Author Archives: David Martin

NewsDesk: Women’s History Network Community History Prize 

The Women’s History Network awards an annual prize of £500 to the team behind a Community History Project by, about, or for women.

This prize is The History Press and nominations for it are welcomed from projects that include an active element of community engagement that “communicates a sense of heritage uncovered and learning”.

The project must have led to the creation of something that communicates the findings of the team’s historical research which could be a drama production, a heritage trail, a book or an exhibition.

For more details visit: Women’s History Network Community History Prize | Women’s History Network

Linking Art and Industry to Raise Standards

Marshall Colman writes:

“The art and industry movement of the thirties wanted to integrate artists into industry, improve the standard of consumer goods, democratise art and improve public taste. There was a strong interest in education, and Frank Pick, who was one of the leading figures of the Council for Art and Industry, used his influence to nudge the Royal College of Arts towards the teaching of industrial design and hastened the resignation of William Rothenstein as principal.

“I said earlier that this movement for design reform and education reform was able to push forward on all fronts like this – on the industrial front, persuading manufacturers that their products needed to be better designed, and on the consumer front, dissuading shoppers from buying badly-designed objects – because of its belief in objective standards of beauty and the spiritual potential of good design…”

To read the full post visit TOWARDS A STANDARD ‹ MARSHALL COLMAN ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

Spotlight on Stoke – The Penkhull Wassail 

Christine Mallaband-Brown posted an account of The Penkhull Wassail on her website.

She tells us that:

“There are not many places in Britain where you can wander round with flaming torches (but no pitchforks). But today we did just that round Penkhull Village. From Penkhull village hall we…”

To read more about the Penkhull Wassail visit Penkhull Wassail – Art by Christine Mallaband-Brown

Theft and Homicide in Late Anglo-Saxon Law 

In a post on Medievalists.net, T. B. Lambert looks at Theft, Homicide and Crime in late Anglo-Saxon Law.

Lambert says:

“It is a startling but infrequently remarked upon fact that for five centuries English law, which prescribed the sternest penalties for theft, contained only a relatively minor royal fine for homicide. Whereas the first clear statement that the death penalty applied to thieves is found in the late seventh-century West Saxon laws of Ine, we have no equivalent statement with respect to homicide before the text known as Glanvill, composed in the late 1180s…”

To read more visit Theft, Homicide and Crime in Late Anglo-Saxon Law – Medievalists.net

Capital and Corporal Punishment in Anglo-Saxon England

A post on Medievalists.net looks at archaeological evidence challenging the long-standing belief held by legal historians that in Anglo-Saxon times criminals were executed for major criminal offences or faced punishments such as amputations for lesser crimes.

To learn more about crime and punishment in Anglo-Saxon England visit Capital and Corporal Punishment may have been rare in Anglo-Saxon England, researcher suggests – Medievalists.net

Reduced Fares Encouraged Families To Shop In Tunstall

At the beginning of the 20th century, there was a retail and a wholesale market in Tunstall.

Held in the Market Place (Tower Square), the wholesale market was open every day except Sunday. From Lady Day (March 25th) to Michaelmas (September 29th) it opened at 6.00am. Between Michaelmas and Lady Day the market opened two hours later at 8.00am.

The retail market in the Market Hall was open on Mondays and Saturdays. On Mondays, the market opened from 8.00am to 8.00pm. Saturday was a working day for many people, and on Saturdays, the retail market was open from 8.00am to 10.00pm.

To encourage families living in North Staffordshire and South Cheshire to shop in Tunstall Market, the North Staffordshire Railway Company issued Cheap Market Returns to Tunstall and Chatterley Train Stations from Kidsgrove, Halmerend, Audley, Talke, Alsager Road, Congleton, Mow Cop, Crewe, Radway Green, Alsager, Sandbach, Lawton, Keele and Leycett.

Looking at backstamps

Art by Christine Mallaband-Brown

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What are back stamps??

They are the trademark or manufacturers mark  that you find on the bottom of cups, plates and dishes that shows who made them.

This can be useful in identifying the manufacturer, whether they are antique and if they are worth anything. Sometimes they even get forged! People have added things like the Clarice Cliff signature onto modern pots to try and fool people into buying them as originals.

Some pots have simple marks on their base to identify them. Others have complicated patterns and writing.

The people who live in the potteries (Stoke-on-Trent). Have a habit of looking underneath pots to see if they have recognised which pottery made them. I think it’s called the “turn over club” but I may be wrong…..

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Scarratt’s Tunstall – A town with 50 Houses

In his book “Old Times In The Potteries” published in 1906, William Scarratt tells us there were 50 houses in Tunstall in 1740.

These houses, which Scarratt called cottages, were built of brick. Most had tiled roofs although a few were thatched. A house called The Cottage at Clay Hills was thatched as were cottages in America Street, a building at the Round Well (where Ladywell Road joins Roundwell Street) and six properties in Watergate Street.

Whether thatched or tiled, these two storey houses had four rooms. Known as “two up and two down”, they had two rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs. On the ground floor was a large front room behind which was a small back room. Upstairs there were two bedrooms.

There were some houses with tiled roofs at The Flash, near where High Street becomes Brownhills Road, and six more on the site of the former community centre built in the 1990s, which is now occupied by Tunstall Children’s Centre.

A group of buildings stood on the site where the town hall and the market hall were erected during the second half of the 19th century. There were houses in Mill Street (The Boulevard) and near the Swan Inn in High Street.

Publication of book about Tunstall Town Hall and Market postponed

Spotlight on North Staffordshire and The Potteries has had to postpone publication of its book The History of Tunstall Town Hall and Market.

David Martin who is editing the book and writing its closing chapters was taken ill shortly before Christmas.

He lost the use of his legs and was unable to walk for several weeks.

Although his legs are still very painful, David has just started to walk again.

He anticipates being away from work until the end of May.

When David returns to work, his first job will be to complete the book and arrange for its publication.

NewsDesk – Burslem has become a ghost town

According to research by the Local Data Company, a third of the shops in Burslem’s run-down town centre are unoccupied.

Shops and banks have moved out. Nothing has come in to replace them.

Some shops have been empty for over five years, and one resident claims that there isn’t even a greengrocer’s shop where a customer can buy an apple. Very few people shop in Burslem. The town has nothing to offer them.

Many buildings in Market Place and Queen Street are abandoned and derelict. Their windows are broken. Willowherb and buddleias grow out of the guttering and weeds of all kinds have made their home in cracks in the brickwork.

June Cartwright the founder of Our Burslem, a group campaigning to regenerate Burslem, is trying to persuade Stoke-on-Trent City Council to open a street market which she believes will ease the town’s reliance on traditional high street shops.

Burslem is not the only town in The Potteries which has been abandoned by both shopkeepers and customers. Although Longton seems relatively busy, very few people shop in Fenton and Stoke which, like Burslem, have become ghost towns.

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