Markets have always played an important part in the life of the people of Newcastle. The Grainger Market is in the heart of the city and is an integral part of Newcastle's Grainger Town. The market is a Grade I listed building and has a lettable area of 38,000 square feet making it one of the largest market halls in the country.
Richard Grainger, builder and developer, planned and constructed some of Newcastle's finest buildings and streets during the 1830's including Grainger Market, Theatre Royal, Grey Street, Grainger and Clayton Street. Together with John Dobson, an architect and engineer, their development transformed the town (Newcastle only became a city in 1882). Richard Grainger was said to 'have found Newcastle of bricks and timber and left it in stone, stone that still stands today'.
The Grainger Market was the town's first indoor market, situated between the New Gate of the old Town Walls and the newly laid out Grainger Street. At the time of its opening in 1835 it was considered the most spacious and magnificent market in Europe and the Evening Chronicle described it as 'the most beautiful in the world'. To mark its opening, a grand dinner was held, complete with an orchestra and attended by 2,000 guests. A painting of this event by Henry Perlee Parker (1795-1873), can be seen in the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle.
The market is largely in its original condition except for the latticed-steel arches in the roof, which replaced the timber roof destroyed by fire in 1901.