Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Forge Market – zzzzzzz…

It’s been almost amazing to see the decline in visitors to the Forge Market at Parkhead in recent years, something that has mirrored the decline in numbers to the larger shopping centre of Parkhead Forge itself.

A few years ago, visits had to timed to avoid the busiest spells, and especially the period around Christmas, as the place would be packed to the extend that it was difficult to walk along the aisles between the units. I had to be careful when taking visitors, as they were elderly and a little infirm, and they eventually found the sheer numbers overwhelming, and didn’t enjoy a visit if the place was packed.

Not so nowadays, although I no longer have the opportunity to offer such visits.

Even at its busiest, in the run up to Christmas, there were no crowds – and I was paying particular attention as I had noticed how much quieter it was last year, and had made a note about numbers this year, in case I had just missed things last year.

I’m not going to try to work out exactly why, as there could be any number of reasons, and more likely a combination that has come together.

Forgetting the catch-all of the supposed recession (generally blamed for everything), we have seen the number of days the market opens being extended, so there is less need to get there when it is open. We’ve lost quite a few traders that have not been replaced by others selling similar items. There are more opportunities for shoppers now, compared to a few years ago – the Forge shopping centre has changed considerably. In addition, we have also seen the arrival of the Forge Retail Park, a short distance away, giving shoppers still more choice.

Granted, the market is still by no means deserted and forgotten, but at times is very quiet, and I would hate to see it disappear one day. (Nor am I suggesting that this is likely – but stranger things have happened.)

While I would not draw any sort of realistic parallel with the attempt made to create a shopping centre of small units in the old Glasgow fish marker – The Briggait – it does serve as an example of how an apparent success can suddenly reach a ‘tipping point’, and where a lack of numbers can lead to its loss. In its early days, The Briggait was busy, but a bad mix of vendors soon led to it becoming unsustainable, as their offerings were (as I recall) items that did not attract repeat visits. I remember decorative items of various types, so once people had bought something, or a few somethings, they had no need to carry on buying them, and eventually didn’t return.

The Forge Market has many consumable items on sale, so should be safe from that sort of fate, and only has to worry about competition.

(And just in case of misunderstanding, saying “Forge Market – zzzzz…” in the title is not a comment on the marker itself, but merely a reflection on the number of patrons seen there nowadays as compared to years ago.)

Forge Market 2013

Forge Market 2013

As for The Briggait – it ran down and closed after while, and stayed closed for some years while some sort of use for the restored building was sought.

For the moment at least, it’s been reborn as a centre for artists and cultural organisation:

The Briggait, Merchant City Glasgow

Wasps Artists’ Studios

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January 13, 2013 - Posted by | Civilian | , ,

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