The Covered Market has been at the heart of life in Oxford for 250 years. OPT has given three market stalls a new lease of life.

The Covered Market

The Covered Market, designed by John Gwynn, opened in 1774 as a market for vegetables, meat, fish, and herbs. It replaced the outdoor markets on St Aldates and Queen Street. The grade II listed market was rebuilt and enlarged around 1834 to 1840, and further additions were made in the late 19th century. The market contains several features of architectural interest, including the arcades of several phases of development and the characteristic shopfronts. Parts of the intricate cast iron roof can be seen to this day - including the meat hooks on which the butchers used to hang their hams hundreds of years ago.

The Covered Market has been in continuous use for 250 years and it has been an important commercial centre for local businesses and the place where Oxfordians get their daily shopping. 


Units 46-48

Units 46 - 48 were once the location of  The John Lindsey Butcher & Son shop, which closed in 2018. The units are situated in some of the oldest parts of the market that survive to this day, and they were built as part of the rebuilding and enlarging process that took place between 1839-40. Because of their location in some of the oldest surviving parts of the Covered Market, the units had the potential to reveal a lot of how the market changed throughout the last centuries. Units 46-48 were constructed by various local tradespeople in the area and give us insight into individual trades in Oxford in that period.

Three people standing in an empty unit, pointing towards the ceiling

The conservation process

The conservation process, which began in May 2019, uncovered many interesting hidden features throughout the ages. The unit was stripped, and wrought iron latticework was exposed, miraculously surviving in place between the units and wrapping around the outside. The columns, originally thought to be made of concrete, turned out to be solid stone hidden behind many layers of paint. Taking off the latex floor screed has uncovered the original stone flag floor, well preserved in parts, and instantly adding character to the building.

The rear brick wall looked splendid with its limewash, and Lindsey’s original painted signage above the door was conserved.  In 2021, we put the finishing touches on the project with the fitting of the lattice grilles within the unit.  

restoration of old Lindsey's sign covered market

from Butcher to Baker

Our units are at the heart of the bustling covered market, which welcomed four new traders in 2023 and has extended opening hours. After a period of hosting a local wool shop, Units 46-48 are now home to local Oxford bakery Hamblin Bread. Hamblin Bread has taken over all three units for a bakery and artisanal sandwich shop. All the grain used by Hamblin bread is stoneground, organic, and from the UK.

Hamblin Bread