The Indoor Market
As well as the various shops around the town, and the cart-based peddlers servicing the houseboat community on the beach, Seaton Snook also had an indoor market hall, where butchers, greengrocers, fishmongers, haberdashers, confectioners, bakers and various other manufacturers from across the region would be able to rent a space and sell their wares, typically on a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday.
Courtesy Hartlepool Museum Services
The following recording was sent to me by Patrick Jordain, Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at Teesside University. The recording was made by a student in 2005 called Jules Braun, and Jordain distinctly remembers the students travelling to Hartlepool indoor market hall to make the recording. The equipment hire form for the university's Sony PCM-M1 DAT recorder used by Braun also states that the intended use is "Field recording- Hartelpool (sic) indoor market".
Shortly after returning from the field trip, Braun left the university without notice, and several weeks later a badly compressed mp3 of his work was emailed to Jordain with the filename "seaton_snook_indoor_mkt.mp3". No explanatory text was included.
The track begins outside the market hall, the ubiquitous seagulls clearly audible, and Braun is heard holding the door for an old lady with a walking frame. A young lady tells her children "both of youse be'ave". A man weighs up the benefits of shopping at the market or going to the Pound Shop. An older lady mentions she has picked up some work at the market in Northallerton. You Can Get It If You Really Want by Desmond Dekker (Trojan, 1970) is being piped through the distant speakers.
At 01.05 there is an unexplained drop in sound quality. There is an abrasive clicking in the background, and Dekker's singing can no longer be heard. This lasts until 01.13..
After the clearer sound returns, a slow hum around 98Hz begins to enter, and at 01.27 the sound change happens again. This time the voices of the market hall are clearly missing, and what appears to be Fish Market by Roy Eldridge and his Orchestra (Decca, 1944) has replaced Dekker's record. The clicking is louder, and a chromatic ostinato slide not dissimilar to those heard in the Pilkington Recordings dominates the lower frequencies. A lone male voice can be heard faintly. This lasts until 01.40.
From 01.52 to 02.07 these sounds reappear for a third time, with the Eldridge track less distinct, the clicking more urgent, and the male voice slightly more distinct. I have had several communications from visitors to the site as to the actual words said. Possibilities include "She threw the hot water", "Fresh blueys [lobsters] from the pot this morning", and "They'll lose the whole lot". Anyone with their own interpretations is welcome to email their suggestions via the contact page.
The recording concludes with a small girl who does not want any sweeties.