The Cattle Market

Penel Orlieu

The large open area now referred to as Penel Orlieu (which historically encompassed a larger area – from here area – once ‘Penel Street’ to the top of Clare Street (once Orlieu Street) was known for a very long time as ‘Pig Cross’. Here the town’s cattle markets were held. In the nineteenth century it was increasingly difficult to maintain Pig Cross as both a major thoroughfare as well as a market, so attention turned to having a properly dedicated market space. Wanting to keep the market as close to Pig Cross as possible, the Town Corporation purchased the Three Tuns Inn (a tun being a barrell) and some other adjoining property, and laid out the new market.

The Cattle Market from a postcard dated 3 July 1907. The card was sent to a Miss L Barlow of Seymore Road, Bristol, and the message reads: ‘Am sending you this because it contains a lot of men, as I know you are extra fond of that sex. Nellie will tell you all about our ride when you see her. Love from Bessie.
The building just out of shot on the right was the Mason’s Arms Inn.
The market from the 1888 OS 25 inch map. The small row of houses at the back of the market seem to have been demolished by the time of the postcard image above.

By the 1930s the market was becoming increasingly congested. Schemes to extend the market were put forward in 1931 and 1932, but the problem was found not to be the size of the market, but that farmers were increasingly bringing their livestock to market in lorries. As such a wholly new site was needed, which was found on Bath Road, near the railway bridge. The new market was laid out and opened in 1935. The old sheep markets held on West Street were also moved to the new site. These two markets are remembered by two adjoining pubs, the Old Market at Penel Orlieu and the New Market on Bath Road. The last market held at Penel Orlieu was held on 26 June 1935. The following year the Odeon Cinema, shop and flat complex was opened on the site.

Detail of the Drinking Fountain.
The market in about 1930, not long before it closed.

MKP 8 November 2019