Multimillion-pound market hall project reaches major milestone

The restoration of Derby's historic Market Hall continues apace

An ambitious multimillion-pound project to rejuvenate Derby’s historic market hall has taken a major step forward after work to restore its heritage roof was completed.

The Grade II listed building is set to be transformed into a retail and leisure destination “fit for the future” according to Derby City Council and the developers behind the scheme.

The second phase of work, which will focus on refurbishing the building’s interior and developing the exterior public space at Osnabruck Square, is expected to begin in Q4 2022.

Wates Construction has been leading a team of local architects and engineers on the flagship project which includes Latham Architects, Rogers Leask and Clancy Consultants.

The revamped market hall will include traditional and themed markets, spaces for events and one-off or pop-up uses, and make and trade spaces.

Greater emphasis will be placed on food and drink to attract a wide range of businesses and visitors.

Located at the heart of the city centre, linking Derbion and St Peter’s Quarter to the Cathedral Quarter and Becketwell, the market will also play a key role in widening the diversity of the city centre economy.

The scheme is part of Derby’s City Centre Masterplan.

A budget of around £11m was originally assigned to the project, but reports suggest the completed scheme will cost considerably more.

Councillor Mick Barker, Cabinet Member for Governance and Deputy Leader of Derby City Council, said: “Derby Market Hall is one of the city’s most beautiful and prominent buildings, which connects key areas of our city centre.

“As a Grade II listed building, it deserves tasteful and sympathetic attention to detail to its renovation. Quality takes time and we’re delighted to see that this striking copper roof has now been finished, which paves the way for the rest of the Market Hall’s transformation.

“Soon we can move onto the internal renovation and give Derby a fantastic market, which is full of life and which will help draw people back into the heart of our city.”

After undergoing extensive roof and structural restoration assisted by a scaffolding structure weighing more than eight blue whales, the Victorian market hall, which has been trading since 1866, is well on its way to being transformed.

Work recently completed included masonry repairs to the building envelope, internal cleaning of the roof structure, and lead paint removal before the glazed roof was replaced.

John Carlin, regional director at Wates Construction, said: “It has been a privilege to work on the restoration and transformation of such an iconic and unique building, maintaining its historic charm but also bringing it into the council’s overall modern vision for the revitalisation of the wider city centre.

“Before this work on the roof was carried out, the Market Hall often had to close to customers for safety reasons if there was possibility of strong winds, snow, or heavy rain in case the glass windows came out of their frames. Along with the extensive restoration of the roof structure, all of these windows have now been replaced, meaning that closing the market and disrupting trade just for weather will no longer be necessary.

“Making sure that trading could continue while initial surveys and work on the roof took place was particularly important. To do this, we installed a scaffolding structure to give access to the roof without disrupting ground level activity. It was an impressive feat of engineering all by itself, which would have spanned more than 62 miles if placed end-to-end and weighed almost 900 tonnes, but it really was the key to making sure trade could continue despite our ongoing work, supporting the city’s traders post-pandemic.”

Wates Construction was appointed to the project via SCAPE’s Major Works framework.

The scheme is scheduled to complete in 2024.