The following is from Frank Mansey’s book “A Guide to Ripley’s Heritage Part 3 : West”
The old Village Green of times gone by became the Market Place soon after the Local Board was formed in 1867, and it retained its earth and stone surface well into the 1900s. In the old records and Church Wardens’ accounts there are several references to the gathering of, or quarrying for stones on “ye Green”, mainly for the repair of roads. Another entry in 1714 records the decision to “open a quarrel on the Green” to get stone with which to rebuild a house in bad repair that the Town had taken over.
This must, over the years, have left the Green in a poor state for walking on. When they did eventually hard surface it, a gulley was made cross the centre from end to end, with square stone setts to take the surface water from the top half into a central drain. This had the effect of breaking the surface into two humps.
The Green or Market Place had been the setting for a market, and at least part of the annual Easter and October Fairs since King Henry the third granted the town a Charter for them in 1251.
Market Place 1879 (before the Town Hall was built)
Up the First World War, the two annual fairs were also markets for livestock, with horses and cattle brought into the market Place for sale.
Through the 1930s up to the war in 1939, and then on occasions after the war, this was the venue at Carnival time for displays of folk dancing by school children, and for public dances in the evenings. These events ceased as the popularity of carnivals waned in the latter part of the twentieth century. The Market Place has also been used for meetings. On 29th August 1872, the first of several meetings was held there to discuss the forming of a Miners’ Union. On 13th April 1874 men at the Butterley Company’s Ripley district pits withdrew their labour. Other collieries quickly joined them, and a week later some 2000 people assembled on the Market Place to receive union support.