Category Archives: North Staffordshire

Spotlight on The Potteries – Do You Remember Woolworths in Stoke?

6-8 Majestic Buildings, Campbell Place, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs Woolworths opened in Stoke-on-Trent in 1928. Two other Stoke-on-Trent stores already existed at Hanley and Longton. This third one opened at 6-8 Majestic Buildings, which we know thanks to Graham Soult‘s research. You can see the small store on the far right of this photo. The building on the far left […]

To read more visit Stoke-on-Trent – Store 324 — Woolies Buildings – Then and Now

Spotlight on The Potteries: Wedgwood and Women by Sophie Guiny

In May 1759, 260 years ago this month, 29-year old Josiah Wedgwood founded his own pottery works. Born in a family of potters in Burslem, Staffordshire, young Josiah was struck by smallpox and the resulting damage to his leg (which would eventually be amputated) left him unable to operate a potter’s wheel. He turned his attention to design and experimentation with new clays and glazes, improving on known techniques and creating new styles and ceramics bodies, including the now iconic jasperware, which Wedgwood perfected around 1775. In both pursuits, women played a critical role as patrons, artists and factory workers.

To read more visit: Artists, Workers and Tastemakers: Wedgwood and Women – a guest post by Sophie Guiny – All Things Georgian

Spotlight on Stafford – Do You Remember Woolworths?

Woolies Buildings - Then and Now

18 Market Square, Stafford

Woolworths opened their 320th store  in Stafford on 23rd June 1928. It was at 18 Market Square, in a building full of character. You can see the store on the right here, next to the building works.

Stafford Woolworths 1934 Stafford Woolworths 1934

Source: Staffordshire Past Track

In 1962, it was intended for Woolworths to move to a bigger purpose-built store at Gaolgate Street and for the Market Square store to close. (Source: Soult’s Retail View)

The store number of 320 was transferred to the new store. But for some reason Woolworths decided to keep the old store open. With the store number given to the new branch, the Market Square store had to be assigned a new number, and that was store number 1067. You can see the original store open in this 1972 photo.

Stafford Woolworths (Market Square) 1972

Stafford Woolworths (Market Square) 1972

Source: Stoke on Trent Live

The Market…

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Spotlight on Newcastle-under-Lyme: Do You Remember Woolworths?

96 High Street (formerly Penkhull Street), Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs ST5 1QF The 300th Woolworths store opened in 1928 on Penkhull Street in a timber-framed building. At some point Penkhull Street was renamed ‘High Street’. Source: BBC After WW2 the ‘3d and 6d’ was dropped from the fascia so it read ‘F. W. Woolworth’. Source: Age […]

via Newcastle-under-Lyme – Store 300 — Woolies Buildings – Then and Now

Molly Albin – Hanley’s Formidable Town Crier

So far as we can ascertain no local artist made a sketch or painted a portrait of Molly Albin, the formidable lady who was Hanley’s town crier in the 1820s.

Molly lived in Tontine Street, which was still a country lane where there were a few cottages and a farm.

She was a well-built woman, who had a strong arm, a forceful personality and a mind of her own.

Molly despised married men who spent their wages getting drunk in public houses.

A man drinking in a public house, when he should have been at work or at home with his wife, was terrified when he heard Molly ringing her bell as she walked towards the tavern. He trembled with fear while waiting for her to call his name and tell the world about his misdemeanours.

Molly had no intention of letting the man off lightly, and men and women gathered outside the building to hear what she had to say about him. They knew that she would have no hesitation in humiliating and degrading “her victim” by telling them all about his “offences” and how he abused his wife and children when he came home in a drunken stupor.

Speaking in a loud voice to make sure they could all hear her, Molly told the people in the crowd everything she knew about him including where he worked, what his job was and how much money he earned. Nothing was held back. They heard how he spent his wages on drink when his wife needed money to pay the rent and buy food for the family. Molly did not care what she said about a man who neglected his family. However, there were times when she went too far and told the crowd how much money he owed to his creditors and how the debt had been incurred.

Sometimes, factory owners would pay Molly to “ring up their drunken idle workmen” and “persuade” them to return to work. After the employer had given her the man’s name, Molly walked through the town ringing her bell telling people in the streets that he was a man who refused to work and maintain his family.

The men who spent their time getting drunk in public houses came to hate her. From time to time, a drunkard about whom she was making scathing remarks threatened to assault her. Molly knew these were idle threats and laughed in the man’s face when they were made.

High Street Shops Face An Uncertain Future

After the recent announcement that Debenhams in Hanley could close, retailers in North Staffordshire and The Potteries are asking if the traditional high street shop has a future.

Last year 475 high street stores in the West Midlands went out of business.

In Stoke-on-Trent 20 shops closed and only eight new stores were opened.

The number of banks in Newcastle-under-Lyme and The Potteries fell dramatically while the number of cafes and fast food takeaways increased.

No one can deny that 2018 was a turbulent year for retailers.

The continued growth of online shopping and the ever-rising costs of running a high street business are having a devastating effect on town and city centres throughout the region.

High Street Stores Are Being Bashed By Business Rates

Economists say the Treasury could “rake in £166billion” from business rates over the next five years.

The Government estimates that business rates will bring in £31.8billion in 2020-2021, a figure which will rise to £34.9billion in 2023-24.

Business rates will rise on Monday, April 1st and over 47,000 struggling retailers with have cut costs and make staff redundant to find the money to pay the increase.

A large number of High Street stores in North Staffordshire and The Potteries closed last year, and every month our High Streets begin to look more and more like ghost towns.

Faced with competition from online rivals such as Amazon it is unlikely that Britain’s traditional High Street will survive.

As Seb James, the chief executive of Boots is reported to have said high street stores “are being bashed by business rates”.

Unless the government steps in to help High Street traders, experts predict that over 175,000 jobs in retail will be lost this year.

HULL, BIRMINGHAM, DUBLIN, LEEDS, MANCHESTER, NEWCASTLE, READING, AND STOKE ON TRENT IN FINAL VOTE TO DECIDE FUTURE TOUR LOCATIONS

HULL ECHO

A national poll for fans to decide the future tour locations for the magnificent ‘Wizarding World Wands supporting Lumos’  installation which illuminated the City of London last autumn, has revealed eight finalists, including Hull.

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Spotlight on Tunstall – The Victoria Institute Faces An Uncertain Future

Tunstall’s town centre is becoming more and more like a ghost town every day.

Spotlight on North Staffordshire would support a campaign by local people to prevent the city council “selling off” the Victoria Institute to a property developer when the library leaves the building and moves into the town hall which is now being regenerated after being closed for almost 30 years.

The proposal by at least one councillor that the Institute could be turned into luxury flats for high powered executives working in Manchester and Birmingham is ridiculous.

Local elections are being held in May, and the city’s political parties have already launched their campaigns to get your vote.

Even though it is non-political, Spotlight on North Staffordshire and The Potteries is concerned about the future of Tunstall, a town that reminded a group of American visitors of Skid Row in Los Angeles.

Before deciding to vote for a candidate, residents should ask all the candidates how they intend to halt the town centres decline.

Free Publicity For Local History Societies’ Activities

Did you know that our website has a Diary Date section which local history societies can use to publicise their activities?

All you have to do to gain widespread publicity for your event throughout North Staffordshire and The Potteries is email us at daymar727@talktalk.net and tell us about the event three weeks before it takes place.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about Diary Date and how it can help you to let more people about your activities and events.

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