildings of rather dubious character’.65 The destruction of not only the market hall but also the open market place was a key difference between the Bradford and the Chesterfield cases.66 To its Chesterfield defenders, the market place transcended economic and architectural worth: it had been the town’s meeting area since the reign of King John, where the populace might ‘trade, celebrate, loaf, harangue, or even riot’.67 Knights, orators, electioneers, and Salvation Army workers had all crossed the market’s cobbles, each contributing a new historical layer to the town’s political culture.68 Whereas Kirkgate’s defenders ultimately tried to use the site’s Victorian architectural merit as its possible saving grace, Chesterfield’s activists seized on the market place’s ancient provenance and its constantly evolving historic character. This focus on intangible rather than tangible heritage would prove beneficial for the ‘Save the Market’ campaign in the Derbyshire town. The DT letters section became a forum for lively debate over whether shopping space constituted built heritage. The newspaper editors often featured pro-development dissenting letters to ferment discussion and disagreement; in April 1974, Margaret Ferns’s rejoinder that Chesterfield should ‘get on making this town a beautiful town’ drew a line between the modern shopping amenities of Doncaster, Sheffield, or Mansfield and appropriate heritage leisure supported by stately homes like Hardwick Hall or Bolsover Castle.69 However, the vast majority of published correspondence spoke of heritage not as a matter of architectural significance or aristocratic association, but as a feature of quotidian regional identity. The belief that Chesterfield Market was ‘natural social point’, with its ‘quaint irregularities’, ‘individuality’, and ‘ancient heritage’ pushed against the narrative that developers should and could improve the commercial character of market towns. Chesterfield’s market place was heritage because it had survived the era of urban renewal that had transformed Birmingham’s and Sheffield’s retail markets into ‘graffito-lined concrete jungles’.70 In Chesterfield, heritage was not a hermetically sealed time capsule of England’s past, but the product of daily or weekly commerce and sociability in town’s retail core. Cestrefeldian women’s organizations proved to be some of the most vocal and vital supporters of this usable, everyday past that was practiced at the market. Eighty members of Brampton’s Women’s Guild voted to save Chesterfield Market—not along partisan lines but as ‘townswomen’.71 Women’s Institutes likewise threw their support behind the cause, fearing that: The market place is in danger of being lost forever in the interest of private profit…We believe that market squares, village greens, common land and footpaths belong to the people and that right—fought for and won at no little cost by our forebears—cannot be taken away without proof that these ancient rights have no longer a valid purpose.72 Compared to the exclusively male leadership of the Bradford campaign, the alliance of women’s groups with ratepayers and preservationists opened the Chesterfield campaign to the intersection of localized social identities. As the managers of their household budgets, Chesterfield’s women addressed the Council’s poor financial dealings in terms of their own economic logic. As opposed to the KMAC’s political pointedness and arguments for architectural merit, Chesterfield activists used the unbuilt features of market places to argue for their intersectional, transhistorical value and their relevance to rural, village, and town heritage. Divergent Tactics, Different Outcomes How, then, did Chesterfield’s heritage-based, anti-development campaign succeed while Bradford’s failed? Timing is one of the most telling differences. Kirkgate’s defenders fought without the 1974 Amenities Act and the impending EAHY on their side; each of these developments was a concerted political effort to mitigate local authorities’ destruction of conservation areas. When Secretary Rippon spot listed Kirkgate Market in May 1973, there was little recourse for turning listing into preservation, so demolition followed apace. Conversely, when the Peacock Inn was spot listed only 15 months later, the reorganization of local government and the teeth of the 1974 Act provided the planning and preservation apparatus that could save Chesterfield Market. There were also differences in economic timing: Hammerson pulled out of Chesterfield due to a national budget unfavourable to property development, while much of the debate and decision-making in Bradford took place pre-Oil Crisis, during the era of shopping development boom. Though it may seem cynical to attribute preservationist triumphs to the economic downturn in Britain during the early 1970s, planning historians have noted that these constraints must be recognized alongside the social movement angle.73 Focusing on both localities allows us to see how the particularities of place as well as of time conditioned public receptiveness to development versus preservation. As Simon Gunn has shown, Bradford was a well-worn testing ground for ‘functionalist modernism’ since the first wave of post-war development plans. The slow-down of the local woollen and worsted industries and the outsourcing of manufacturing to peripheral sites only exacerbated the sense of the city centre as a Victorian holdover in need of redevelopment. Chesterfield’s claim to a more transhistorical ‘market town’ character, however, was a salient line of defence. While the town supported a group of manufacturing and engineering firms—along with mining communities further afield—the open market retained pride of place as a public economic stage where consumer and trader had met face-to-face for almost 800 years. Hammerson’s proposal cut to the mythical heart of Chesterfield in a much more destructive manner than Arndale’s in a waning urban–industrial stronghold. While Bradford had defenders of nineteenth-century urbanism like John Betjeman, Ian Nairn, and native son J. B. Priestley on its side, Chesterfield had the romance of pre-modern commerce. Comparing Bradford and Chesterfield reminds us that blanket applications of ‘heritage industry’ or ‘conservation’ do not go far enough to explain the local cultures that underpin the preservation of socio-economic place. Beyond these structural pre-conditions, political tactics and tone further distinguished the Bradford and Chesterfield ‘Save the Market’ campaigns. In Bradford, the anger at the Development Committee and the lack of consultation or democratic process spoke to a general distrust in the political system. Working in the wake of the Skeffington Report on public participation and planning, the Redcliffe Maud Report on local government, and the Poulson Affair, the KMAC and their allies saw corruption across the political spectrum. In Chesterfield, the Hammerson scheme was laid squarely at Labour’s feet, with the local party becoming a stand-in for fears about the Left’s capitulation to capitalist developers in the name of ‘progress’.74 The Tories were then able to ally with civic and amenity societies as the defenders of Chesterfield’s historic character and sensitive development. Whereas Bradford’s public silencing was endemic of local government corruption, Chesterfield’s market activists characterized Labour Group’s control of the town as an irony at the heart of the social democratic party. These political overtones shaped the organization and tactics of the Bradford and Chesterfield campaigns. In Bradford, the KMAC had initially played a vital role in the coalition of market traders, ratepayers, and small shopkeepers; their members’ backgrounds in amenity and heritage societies unified arguments around local heritage and conservation, and while Bradford was exceptional in its brief attraction of both right-wing and radical branches of 1970s urban social movements,75 this solidarity was fleeting. By the end of the campaign, the radical left of Bradford’s student and lecturer movements carried the banner for Kirkgate. Consider the final act of Kirkgate’s activists, a ‘send off’ during the last day of trading. Spear-headed by the Welfare State Group,76 thirty-three young people enacted a funeral march from City Hall to the market, where they staged a sit-in and sang ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’ (Fig. 2).77 The market tenants, going about their business closing up stalls on the last day of trading, were not overly impressed with these tactics.78 Speaking a few years after the demolition of the market and the opening of the new building, Christopher Vincenzi remarked, ‘we were concerned with the social and aesthetic side of the building, whereas the traders were concerned with the economic, the financial’.79 While Kirkgate’s public revenue, ownership, and history had originally attracted a cross-section of Bradford’s political class from fiscally conservative right to counterculture left, the tenuous cooperation of this movement plagued the market cause through its last days in 1973. Figure 2 View largeDownload slide Requiem for Kirkgate Market, Tony Coult, and Baz Kershaw, eds, Engineers of the Imagination (London, 1983), 2. Figure 2 View largeDownload slide Requiem for Kirkgate Market, Tony Coult, and Baz Kershaw, eds, Engineers of the Imagination (London, 1983), 2. Compared to Bradford, Chesterfield’s campaign was an exercise in moderate, inter-sectional protection of public space. A vocal contingent of Chesterfield women and middle-class professionals defended the intrinsic heritage of the market, drawing from a well of political, civic, and architectural knowledge to strengthen Chesterfield’s national and international relevance. This coalition proved to be much longer lasting than Bradford’s, in part because economic conditions turned in conservation’s favour, but also because the politics of the cause appealed to a broad spectrum of opinion. Retail markets attracted a range of support by virtue of the architectural distinction they embodied, the economic solidarities they enabled, and the civic stakeholding they engendered. Yet ‘public’ outrage was not identical across Bradford and Chesterfield. This final section will turn to the mid-1970s preservation plan for Chesterfield Market, and the mode through which Cestrefeldians became active incubators of local history and participation in the market’s renewal. Preserving Publicness: Bernard Feilden and Chesterfield Townscape Hammerson’s departure brought an end to 1960s comprehensive planning in Chesterfield, but debate remained over who would design and construct a sensitive renewal of the market area. The constrained national economic climate necessitated a phased scheme that would at least partially conserve the buildings surrounding the market place.80 In early 1976, Chesterfield Council and the Department of the Environment approached conservation architect Bernard Feilden of the Norwich-based firm Feilden + Mawson to consult on the new survey of the town and its historic built fabric. A firm committed to conservation and townscape principles, Feilden + Mawson sought to balance ‘fabric and function’, or, the built environment that they could control and citizens’ uses of these places and spaces in everyday life.81 As part of their Central Area study, the consultant architects distributed 350 questionnaires to primary and secondary schools, churches, senior clubs, women’s organizations, and miners’ organizations. The firm found that the majority of respondents were sympathetic to the conservation ethos, with buildings like the Town Hall, the Crooked Spire of the Church of St Mary and All Saints, and especially the market serving as key focal points in the visual and narrative map that Cestrefeldians made for themselves (Fig. 3). In addition to this citizen outreach, Feilden + Mawson consulted with the Civic and Heritage Societies from the initial stages of their survey, a gesture that members of these societies called a ‘breath of fresh air’ after years of impasse with Hammerson.82 For Feilden + Mawson, heritage design and building preservation facilitated conversations between past and present, individual and community, and the multitudes of publics who comprised local civil society. Figure 3 View largeDownload slide Primary school responses to Feilden + Mawson questionnaire. Chesterfield Central Area Study (1976). Reproduced with the gracious permission of Chesterfield Borough Council. Figure 3 View largeDownload slide Primary school responses to Feilden + Mawson questionnaire. Chesterfield Central Area Study (1976). Reproduced with the gracious permission of Chesterfield Borough Council. The final Central Area study, published in May 1976, bridged Chesterfield’s unique character with pressing socio-economic concerns. Feilden + Mawson recognized the narrative of ‘dying’, ‘decline’, and ‘obsolescence’ that permeated public opinion in Chesterfield, not just in terms of industry but also in terms of retail competition.83 The realignment of shopping catchment to redeveloped Sheffield, Nottingham, Mansfield, Sutton, and Worksop was matched with fears about Chesterfield becoming a dormitory town for larger cities.84 Rather than challenging regional shopping competitors at their own game (‘resisting outsider commercial pressure’), Feilden + Mawson broke with Hammerson’s logic to argue that preservation made economic and business sense. Renovation of the market hall and its surrounding area would cost 30 per cent less than demolition and rebuilding, and in so doing would preserve the outline of Chesterfield’s recognizable character.85 Retention and selective improvement were the antidotes to what ailed Chesterfield in its current climate: the facts that the ‘unique market’ was the largest in the country and ‘attracted people from many miles around’ were the cornerstones of a new shopping plan.86 Furthermore, the underused spaces in the market hall could provide an art gallery or library space, a social hub that could bring ‘evening life’ back to the market place.87 In Feilden + Mawson’s estimation, the market hall and market place provided two concurrent linking functions: they connected people to a coherent past as they connected people in sociable space. From their survey techniques to their written report to their final product (completed in 1981), Feilden + Mawson privileged how the Cestrefeldian moved through and conceived of space, which in turn revealed how the market was a cornerstone in the physical and experiential map of the town. The market, they argued, was a focal point in the sensory landscape of the town and an ‘urban area in the best sense: a building of human scale strongly linked to human activity’.88 This ‘uniqueness’ also had a commercial valence. Feilden + Mawson put into practice the economic argument that activists and preservationists had been developing for years: as other regional markets succumbed to the precinct or Arndale model, the potential value of Chesterfield’s traditional market increased. Feilden + Mawson translated the ‘at risk’ heritage of the market to the ‘in demand’ character of atmospheric shopping places. The future prosperity of the town lay in its ancient assets, perhaps none more invaluable than the open market place. Conclusion The strategies and recommendations of the Feilden + Mawson Chesterfield proposal corroborate Raphael Samuel’s analysis of heritage in recession: as local economies and the public sector collapsed in the late 1970s and early 1980s, conservation became the new preferred mode to tackle urban blight.89 This article has explored the different origins and permutations of this renewal policy, and how the politics of place shaped local preservationist activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I have argued that the specifics of site matter when we discuss how citizens chose to champion heritage as a form of ‘active’ citizenship in the post-war period. The British retail market was a literal meeting point in countless cities and towns, and its role as a palimpsest of different epochs meant that it had a remarkable ability to cultivate multidimensional forms of civic belonging. The markets in Bradford and Chesterfield tapped into economic arguments by virtue of their affordability, fuelled anti-political establishment moods through their ‘collective’ function, and embodied a transcendent form of local commercial history. The heritage politics of the ‘Save the Market’ campaign, therefore, must be contextualized as part of the early 1970s juncture in social democracy, when ‘popular individualism’ was not yet a forefather of Thatcherism, but a diffuse mode of articulating and enacting citizenship.90 In Bradford and Chesterfield, actions such as letter writing, writ serving, public marching, and collaborative planning tied subjective ideas of ‘belonging’ to local economic places, as retailers and consumers linked with politicians, students, and Victorian architecture enthusiasts to defend ‘traditional’ forms of shopping. The power of Kirkgate and Chesterfield markets to gather these political alliances and to speak across registers of local, national, and international commercial and architectural ‘value’ reminds us that British retail heritage is an invaluable, if understudied, node in cultural and economic histories of place. Historians working on Germany have started to interrogate this phenomenon with the nostalgia for corner stores,91 while scholars in the USA see similar modes emerging in the romance of ‘downtown’ as a shopping landscape of the past.92 This article has argued that the British traditional retail market helped local communities imagine retail and consumption as an asset run for the benefit of ‘the people’, and that retail market heritage was predicated on recovering a historic, commercial ‘public’ to challenge the promise of public–private development. The social history of the Chesterfield campaign—told in conjunction with the unsuccessful Bradford struggle only 70 miles away—reveals that this brand of heritage did not emerge from an undifferentiated national and political field, but is the uneven, participatory process of local stakeholders challenging the deficiencies of the present by constructing a particular narrative of the past. Footnotes 1 Roy Jenkins was then between stints as Labour Shadow Chancellor and Shadow Home Secretary. 2 Letter to the editor, Derbyshire Times (hereafter LE, DT) Jennifer Jenkins, 30 March 1973. 3 Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, ‘Letters to the Editor as a Forum for Public Deliberation: Modes of Publicity and Democratic Debate’, Critical Studies in Media Communication, 18 (2001), 304. 4 Ben Jackson and Robert Saunders, eds, Making Thatcher’s Britain (Cambridge, 2012); Lawrence Black et al., eds, Reassessing 1970s Britain (Manchester, 2013). 5 Emily Robinson et al., ‘Telling Stories about Post-War Britain: Popular Individualism and the “Crisis” of the 1970s’, Twentieth Century British History, 28, (2017), 279–80. 6 For a contemporary account, see Roger King and Neill Nugent, eds, Respectable Rebels: Middle Class Campaigns in Britain (London, 1979); for a recent historical study, see David Ellis, ‘On Taking (Back) Control: Lessons from Community Action in 1970s Britain’, Renewal, 25 (2017), 53–61. 7 Sophie Andreae, ‘From Comprehensive Development to Conservation Areas’, in Michael Hunter, ed., Preserving the Past: The Rise of Modern Heritage in Britain (London, 1996), 142; John Pendlebury and Tim Townshend, ‘The Conservation of Historic Areas and Public Participation’, Journal of Architectural Conservation, 5 (1999), 72; Pendlebury, Conservation in the Age of Consensus (London, 2008), 6; Miles Glendinning, The Conservation Movement: A History of Architectural Preservation (London, 2013), 403. 8 Peter Larkham, ‘The Place of Urban Conservation in the UK Reconstruction Plans of 1942-1952’, Planning Perspectives, 18 (2003), 311. 9 Colin Buchanan and Partners, Bath: A Study in Conservation (London, 1968); Viscount Esher, York, Study in Conservation (London, 1968); D Insall and Partners, Chester (London, 1968); GS Burrows, Chichester: A Study in Conservation (London, 1968); Roy Worksett, The Character of Towns (London, 1969); John Delafons, Politics and Preservation: A Policy History of the Built Heritage, 1882-1996 (London, 1996), 98. 10 David Eversley, ‘Conservation for the Minority?’, Built Environment, 3 (1974), 14–15; Timothy Cantell, ‘Why Conserve?’, The Planner, 61 (1975), 6–10; Pendlebury and Townsend, ‘The Conservation of English Cultural Built Heritage: A Force for Social Inclusion?’, International Journal of Heritage Studies 10 (2004), 11–31. 11 Robert Hewison, The Heritage Industry: Britain in a Climate of Decline (London, 1987); Patrick Wright, On Living in an Old Country: The National Past in Contemporary Britain (London, 1985); Neal Ascherson, ‘Why Heritage Is Right-Wing’, The Observer, 8 November 1987; Pendlebury, ‘Conservation, Conservatives and Consensus: The Success of Conservation under the Thatcher and Major Governments, 1979-1997’, Planning Theory and Practice, 1 (2000), 31–52. 12 Raphael Samuel, Theatres of Memory: Past and Present in Contemporary Culture (London, 2012), 303. 13 Rebecca Madgin, ‘Reconceptualising the Historic Urban Environment: Conservation and Regeneration in Castlefield, Manchester, 1960-2009’, Planning Perspectives 25 (2010), 29–48; Andrew G. McClelland, ‘A “Ghastly Interregnum”: The Struggle for Architectural Heritage Conservation in Belfast before 1972’, Urban History, published online 31 January 2017, 1–26; Erika Hanna, Modern Dublin: Urban Change and the Irish Past, 1957-1973 (Oxford, 2013); Kurt Iveson, ‘Building a City for “The People”: The Politics of Alliance-Building in the Sydney Green Ban Movement’, Antipode, 46 (2014), 992–1013. 14 Helen McCarthy and Pat Thane, ‘The Politics of Association in Industrial Society’, Twentieth Century British History, 22 (2011), 227. In 1976, 85 per cent of the civic societies in Britain had been founded since 1957. The largest single reason for their establishment was a major local planning development issue. Anthony Barker, The Local Amenity Movement (London, 1976), 7 and 21. On the archival wealth of civic societies, see Lucy Hewitt and John Pendlebury ‘Local Associations and Participation in Place: Change and Continuity in the Relationship between State and Civil Society in Twentieth-Century Britain’, Planning Perspectives, 29 (2014), 25–44. 15 Colin Amery and Dan Cruickshank, The Rape of Britain (London, 1975), 58; Alison Ravetz, Remaking Cities (London, 1980), 104–8; John Short, The Urban Arena: Capital, State and Community in Contemporary Britain (London, 1984), 145–6. 16 Simon Gunn, ‘The Rise and Fall of British Urban Modernism: Planning Bradford, Circa 1945-1970’, The Journal of British Studies, 49 (2010), 849–69. 17 Derbyshire Record Office (hereafter DRO), Matlock, Papers of the Chesterfield Civic Society, D6488/2/4, Michael Brayshaw, ‘The Redevelopment of Chesterfield Market Place’, paper given to the Rushcliffe Civic Centre for ‘Conservation and planning—Today and Tomorrow’ conference, 14 June 1986. 18 Although the links between Town and City and Poulson were tenuous, in 1962 Sam Chippendale did give Poulson 13,500 shares in the company. West Yorkshire Archive Service (hereafter WYAS), Bradford, Papers concerning campaign to save Kirkgate Market, Bradford from demolition, 73D90/1/3, Kirkgate Market Action Committee to the editor of Bradford Telegraph and Argus (hereafter T&A), 1 July 1973. 19 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Bradford City Council, Application for the confirmation of the City of Bradford (Kirkgate and Westgate) compulsory purchase order 1970, 5. 20 J. Sanderson, ‘Letter to the Editor—Wanton and reckless’, T&A, 19 November 1970. Denys Thornton, ‘Market Can Come Down, Rules Minister’, T&A, 14 July 1970. ‘Protest over £20 Rent in New Market’, T&A, 18 May 1970. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Archie Edgar, Evidence at Public Inquiry, 5. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Letter from Kirkgate Market Action Committee to the Minister of Housing and Local Government, 8 June 1970. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Archie Robert Edgar (Secretary, Market Tenants’ Association) evidence. 21 Bradford Chamber of Trade had 800 trader members and 2,000 associated members, all of them being retailers. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Application for compulsory purchase order, 11. C. Richardson, A Geography of Bradford (University of Bradford, 1976), 142–3. 22 J. R. Hope, ‘Letter to the Editor—Questioning Wisdom of Losing This “Plum”’, T&A, 19 November 1970. 23 Denys Thornton, ‘Tangle Sets the Mind Boggling’, T&A, 16 November 1970. 24 Thornton, ‘Tangle Sets the Mind Boggling’. 25 DRO D6449/UL, Borough of Chesterfield. Redevelopment of central area explanatory statement, 1962. 26Civic Trust News 59 (January/February 1977), 13. 27 ‘European Architectural Heritage Year’, The Architects’ Journal, 9 August 1972. 28 DRO D6449, Chesterfield Civic Society, Chairman’s report and newsletter, September 1975. DRO D6488/2/14. Letter from Chesterfield Heritage Society to AO Kelting, joint managing director, Hammerson and member of executive council EAHY 1975, 6 May 1973 and Letter from Chesterfield Heritage Society to HRH Prince Philip, November 1973. 29 Denys Thornton, ‘Ministry Now Says Mechanics’ and Market “of Interest”’, T&A, 24 May 1973. 30 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/2, Letter from Kirkgate Market Action Committee to Secretary of State for the Environment, 9 June 1973. In 1973, the KMAC polled 500 Bradfordians and found almost 80 per cent of them in favour of preservation. Demolition of listed buildings was not rare, but the advent of Listed Building Consent in the late 1960s had cut the number of listed building demolitions by 25 per cent. Glendinning, 295. 31 ‘Strong chance of rethink on town centre’, DT, 12 April 1974. For more on the property crash in 1973–4, see Peter Scott, The Property Masters: A History of the British Commercial Property Sector (London, 1996), 194–200. 32 Neill Nugent, ‘The Ratepayers’, in King and Nugent, eds, Respectable Rebels (London, 1979), 30. 33 John Smith, ‘Hammerson Scheme Out? Phased Plan likely for Town-Centre Rebuilding’, DT, 4 April 1975. 34 G. Bradley (Bournemouth), LE, T&A, 13 May 1970. 35 V. Palmer, LE, DT, 16 March 1973; Geoffrey King (Tunbridge, Kent), LE, DT, 16 March 1973; Wright (Mansfield), LE, DT, 8 March 1974; Dorothy Bell (Penrith), LE, DT, 24 May 1974. 36 David and Shirley Fitzpatrick, ‘Chesterfield: Lessons in Destruction’, Built Environment, December 1974, 632. 37 Albert A. Swindlehurst, Bradford in 1970, 73D90/3/2. 38 Roger Mason, LE, DT, 12 January 1973; Marian Billinge, LE, DT, 2 March 1973. 39 Rachel Rush, LE, DT, 16 March 1973. 40 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/5, Copy of Letter to the Sunday Times, 27 May 1973. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Application for compulsory purchase order, 15. 41 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/2, Letter from John Gascoigne to the Editor of The Observer, 17 June 1973. 42 Graham Carey, ‘Time to Call a Public Meeting about Market’, T&A, 13 May 1970. 43 WYAS Bradford, BBD1/7/T14925, Letter from Councilor Jim Merrick to the Members of the Council, 10 October 1969. 44 Merrick, ‘Letter to the Editor’, T&A, 22 June 1970. 45 Stewart Lansley et al., Councils in Conflict: The Rise and Fall of the Municipal Left (Houndsmills, 1989), 5 and 9–10. 46 ‘Council Group Snubs Party over Market’, T&A, 7 October 1970. 47 Roger Mason, LE, DT, 12 January 1973; Elizabeth Broomhead, LE, DT, 21 June 1974. 48 T. G. Robinson, LE, DT, 19 February 1973. 49 Booker and Gray had been covering the fights to save both Covent Garden and Tolmers Square from the Greater London Council and Camden Council, respectively. DRO D6488/2/4, Brayshaw, ‘The Redevelopment of Chesterfield Market Place’; Nick Wates, The Battle for Tolmers Square (London, 1976), 105–6. 50 John Smith, ‘Writ Served over Plan for Town Centre’, DT, 5 April 1974. 51 Christopher Booker and Bennie Gray, ‘Ripping Out a Town’s Heart against the Citizens’ Wishes’, The Observer, 31 March 1974; ‘Campaign for Town Heritage’, The Guardian, 2 April 1974; Brian Carter and Dan Cruikshank, ‘Chesterfield Reprieved?’, The Architects’ Journal, 24 April 1974; Peter Smith, ‘Chesterfield and Rotherham’, Built Environment, June 1974, 276. 52 Albert Hunt’s Bradford Art College Theatre Group—devoted to alternative and activist theatre—was founded in 1968. This organization drew much of its intellectual ethos and personnel from the college’s Complementary Studies programme. Lecturer and KMAC secretary John Gascoigne would take an active role in community organizing and oral history projects in Bradford. Albert Hunt, Hopes for Great Happenings (London, 1976), 69–70 and 78–9. 53 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/1, Graham Carey to Anthony Dale (Chief Investigator, Historic Buildings Section), 26 August 1970. 54 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/1, Graham Carey, ‘Non-Conservation: Non-Democracy’, Letter to the Editor of The Times, n.d. 55 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/1, ‘Open Letter to the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Councillors and Officials of Bradford Corporation’ n.d. 56 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/1, ‘Non-Conservation: Non-Democracy’. 57 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Vote Kirkgate!, nd. WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Graham Carey evidence to public inquiry, 2. 58 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/3/2, Derek Linstrum testimony. ‘Same Exterior, Renovated Interior. “Old and new” Alternative Market Plan’, T&A, 23 October 1970. 59 London Metropolitan Archives, London, Papers of the Victorian Society, LMA 4460/01/35/003, Letter from David Lloyd to Jane Fawcett, 18 June 1970. 60 ‘Lovely Kirkgate Market Part of City’s Heart, says Sir John’, T&A, 14 November 1970. 61 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/4, Undated newspaper clipping, letter received by T&A. 62 Gunn, ‘Rise and Fall’, 864. Yorkshire Film Archive (hereafter YFA), film no. 1696, ‘The Glory that Was Bradford’, 1967. 63 ‘Save the Market Campaign Hots Up’. 64 ‘Town Project Could Add 4p in £on Rates’, DT, 19 October 1973. Anderson also feared Chesterfield would be a ‘torpid backwater’ if they did not redevelop. ‘Notes by the way—The Backwoodsmen Sharpen Their Axes’, DT, 11 May 1973. 65 Patrick Thomas (Cambridge), LE, DT, 19 January 1973. Margaret De V Wills (Whitburn, West Lothian), LE, DT, 16 March 1973. Mrs Patricia Preece (Seneca Falls), LE, DT, 23 March 1973. 66 Many Chesterfield residents who defended the market place actually welcomed the destruction of the market hall. Hardwick, LE, DT, 12 April 1974. David Powell, LE, DT, 3 May 1974. 67 T. G. Robinson, LE, DT, 16 February 1973. Simon Ward, LE, DT, 24 May 1974. 68 DRO, Papers of the Chesterfield Architectural Heritage Society, D6488/2/3, ‘Supporting Papers on the Redevelopment of Chesterfield’. 69 Margaret Ferns LE, DT, 12 and 26 April 1974. 70 Turner LE, DT, 19 April 1974. 71 Mary Robinson and Effie E Porter, LE, DT, 9 March 1973. 72 V. L. Miles, LE, DT, 13 April 1973. 73 Pendlebury, Conservation, 63. For the mid-1960s analogue, see Otto Saumarez Smith, ‘Central Government and Town-Centre Redevelopment in Britain, 1959-1966’ The Historical Journal, 58 (2015), 243. 74 Smith, ‘Chesterfield and Rotherham’, 276. Jeanette Bramley, LE, DT, 13 July 1973. ‘Town Centre Scheme to Go Ahead’, DT, 10 May 1974. Pro Bono Publico, LE, DT, 10 May 1974. 75 On the comparative ideology of local right- and left-wing politics in the 1970s, see Stuart Lowe, Urban Social Movements: The City After Castells (Houndmills, 1986), 118–51. 76 The Welfare State theatre group, founded by John Fox, had some overlap with the Albert Hunt’s Bradford College of Art group, including their collaboration on The Russian Revolution street performance in 1968. Hunt, Hopes, 68–9. 77 Stephen Cook, ‘33 Arrests during Kirkgate Protest’, T&A, 5 November 1973. 78 WYAS Bradford, 73D90/1/4, ‘Quick Knees-Up- and Traders Grunt “Goodbye”’, T&A clipping, n.d. 79 YFA, film no 1714, ‘New Plans, Old Loves’, 1974. 80 ‘Go-Ahead for yet another Town Centre Plan’, DT, 11 April 1975. 81 Chesterfield Borough Council, Chesterfield: Central Area Study (Chesterfield, 1976), 3.1; for more on Townscape, see Gordon Cullen, Townscape (London, 1961). 82 DRO D6488/2/5, Chesterfield Heritage Society, ‘Saving the Market: 1973-75’. 83 ‘Market Place “Could Become a Twilight Zone”’, DT, 30 January 1976. ‘A Dying Town?’, DT, 30 April 1976. 84 Chesterfield Borough Council, Chesterfield: Central Area Study, 2.1 85 ‘Preservation in Revised Town Plan’, DT, 11 June 1976. 86 Chesterfield Borough Council, Chesterfield: Central Area Study, 4.4. 87 Chesterfield Borough Council, Chesterfield: Central Area Study, 4.2–4.3. 88 Chesterfield Borough Council, Chesterfield: Central Area Study, 4.4 89 Samuel, Theatres of Memory, 292. 90 See Emily Robinson et al., ‘Telling Stories about Post-War Britain’. 91 Jan Logemann, ‘Remembering “Aunt Emma”: Small Retailing between Nostalgia and a Conflicted Past’ Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, 5 (2013), 151–71. 92 Vicki Howard, From Main Street to Mall: The Rise and Fall of the American Department Store (Philadelphia, 2015), 211–20; Alison Isenberg, Downtown America: A History of the Place and the People Who Made It (Chicago, 2004), 255–311. © The Author [2017]. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com

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