Title ID 4303Collection ID197
TitleSevenoaks Cattle Market
ThemeWorking Life
KeywordsAnimals Communities Farming Local History Motor Vehicles Shopping Street Trading Trades Workers
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionPeter Gilbert
CameraPeter Gilbert
DirectorPeter Gilbert
ProducerPeter Gilbert
NarratorMonty Parkin
ParticipantsPaul Bowen; Gordon Day
Other creditsGordon Day (Archive Pictures); Sevenoaks Society (Archive Pictures); Gordon Anckorn (Archive Pictures); Paul Bowen (Archive Pictures); Filmtek Film & Video Services (Film Transfer & Duplication)
FormatColour Sound
Duration48 min. 38 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


An amateur film marking the closure of Sevenoaks Cattle Market in 1999. The film includes images of the market whilst still in operation and reminiscences by former market workers.


On 2nd August 1999 auctioneer Gordon Day closes the gates to Sevenoaks Cattle Market at Hitchen Hatch Lane for the last time. Reminiscence interviews and a spoken commentary narrate the history of the market and comment upon its activities over the last four years. Black and white archive photographs of the market, including aerial shots of the site, sit alongside colour moving images of the market in operation during the late 1990s. The market is busy with people who bid in and/or watch the outdoor auctioning of sheep and poultry - the latter animals form part of the lots on offer at the weekly General Stall Market. Modern vans and a vintage haulage lorry belonging to 'S&A Bowen Ltd' deliver the animals to the market - cattle and sheep are unloaded into the pens. Market-goers utilise the on-site café - others critique the timber on sale. A poster proclaiming "Sevenoaks Market Given Three Months to Quit" and various images of the empty market bring the film to an end.


A still from 'Sevenoaks Cattle Market' (1999) - market stall holders with a flower cart

Contextual information

Sevenoaks Cattle Market was one of the great Kent markets; records date it back to the mid-13th century. Following complaints from local residents, the market was moved from the High Street to Tubs Hill on Hitchen Hill Lane in 1918 where it remained until its closure in 1999. The decline and eventual closure of the market in the late 20th century has been attributed to a variety of factors including the significant loss of agricultural land in the county and the BSE crisis. Despite the events of 1999 however, Sevenoaks has maintained its tradition of market trading, with a weekly Saturday market, a monthly cattle market and three annual fairs in recent years.

Sevenoaks Cattle Market (1999) was most probably made for prosperity, as a record of a 700 year old market which was given only three months notice of closure. The film offers images of a thriving, contemporary market imbued with a sense of community and continuing tradition. It also contains reminiscences by some of the committed people who had been closely involved in its recent history. Consequently, the final images of the market devoid of life are both somber and regretful.

Screen Archive South East houses several films which contain footage of cattle markets in the South East in the first half of the 20th century. These include scenes of Chichester Cattle Market in [Local Scenes and Family Pictures] (1927 - 1929) and Ashford Cattle Market in [Ashford Railway Works: Local Industries and Farming] (ca. 1947).

Screen Archive South East also holds the film Look, Love and Preserve (1964). It was commissioned by the Sevenoaks Preservation Society as a visual record of the market town and its conservation needs.

Related titles

Related resources


Kent History and Library Centre

Manuscript and printed records for the County of Kent including books, pamphlets, maps, illustrations and microfilm, reflecting Kent's local history.

Museum of English Rural Life

"The Museum of English Rural Life was founded by the University of Reading in 1951 to reflect and record the changing face of farming and the countryside. It houses Designated collections of national importance that span the full range of objects, archives, photographs, film and books." The Museum’s database is searchable online.

Sevenoaks Museum (Sevenoaks Kaleidscope)

"Sevenoaks Museum was first opened in 1920, re-opened in a purpose-built space within the new Sevenoaks library in 1986..."and is now part of Sevenoaks Kaleidscope (Library, Museum and Art Gallery).

The Sevenoaks Society - Archive and Photographic Collection

"We hold an extensive archive of local books, maps, leaflets , notes, etc. which may be of interest to those undertaking research." The Sevenoaks Society is concerned with the conservation and improvement of the town and the local surroundings - its archive details developments which have taken place.


Sevenoaks Chronicle

Sevenoaks and Swanley Libraries hold archives of this local newspaper dating from 1881.