THIS week in Down Memory Lane we visit Grays Market in the 1950s.

This was once the heart of Grays, being held in the Market Square with the Kings Arms Hotel, Co-op Butcher, the Rising Sun, Horncastle Furnishing Store, Frenches Restaurant and Joyes departmental Store surrounding the market.

There was also the additional permanent Ambrose Market tucked behind Joys and the Kings Arms Hotel.

Our parish church St Peter & Paul dominated the vista but also provided trees and grass which was lacking in the urban landscape.

On the right of my featured photograph, provided by Gordon Hales of Tilbury, can be seen Horncastle Furnishing Store, which became Perring’s Furnishing Store and then Dominos – it is now to be re-developed, as reported in last week’s Gazette I was told once that the design of this frontage is based on a cinema design.

The market moved from this traditional place to a covered market within the new town shopping centre in the 1970s and has now emerged back in the High Street.

When I walk through the market I get a feel of the past, but not the extensive range of stalls that were available even in the 1950’s. I notice in the photograph a costermonger wheeled barrow, a feature of many markets.

We have the last barrow in the museum collection, but the wheels were lost before it got to us and it needs some repair.

I am trying to start a project to restore the item, so one day you may see me selling our local history books from our barrow in the market!

Any memories of the markets of Grays would be most welcome – contact details are below.