FOUNDATION stones from a historic market hall in Rotherham have been given a new lease of life as benches in the town’s Minster Gardens project.
Excavations during the redevelopment of the former car park in Corporation Street, the site of the Old Market Hall, unearthed the stone blocks, which were placed in storage to be re-used in an appropriate project by council staff who recognised their value.
Along with other surplus materials from previous town centre projects, the blocks have been converted into informal seating in the Minster Gardens development, which is on the site of the old All Saints buildings.
Information boards featuring photographs and brief stories from the history of the Old Market Hall are now to be erected close to the seating area, to give visitors information about the significance of the stones.
The Old Market Hall was the town’s first when it opened in 1879 and was reconstructed following a devastating fire a decade later. It survived until the Centenary Market was opened in 1971.
Cabinet member for town centres, economic growth and prosperity, Coun Gerald Smith, said: “The Minster Gardens look great. They complement the surrounding buildings perfectly and will be a massive boost for the town centre.
“Rotherham is blessed with some stunning urban parks and the Minster Gardens will be a great addition to that list, we now have a tranquil space directly facing one of the most beautiful churches in the country where families can play and people can enjoy their lunches al fresco.
“The fact that we’ve been able to move the stones from the Old Market Building to create seating which fits with the environment and celebrates Rotherham’s heritage makes it all the better,” he said.