Repairing Market Cart Wheels

A typical set of wheels in for repair

As a wheelwright I repair lots of wheels, which include Traditional Market Cart Wheels, and Costermonger cart wheels. All wheels come with their own challenges but market cart wheels come with added extra.

Under restoration reusing all the parts we can

When Markets carts were an everyday sight at markets the stall holder would rent the cart for the day, from a local carriage master. Each market would have a local firm usually a family whose business it was building, maintaining, and hiring out market carts to their market. To differentiate their carts from their competitors in the next market, they would carve the name of their firm on the wheels, usually in a very distinctive script.

J Tapper a firm who supplied the Carts for Lambeth Market

When we are restoring Market Cart wheels, the felloes ( the wooden rim sections) are usually the first to rot and therefore need replacing which means they need the name carved back on them in the same distinctive script

Felloes replaced with new carving
Ready to go back to the customer

In the case of the wheels shown I was asked to retain parts where I can and replace where necessary  sufficient to allow the market cart to be used again. Two of the hubs were replaced, all of the felloes and a couple of spokes, and then they are returned to the customer for painting.

If you have wheels that need repairing do get in touch, if you would like to see examples of some of the new carts I build have a look here 

A Traditional Market Cart

My latest video which is posted today explains the process behind making a Traditional Market Cart in this case a Costermongers Barrow. There are really two types of Market Cart. The Four wheel Market stall, and the two wheel Costermongers Barrow.

There is a long and interesting history about costermongers and you read about it on my blog www.tomgreencraft.com they were the for runners of what we now knows as the pearly kings and Queens, based in the street markets of London

The Traditional Cart has a traditional colour scheme. Green for the body and red for the wheels, although these can be made in any colour scheme. In the video I have taken the traditional idea forward and added decoration in the form of pin striping and scalloped edges, as a way of expanding my skills. When you watch the video the striping of the wheels section is painful for me to watch. I know how it ends but I still find myself holding my breath to see if the two ends meet up.

The other variation from a traditional market cart on this one is the addition of Solid Rubber Tyres. A Traditional Market Cart would be plain iron shod however in discussion with fellow wheelwrights – we are a very small but friendly community I decided to use rubber. Should I ever decide  to use the cart indoors, plain Iron wheels would likely damage the floor, which wouldn’t make me very popular. Therefore it makes sense to spend the extra and fit solid rubber.

I do make the wheel Costermongers carts and four wheel Market Stalls for customers. They can be made in any size and colour scheme, with or without decorations. For further details get in touch. Email