After the completion of the Guildhall in 1827, the Borough Council undertook a major redevelopment of the area behind it. The proposals included the construction of a Pannier Market to replace the existing vegetable market and the formation of a new road, “Butchers Row”, linking the High Street with Boutport Street. On one side of the road would be the Pannier Market and on the other would have 33 Butchers’ Shops. The scheme, which was completed in 1855, was designed by R. D. Gould, the Borough Surveyor, who was also responsible for the design of the Albert Clock, Bridge Buildings and Bridge Chambers.
Before the Pannier Market was built, those with produce or goods to sell would bring them to Barnstaple in baskets or panniers and line the side of the High Street between Cross Street and lower Boutport Street. The construction of the Market eased congestion that this practice caused, yet maintained the tradition of people selling excess produce whilst providing a purpose built market hall to protect buyers and sellers from the worst of the elements. Today, on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays of each week, the Pannier Market is full of stalls which display a great range of goods. It is a thriving market with a good atmosphere which is well worth a visit. The unique row of butchers' shops still exists, although fish and vegetable shops and a delicatessen have replaced some of the butchers' businesses.