CONSERVATIONISTS are working with council staff to transform a historic butchers’ shop at the Covered Market into three new units.

The units, previously let as one large workspace to John Lindsey & Son Butchers, were originally built in about 1849 and are amongst the earliest surviving stalls in the 18th century market.

Landlords the city council and Oxford Preservation Trust are working together to restore the former butchers’ shop and now planning permission has been granted for the work to start.

Oxford Mail:

The restoration will see the modern brick extension and signage removed to open up views through the Covered Market.

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Oxford Preservation Trust director Debbie Dance said: “The Covered Market is the city’s very special gem of a place and OPT is doing this so that we can do our bit to make it a vibrant and exciting place full of colour and theatre, offering something for everyone, residents, shoppers and tourists who will come and buy.

“The stalls we are restoring are going to be very cool and we can’t wait to show everyone what we have discovered.”

As each layer of history is peeled back, the work is expected to reveal the original Victorian colour scheme, which is likely to be used again.

Oxford Mail:

It’s the latest empty unit at the market to be divided up and preparatory work has already revealed the original stone flagged floor, stone columns and early wrought-iron trellis work.

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The decision to divide large units has prompted new arrivals and pop-up stores - David Witts of Pershore Foods has opened a new fishmongers in the former Haymans unit.

And the Teardrop micropub has opened a new food emporium in the unit next door to the bar, selling local produce including apple juice, pickles and chillies.

Listed building consent for the former Lindseys shop has also been obtained so that local contractors can tender for the work which will take place over the summer, restoring the unit to its former glory.

Mary Clarkson, the council’s cabinet member for culture and city centre, said: “The council is committed to the long-term future of the Covered Market.

Oxford Mail:

“We are investing £3.1m to secure, restore and refurbish the market, and are working with Jesus College on the Northgate House redevelopment that will help create a market quarter in Oxford with the Covered Market at its heart.

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"It is a pleasure to work with Oxford Preservation Trust on the restoration of the former Lindsey’s unit.

Oxford Mail:

"Their advice and expertise is invaluable but it is also wonderful that they share our passion for the Covered Market.

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"This project will split a unit to meet current demand, and restore the unit to its former glory and improve the very special heritage of the Covered Market."

Oxford Mail:

Money spent on the market will include £1.8m on the roof and £1.3m for internal refurbishment.

There are windows in the hoardings around the former Lindseys shop so visitors can see work progressing.