I came upon a Gleaner article entitled: “Bendung Market the pride and joy of Falmouth.” It was a well written article and one could tell by the wealth of relatively accurate historic information, that it must be written by a Falmouthian. Sure enough, it was written by Richard “Richie” Morais.
The only thing I question though, was the title. There are a few things we may say is the pride and joy of Falmouth. “Bendung’s” stiffest competition comes from the Falmouth shipping port. This is the leading cruise shipping port in the island, and the only one capable of hosting the largest cruise ships in the world.
Anyway, here is an excerpt from Richie’s article and you can click the “Read More” link below the article to read the full article in the Gleaner.
From The Gleaner:
Falmouth’s bend-down (bendung) market, the largest flea market outside of Kingston, goes back many years. While the market may not be the town’s saving grace, financial or otherwise, the consensus is that it is the pride and joy of the town.
The market started in the Falmouth Water Square over 40 years ago during the building of the Falmouth Gardens Housing Scheme (Cuban site). Some men came from Kingston selling primarily pants lengths (a cut of fabric about 11/3 yards capable of making one pants) and shoes, including a current popular brand, which were fast-moving items then, as the shoe brand is now.
The name ‘bendung’ came from the action in purchasing the items. The commodities were strewn on the ground. Therefore, to take up their purchases, buyers had to bend over. This action defined the market; hence, the name bend down and colloquially known as ‘bendung’.
During the construction of the housing scheme a large number of men were employed, who would normally not have an income. Much of their income, therefore, went into the buying of the items sold by the vendors. The sellers increased and word started circulating that a bargain could be got in Falmouth. This spread across the parish and then into other western parishes and, as the saying goes, the rest is history, bendung market was born.
The activities were attached to the market which was then in the square. Because of this attachment, when the market was moved to its present location bendung went with. The market is to again be moved to a new site under construction on the stretch of road from Martha Brae to Falmouth. When this is to happen is anyone’s guess, as it is taking an inordinate longer time than the building of the Eiffel Tower, and the Empire State building. The construction is now going on for four years, as long as it took to build the Golden Gate Bridge.