Category Archives: History and Heritage

Many happy returns to Tunstall’s indoor market – it’s 160 years old today

tunstall-market

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TUNSTALL’S INDOOR MARKET FROM THE SPOTLIGHT TEAM

Opened on December 2nd, 1858, Tunstall’s indoor market celebrates its 160th birthday today.

One of the best markets in England and Wales, the indoor market, which is tucked away behind the town hall in High Street, is Stoke-on-Trent’s hidden gem.

Tunstall market is a warm-hearted place where friendly, welcoming traders sell high-quality fish and meat, fruit and vegetables, groceries, household goods and luxury items at reasonable prices to local people and customers who have come from as far afield as Alsager, Biddulph, Mow Cop and Congleton to do their weekend shopping.

Despite wars and recessions, the market has served the community for 160 years. The Spotlight team is certain that the market will continue to serve the people of Tunstall and the surrounding area for another 160 years.

Tunstall’s indoor market is 160 years old this year

Tunstall’s indoor market hall, which opened in December 1858, celebrates its 160th birthday this year.

In 1856, Tunstall’s Board of Health decided to build a new market hall.

The board of health commissioned George Thomas Robinson, the architect who designed Burslem’s Old Town Hall, to build the market hall.

Constructed on a half acre site opposite the Market Place in High Street, the market hall cost £7,651.

It was opened by Thomas Peake, the Chief Bailiff and Chairman of the Board of Health, on December 2, 1858. In the evening a concert was held in the market hall. At 9.00 pm there was a firework display in the Market Place (Tower Square) which was followed by a ball in the market hall.

Trading commenced there two days later on December 4, 1858, when the retail market which sold:

  • Dairy produce
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Meat, fish, poultry, game and rabbits
  • Manufactured goods and household utensils

left the Market Place and moved into the building.

Tucked away behind the town hall in High Street, the indoor market is Stoke-on-Trent’s hidden gem.

It’s a warm-hearted place where friendly, welcoming traders sell high-quality fish and meat, fruit and vegetables, groceries, household goods and luxury items at reasonable prices to local people and customers who have come from as far away as Alsager, Biddulph, Mow Cop and Congleton to do their weekend shopping.

Today, the market hall is home to one of the best indoor markets in England and Wales – a place where you and your family can do the weekend shopping under one roof.

A child murder in Kidsgrove

On Friday, July 31st, 1868, a 40-year-old furnaceman, William Hancock, stood in the dock at Stafford Assizes charged with the wilful murder of Mary Ann Whitehurst at Kidsgrove on June 10th, 1868.

The court heard that Mary, a little girl about ten years old, was the daughter of one of William’s neighbours.

On the evening of June 9th, she was playing with William’s children and obtained permission from her father to sleep at the accused’s house overnight.

Mary went to bed at about 9.30pm. In the early hours of the morning, the household was woken by William who being in a state of uncontrollable violence was shouting, cursing and attempting to attack his wife. Terror-stricken, William’s wife and children ran out of the house leaving Mary there.

William jumped out of his bedroom window into the street. Being unable to find his wife and children who had taken refuge with their next-door neighbour, William went back into the house where he saw Mary.

He caught hold of Mary and dragged her into the kitchen. He picked her up by the legs, held her upside down and battered her head on the kitchen floor until she was dead.

Medical evidence presented to the court showed that William was suffering from delirium tremens and did not know what he was doing when he killed Mary. The jury said he was insane and the judge ordered him to be detained during Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Scarratt’s Tunstall – A Country Town

Tunstall, which is one of Stoke-on-Trent’s six towns, was very much like a country town as late as 1854. The oak and other trees around Greengates House, the large house built by William Adams in the 18th century near where Furlong Road joins High Street, were quite leafy. Rooks built their nests in them, and there were wild ducks on the pond in front of the house. There were several large trees in the courtyard at the back of the house, and the cawing of the rooks was noisy enough in springtime. Little birds built their nests in the hedgerows below Christ Church – I have found them there. Nobody today would think that a pack of harriers or beagles were kept at Greengates House, but that is a fact, the then owner being fond of sport.  I should think the pack numbered 15 couples. I have met them when walking to the grammar school at Newchapel. Furlong Road which led to Greenfields was once narrow and overhung in some places with laburnum and other trees.

(An edited extract from “Old Times in the Potteries” by William Scarratt published in 1906)

Stoke on Trent & The Potteries | Where to visit

A Life Well Travelled

The city of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire became the centre of ceramic production during the 17th century. Due to the availability of clay and other required materials, large numbers of potteries opened up in the area and started producing high quality ceramic wear that was exported all over the world.

There are a number of potteries to visit, some showcasing modern working factories, others offering historical tours and traditional methods, and a number of others allowing you to get stuck in and learn about ceramics whilst creating your own. All equally have their charms but depending on your taste, here are some recommendations.

For Instagrammers – World of Wedgwood

Wedgwood is an iconic English brand. Able to count Royal Families and celebrities as fans, Wedgwood has stood the test of time with over 250 years of history. World of Wedgwood allows the visitor to learn about the craft and the story of…

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Diary Date: Brown Betty Teapot Exhibition

Brown Betty Teapots

HAVE A CUP OF TEA AT THE BROWN BETTY TEAPOT EXHIBITION

You are welcome to come and have a cup of tea at the Brown Betty Teapot exhibition between 12noon and 2.00pm on Thursday, 30th August at Cherished Chimneys, 34 Station Street, Longport, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4NA

The exhibition introduces visitors to Brown Betty Teapots which “have the perfect pour”.

They will learn about the factories where Brown Betty Teapots were made and enjoy drinking a cup of loose leaf tea like Grandma used to make.

Admission Free

Diary Date: Little Longton Bottle Oven Bus Tour

Bottle Oven (Longton)

ONE OF LONGTON’S REMAINING BOTTLE OVENS

On Saturday, 25 August the Gladstone Pottery Museum is running the Little Longton Bottle Oven Bus Tour.

The tour through the town on a 1978 PMT double-decker bus is part of the museum’s Festival of Bottle Ovens.

Passengers on the bus will be taken to see most of the remaining bottle ovens in Longton and other historic buildings in the town.

Tours start at the Gladstone Pottery Museum and passengers can join the bus at 10.30am, 12noon, 2.00pm and 3.30pm. The tours are free although there will be a conductor on board who will act as your tour guide and introduce you to Longton’s heritage.

Pottering in the Potteries

Yūgen

When writing my travel recommendations, I also wanted to shine some light on my local area of Staffordshire Moorlands, Stoke-on-Trent and the beautiful Peak District which can often be overlooked. So without further ado, let’s start with my favourite places in the city of Stoke-on-Trent!

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Stoke-on-Trent (known as ‘The Potteries’) is rooted in creative history and craftsmanship. Made up of six towns, Stoke-on-Trent is known for its production of ceramics, and particularly its quality and beauty of fine bone china and earthenware pottery.

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My favourite spot without a doubt is Middleport Pottery, located in the town of Burslem. With its picturesque buildings set next to the canal with passing barges, it really is a beautiful spot and one I always take our friends to.

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Walking through the entrance leads you into a beautiful shop selling Burleigh pottery where you can also buy tickets for the factory tour. You are able…

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Tv nostalgia. — Art by Christine Mallaband-Brown

old fashioned tv

Writing about toys from the 1960’s made me remember the TV from then and the following decades. I realised that young people would not have a clue about old fashioned tv, how expensive TV sets were, how rare they were, how big they were…. I remember us getting a tv, but I could not remember […]

To read more visit  Tv nostalgia. — Art by Christine Mallaband-Brown

A BOOK ABOUT TUNSTALL MARKET

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TUNSTALL INDOOR MARKET CELEBRATES ITS 160th ANNIVERSARY THIS YEAR

Tunstall’s indoor market was opened in 1858. To celebrate the 160th anniversary of its opening, historical geographer, Betty Cooper and international heritage lawyer, David Martin are writing a book about the market.

HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION

Tunstall’s historic Market Hall is one of the few remaining Victorian covered markets in the country.

The covered market cost £7,651 13s 1d. It was designed by Wolverhampton based architect George Thomas Robinson, who created Burslem’s old town hall. The market hall was opened by the chief bailiff, Thomas Peake on the 2 December 1858. Trading commenced there on the 4 December 1858 and customers could buy meat and fish, poultry and game, fruit and vegetables, groceries and dairy produce, clothing and manufactured goods.

In the early 1880s, one-third of the covered market, including its main entrance in High Street, was demolished to make way for a new town hall.

Built in the free Renaissance style, the town hall was designed by North Staffordshire’s leading architect, Absalom Reade Wood.

While the town hall was being constructed, Wood regenerated the remaining part of the market hall giving it a new glazed roof. New stalls were erected. The floor was relaid and the building was redecorated. Tunstall’s chief bailiff, John Nash Peake, opened the new town hall on the 29 October 1885. To celebrate its opening, a luncheon was held in the town hall. Afterwards, the band of the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards and the members of Burslem Prize Choir gave a Promenade Concert in the covered market. In the evening a football match took place in Phoenix Park and the day ended with a grand ball in the market hall.

BETTY AND DAVID NEED YOUR HELP

Many people who shop in the market today must remember the covered market before it closed for regeneration in the 1990s and the temporary market hall that was erected in Woodland Street.

If you were a child in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, your mother could have taken you to the market on Saturdays when she did the weekend shopping. You may even have had a part-time job working on one of the stalls when you were at school or college.

If you have memories or photographs of the market which you would like to share with Betty and David please contact them at daymar727@talktalk.net

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