Grandad's Watton

Hall & Palmer's Saleyard

To the 'egg hut' on the right hand side of the yard were taken all the butter, garden produce and hundreds of eggs which arrived in small boxes, baskets and paper bags to be sold by the score, repacked into special containers and sent off on their journey which would take them to the shelves of London shops by the next morning. Just 200 yards down the road these scenes were being repeated at Hall and Palmer's saleyard where, under the general management of Percy Fisher, and with the help of Tom Stibbon, not only livestock, but a wide range of agricultural machinery came under the hammer. There was one golden rule at Hall and Palmer's — if you wanted to know anything, Go and ask Tom!

One of my pleasing memories of these old markets is that, although in buying and selling there has to be some competitive element, in those days things seemed to be conducted without malice or 'one-upmanship', and samples of dry Norfolk wit were never far below the surface. I remember a day when the auctioneer at the egg hut was selling a box of Esther Read bedding plants. "Here we are ladies and gentlemen"


Note crates for the transport of live poultry.

he went on "lovely box of aster plants . . . well grown . . . how much am I ...'.' "They're Esther Reads" someone shouted. “I don't care whose they are" "How much am I bid for them?"

Again, at the pig pens the line of watchers reached the pen holding an elderly, woebegone very thin and sad looking sow. The spiel never changed. "Here we are gentlemen, line breeding animal . . . gentle mother . . . easy to feed . . . eat anything . . ."

"Ar, an glad to an all by the look on her" came the inevitable voice from the crowd.


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