Hull’s Medieval New Town and its Markets.

In this talk, local historian and logistics consultant, Robert Bell, examines the way a market economy works by reference to Medieval Hull as as basis for the present-day market conditions

The very word “market” divides opinion. Market fundamentalists see Adam Smith’s invisible hand from his Wealth of Nations (1776) as all that is needed; enabled by free trade and minimal state involvement.

And so to Medieval Hull. Imagine a three-storey house. Ground floor – the everyday market. Staple products and perishables. Just like local boxer Tommy Coyle’s family fruit stall today. Prices are visible and there is local competition. Second storey – a wholesaler with storage and distribution. Then, top storey. We have entered into “fernhandel” or long-haul deals – these need finance, cash money is not enough. But this is not a competitive market – here we deal in opaque transactions, high risk and higher rewards.

This talk, which was first given for the Regulatory Policy Institute in Westminster in April 2023, questions the markets that run today using Medieval Hull as the benchmark to test out the ideas.

Friday 8 September:10.00am

Wrecking Ball Music & Books, 15 Whitefriargate, Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, HU1 2ER