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Words: Glynis Fox
Photography: Mick Fox and Lee Beel, painting by David Work
Featured in the June 2011 issue

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This charming town at the gateway to the Lincolnshire Wolds, attracts thousands of visitors from North Lincolnshire and beyond, who are keen to discover its shops and vibrant street markets.

The town first grew up as a crossing point on the River Ancholme and it takes its name from the bridge that was constructed to make east-west journeys across the area easier.

Brigg has a long tradition of markets since it was granted a Royal Charter by King John in the thirteenth century and was once the setting for one of England’s great horse fairs.

The town continues to expand, but still retains its traditional, friendly image. The pedestrianised centre is lined with independent shops and boutiques where traditional butchers sit alongside beauty spas and tearooms.

This is the sort of shopping that is a magnet for those who love to discover the individuality and choice that many people consider are missing from so many high streets.

There are quirky old courts and yards, off the main shopping area, that are home to boutiques selling crafts, lighting and accessories. The courts each have their own character and are named after aspects of the town’s history. For instance, Coney Court pays homage to the town’s rabbit, or coney, trade which flourished in years gone by.

A North Lincolnshire Council spokeswoman said: “Shoppers continue to flock to Brigg despite the recession, attracted by the high quality and unique items on sale.

“The shopping area bucks the national trend with new shops opening and some businesses expanding, even though there have been some shop closures. Part of this is down to the achievement of the town’s markets.”

Brigg boasts successful markets: the Thursday street market and the monthly Farmers’ Market which, in 2009, was recognised as the best Rural Farmers’ Market in the UK by FARMA.

There is a real buzz in the town every Thursday as stalls fill the Market Place and spill along Wrawby Street. This traditional street market claims to be one of the best in the area and the town is alive with the bustle of people from surrounding villages who come to shop.

You can buy everything from fresh Grimsby fish to accessories for your pet. Gardeners will find quality seasonal plants and bulbs, and there are fresh flowers and houseplants to fill shoppers’ homes with fragrance.

You might decide to treat yourself to the wide variety of cakes, buns and pastries which are on offer, as well as revel in the chance to relive your childhood by choose your favourites from the wonderful selection of old-fashioned pick-and-mix sweets.

Every Saturday there is a smaller market. On the fourth Saturday of the month it combines with the town’s award-winning farmers’ market. The farmers’ market was started in 2000 to showcase some of Lincolnshire’s best produce and was opened by actor John Savident, ‘Fred Elliott’ from ‘Coronation Street’.

From a modest twenty stalls Brigg Farmers’ Market has grown to over thirty-four stalls, revitalising Saturday shopping in the town and putting Brigg firmly on the map.

“This busy market has been attracting visitors from far and wide for over ten years and just one visit will help people to understand why it is an experience not to be missed by anyone with a love of food,” said the spokeswoman.

There is an impressive selection of quality free range and organic meats, locally reared and carefully butchered to ensure that you get the best cut, more than ten varieties of handmade sausages, more than eight types of cheese and dozens of jams and chutneys together with organic, seasonal fruit and vegetables grown in the fertile fields of Lincolnshire.

Regular events are held at the market and there is often entertainment in the bandstand nearby.

And Brigg is certainly the place to find a good variety of places in which to eat and drink. There are nine inns located in the shopping centre alone, many serving home-cooked food and local beers.

After a morning shopping at the market you can enjoy a walk along the River Ancholme, perhaps following the network of footpaths to the Humber at South Ferriby.

During the winter months there are Ghost Walks around the historic centre that bring to life tales of Cavaliers and Roundheads during the English Civil War, the turbulent crowds who gathered to hear John Wesley preach and the ghost rumoured to haunt the balcony at The Angel.

There are also many attractions for the family to enjoy around Brigg. Just a few minutes’ drive away you will find Wrawby Post Mill, on the edge of the Wolds. This is the last surviving Post Mill in the north of England.

Elsham Hall, just north of Brigg is set in contemporary gardens with a guinea pig village, butterfly garden, carp lake and more. Also nearby is Scawby Hall, a Grade I listed Jacobean manor house with an extensive collection of art and fine furniture. The hall opens for twenty-eight days each summer but the extensive gardens are open throughout the year.

A new network of church trails was launched in March, guiding visitors around Brigg’s surrounding villages, allowing them to discover the area’s fascinating rural heritage.

Churches featured in the trails include Elsham All Saints and Worlaby St Clements to the north, Cadney All Saints to the south and Scawby St Hybald to the west. Anyone looking for more great places to visit or things to do, can discover more by contacting staff in Brigg’s award-winning Tourist Information Centre. In 2010, it was it was rated in the top ten Tourist Information Centres for its customer service.

You can contact staff on 01652 657053 or email Brigg.tic@northlincs.gov.uk

FOR ALL THINGS COUNTRY
Based in Bigby Road, Brigg, Thomas Bell Country Store is the region’s largest country store and stocks some of the most upmarket and quality equestrian, country, and shooting clothing and accessories.

The store is also known for its vast range of pet food, horse feed, farm livestock requirements and equestrian wear and saddlery… not to mention fertiliser, feed, grain and seed.

Boasting an impressive range of quality country and equestrian collections, the store stocks a fantastic range of brands including Barbour, Musto, Toggi, Harry Hall and Caldene to name just a few.

The hugely popular Joules and Tottie brands are also available with fashionable and stylish designs. These vibrant collections bring colour and zest into equestrian and country clothing.

Thomas Bell Country Store also caters for more vintage and classic shooting styles with Barbour, Aigle and Dubarry. A wide selection of footwear from Hunter, Dubarry and Le Chameau to Harry Hall and Dublin means we can dress our discerning customers from head to toe.

The store is also proud to supply a wide range of equestrian equipment from breeches, boots and riding hats to saddlery, grooming and yard equipment.

Keen to look after their customers, Thomas Bell Country Store offer loyalty card holders exclusive special offers and money off opportunities throughout the year, including weekend spectaculars with lots of exclusive deals.

Don’t miss the Summer Fete weekend, Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th July. There will be 10% off everything in store and up to 50% off selected items.

Please contact 01652 600690 or visit www.thomasbellcountrystore.co.uk

IDENTITY OF ITS OWN
Loyal customers and shoppers intrigued to discover just what is so special about Brigg, have helped to sustain and spread the word about its individual traders.

These include businesses where people are likely to track down something a bit different and which have also built their reputations on offering great customer service.

Among the mix are names like J B Wallhead & Sons and the Kennedi Boutique – all in the town centre – and Brigg Garden Centre on the edge of town.

J B Wallhead & Sons was established in 1897 – and has been trading for more than 200 years. It is well-known for its menswear and country clothing ranges and accessories and boasts customers from miles away.

Grandad’s Shed is a fascinating home interiors store which has developed a name for itself over the past fifteen years.

Renowned for supplying solid wood furniture, the store boast more than twenty ranges to browse and buy. Each piece of furniture is assembled, fully-guaranteed and delivered by the shop’s own delivery team and ranges have their own special care kit and instructions.

Spokesman Paul Keane said: “All the latest spring and summer ranges have been chosen for their design and quality and are available for people to view. But customers know that if they are looking for something to fit that awkward space or designed to their requirements, Grandad’s Shed is able to handcraft this.”

Mr Keane added that the business’ furniture restoration service can also give ‘tired’ dining and bedroom furniture a facelift.

Shoppers can round off their visit to this unusual shop by popping into its wonderful restaurant with licensed bar, The Loft Restaurant – this year’s Winner of the Best Café/Bistro in North Lincolnshire, which has been quoted as offering ‘the best coffee and chocolate cake in the area!’

Aimee Waudby of the Kennedi Boutique takes a positive attitude towards retailing, even in these difficult times. A self-confessed devoted fashion-follower, she is keen to share her knowledge and enthusiasm with customers, by stocking interesting collections and offering ‘affordable’ price tags.

“We opened in May 2006, expanded into the shop next door in 2007 and launched our website in 2009. Summer is within sight now and we have received our summer collections, giving us a boost in store and online!”

Aimee said Kennedi’s website is proving to be a huge success, mainly due to two hugely sought-after labels – Elisa Cavaletti and Sandwich.

Elisa Cavaletti, a fun, quirky and very stylish Italian brand has gained regular online customers from Germany, France and, most recently, Australia! And Sandwich is extremely popular online and in store.

“Then of course there is Pinko – which is ever true to its designer roots. It has included some fabulous statement jackets in this season’s essential neon colours with bold coloured shirts and tailored suits,” added Aimee.

Last October, Aimee’s success encouraged her to open a second boutique of the same name in Beverley, along trendy North Bar Within, near St Mary’s Church.

But there’s more great news for Brigg, as this ambitious businesswoman prepares to launch her third boutique there in August – this time for children. It will feature French designerwear and accessories.

“So many of my clients have children and often comment that it would be great to offer exclusive styles to complement the ladieswear – a ‘Mini Me’ if you like for the ‘Yummy Mummies’!”

Aimee is also working with a few well-known independent designers who are coming up with style for her boutiques.

BRIGG BOMBER
Lincsquad – or the Lincolnshire Quadrathlon Club is a name to note for anyone who loves taking part in anything from a single discipline to multi-sports event.

And now members are gearing-up for another highlight in their calendar – the Brigg Bomber on 10th July – a fantastic quadrathlon which puts participants through their paces in swimming, kayaking, cycling and running challenges.

Lincsquad, which is affiliated to both the British Quadrathlon Association and The British Triathlon Federation, was formed in 2007 by people who love to train and compete in everything from quadrathlons to triathlons and duathlons.

From its inception, the Brigg Bomber was designed to be an international event, and conceived with World Middle Distance championships in mind and also as an addition to North Lincs’ Adventure Challenge.

The Brigg Bomber is one of the British Quadrathlon Association’s national trophy rounds.

Not for the faint-hearted, people can enter as solo competitiors, as pairs or as four-men relay teams. The swim and kayak start at Broughton Bridge and the bike and running transition is at Brigg Leisure Centre.

Lincsquad secretary and press officer Paul Carvill said: “We are proud we have turned what was originally a group of eight friends into the North Lincolnshire Sports Club of theYear for 2011.

“It is friendly, supportive and bringing newcomers and youth into the sport and now hosting the British championships and World Cup race.”

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