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Lets get one thing clear from the start.

You did NOT hear about illicit markets from us. Got that?

A Steampunk 'illicit market' (also known as 'the market that does not happen') is a combination of market and role-playing opportunity. It is themed around the “smuggling of exotica”.


People can bring objects to sell but the "Guild of Privateers, Illicit Entrepreneurs and Scoundrels"* are on the lookout for “the authorities” and will be enforcing a nominal charge.

The time that the market will begin will be announced in advance (this is generally discussed as a very closely guarded secret).​

​So how does the illicit market operate?

​Single Bell

The single bell indicates that Sellers may enter the market location. Each seller pays a single holiday token (£2 coin) on admission. There will be no tables or furniture and everything someone brings in must be carried in by them alone in a single trip and hidden from view! (There may be commendations from the Piemen for the most imaginative and impressive ways of hiding your stock.) No trolleys allowed.** If two or more people are selling together, they enter as individuals.

Two Bells

Roughly 10 minutes later two bells will indicate when buyers are allowed into the market. What follows is 40 minutes of frantic browsing and buying.

Single Whistle

This may sound during the market to indicate the unexpected approach of “the authorities” and all participants are urged to remain still and quiet.


Two Whistles

Indicates the all clear.


Single Bell

After the 40 minutes are up af further single bell indicates that "the authorities are on the way" and buyers should get ready to leave.

Three Bells

The sound of three bells signals that the buyers have five minutes to leave. 

Four Bells

It you have not left by the time you hear four bells, you have run out of time and buyers who leave the market as little as one second after the fourth bell sounds will have to pay a £1 exit fine. Please have your one pound coins ready since there is no change from the Piemen. This is the warning time for sellers.

Any seller who has not left the market location 5 minutes after the four bells will be saddled with a £1 exit charge too.

For any seller trying to exit more than 10 minutes after the four bells this charge rises to £5; this keeps the excitement and tension and makes for a swift turnaround for the next feature.

Everyone wishing to participate in the feature does so on the understanding that they agree to and accept fully the structure, terms and conditions.

What do I need to bring to the illicit market?​

​All sellers must have a £2 coin, a £1 coin and a £5 note on them to pay for their entry and the possibility of exit fines. All buyers must have a £1 coin on them in case they have to pay a fine on exit.


This is a very popular and fun feature. Please enter into it in the correct spirit. We reserve the right to refuse admission, refuse permission to trade and require anyone to leave without notice. 

Keep it splendid and keep it fun!


* The Guild of PIES or otherwise known as the "Piemen"

** Potential sellers and buyers with an access related disability may apply for special consideration

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