A Legacy of the Past but the Future Is Green; the Demise of Many of the North East's Cattle Markets Has Meant Some of the Operators Have Had to Be Innovative to Survive. Christopher Knox Looks at the Evolution of the Company Behind One of the Region's Marts

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BROADLEY and Coulson was set up in 1917 as Addison & Humble and operated livestock auctions at both Bishop Auckland and Newcastle and quickly became one of the most well known businesses among livestock farmers and butchers.

The Newcastle mart operated for many years in the city centre as Addison and Humble, on a site which is now home to the Jury's Inn hotel near the International Centre for Life, until the firm moved it to beneath the old Scotswood Bridge on the Western edge of the city.

As the city began changing shape, the marts began closing down or acting as mobile slaughter houses. David Coulson, who now runs the business after working his way up to senior partner in 1999, recalls going to the Newcastle mart with his grandfather when the area was buzzing with farmers bidding for stock and it was not unusual to see the odd cow make a bid for freedom and have to be caught as it barged around the streets now occupied by shops and cafes.

"It does not bear thinking about in today's traffic if cattle and sheep got out onto Moseley Street or the new Redheugh Bridge," he said. "The area has changed massively over recent years and its strange to think that cattle were running around like mad or being slaughtered just a few feet from the Centre for Life." Addison & Humble would change its name to S. Addison & Son, Auctioneers, Land and Estate Agents, Surveyors and Valuers on New Years Day 1956 when Peter Addison joined with his father Sidney at the age of 18 and opened an office in Newgate Street, Morpeth.

The name change also reflected the fact that the business was concentrating on the sale of land for a number of farmers in the region, and the company's managers realised that they could no longer rely on the traditional rural economy.

The firm again expanded and became Addison Hudson in 1978 with its work stretching from the borders to North Yorkshire and traded under this banner until 1984 when Peter left to run his own firm Peter Addison in Morpeth.

After years of training, Mr Coulson became a partner on October 1 1984 with Tom Broadley and continued the firm at Crook and Stanhope in County Durham under the name Broadley and Coulson.

"It was during a time when a lot of open cast mines in the region were closing down, which meant that a lot of our work was involved in recovering and selling on land that had been used for mining," Mr Coulson said. …