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Harlow Market Square is a 1950s development situated at the northern end of the area of Harlow defined by planners as "The High" or "Central Area". It was planned from about 1952 by Frederick Gibberd, with later additions and alterations. The market opened for business on 19th May, 1956. It was intended to provide a range of smaller shops to the local area and also other amenities. Additional facilities comprise the post office on the north-east side, a Public House ("The Painted Lady") on the north-west side, and a bank on the south-west side. The central northern side is formed by the four-storey Market House with its shops overlooking the square. The main west side, north of the bank comprises three-storey terraced shops called "The Rows" (after the famous tiered buildings in Chester of the same name). The terrace continues into a narrow precinct, named Birdcage Walk, which once actually featured an aviary; added on the wishes of the Planning Board and designed by Robert Turner, with live birds. The aviary cage was later dismantled. The 3-storey east side is known as Adams House. In the western half of the square is Stone Cross Hall, which was visited by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 1957. In general the Market Square was designed to have a less formal feel than the nearby Civic Square, and was influenced by Lansbury Market and the "Festival Style" current at the Festival of Britain (1951). It was also inspired by Gibberd's love of traditional markets gained earlier in his life, for example at Nuneaton. Situated in the south of the square is a bronze statue "Meat Porters", by Ralph Brown, sited here in 1960-61; this sculpture is Listed (see record 1543921 for details). Another sculpture, "Portrait Figure" sited here was moved to West Walk. Access to the square has evolved since its inception and was pedestrianised in the mid 1960s due to the volume of traffic. In the 1970s modifications were made to the open market area including repaving.

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