Although today Cheltenham is best known as the location of the enormous Southland shopping mall, few realise that Southland is merely the latest incarnation of the retail activity that has been Cheltenham’s raison d’etre for as long as it has existed.

The original Cheltenham market was not located where Southland now stands, but instead, to the south of the railway station – it covered the grounds now occupied by the Pioneer Cemetary, primary school and golf club of Cheltenham. Indeed, Cheltenham takes its name from the market, in a roundabout fashion.

The founder of the market, and for many years its best known auctioneer and adjudicator was a man named Daryl Enham. Enham was a boisterous fellow with a booming voice and great dislike for repeating himself. He was in the habit of using a system of chalk marks to create readable but temporary records of his decisions – chalk that, in the manner of his Cumbrian forebears, he referred to as chelt. Indeed, he would not suffer to have it referred to otherwise in his presence, which led, slowly but surely, to the vendors and customers of the market picking up the term – although many mistakenly thought it to be Enham’s first name (believing him to be Welsh, which would have mightily offended him had he known). When the market closed for the last time, in the 1920s, it was decided by the local residents to name their area after the man so well known in it (and also, they were tired of being called Lowett, being downhill from Highett).

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