Wimborne Market was founded in about 1855 by Thomas Ensor, who had already established a livestock market at Dorchester.
Early Wimborne Market
Thomas Ensor who was already established as a agricultural advisor and valuer had the foresight to realise that the arrival of the railway to a town would provide the opportunity for animals to be transported easily by rail, to much farther destinations. Prior to the arrival of the railway there were many small markets, as cattle had to be driven to their nearest market on the hoof.
Thomas Ensor bought the fields adjoining the new Wimborne railway station and within a short number of years the market grew into one of the largest livestock markets in the South/West of England.
The Market Grows
During the late 19th and early 20th century the market also built up a very large produce auction and thousands of lots of fruit, vegetables, flowers, plants and eggs were sold every Tuesday, which became established as the main market day.
During the Second World War, auctions of fat stock were suspended and all fat pigs, sheep and cattle were brought into the market and value established by a grading process.
In about 1955 war time restrictions were finally lifted and all livestock was then sold by auction. By this time road haulage had overtaken transport by rail and livestock started to be sold in a small number of large livestock markets or sold on contract to livestock slaughter houses.
Livestock numbers declined at Wimborne and ceased in about 1972. A large produce auction on Tuesdays market continued until about 1975. A separate stall market was established in about 1970 on Fridays and this grew rapidly. In about 1972 a small antique and bric-a-brac market was started in a building that had previously been used to sell pigs, this grew rapidly and new buildings were quickly added.
By 1990 Wimborne Market had grown into one of the largest open and covered stall markets in the South of England and a multi-storey car park was built. More new buildings and outside cover has been added recently.