Category Archives: Tunstall

Market News – Halloween in Tunstall Market

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HALLOWEEN IN TUNSTALL MARKET

This years theme for Halloween in Tunstall Market will be based on MGM’s popular, evergreen film the “Wizard Of Oz”.

Lots of characters from this classic 1930s movie are coming to visit the market, and today’s children will meet Dorothy and her friends whose activities delighted their parents, their grandparents and their great-grandparents.

Tunstall Market – An Abandoned Stall

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TUNSTALL MARKET (1998)

Looking at several photographs taken inside Tunstall Covered Market when it was closed for regeneration in the 1990s, we came across this photograph of the Refreshment Stall at the rear of the Market Hall. Although the colours have faded with time, we are sure the photograph will bring back memories of both the refreshment stall and the oatcake stall seen in the background.

At the moment Spotlight is trying to digitally enhance the photograph which is one of several photographs of The Potteries given to David when he was in Tunstall recently.

HOMe-hOUSE 25 – The alleyway — Tim Diggles

HOMe-hOUSE 25 – The alleyway The alleyway behind my house is part of a mirror image of the streets similar to the millions of alleyways (or often called around here ‘the backs’) behind terraces up and down Britain and I am sure abroad as well. There is an alleyway joining Newfield and Bond Street so […]

To read more visit HOMe-hOUSE 25 – The alleyway — Tim Diggles

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 openning, historical geographer, Betty Cooper and international heritage lawyer, David Martin are writing a book about the market which is being published later this year.

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 via Leave A Reply (below) or email them at daymar727@talktalk.net

Visitors give Tunstall Market top marks

Spotlight on The Potteries is always pleased when it discovers nice comments about our area.

Recently, while glancing at TripAdvisor, we found three reviews written by visitors to Tunstall Market.

All reviewers rated the market as excellent.

The first reviewer, who posted her review on 14 September 1917, visited the market to buy bacon and to purchase a sausage roll and an egg custard for her mother. She found that people in the market were friendly and said it had a “good wool stall” and “a great café”.

Her words about the café were echoed by the second reviewer who went to the market to get a bite to eat. Although the café was busy, the reviewer, who had a full English breakfast and a mug of tea, said the “huge meal” which was reasonably priced “tasted great”.

The third reviewer, whose review was posted on 17 February 2018, described the market as “a lovely, old-fashioned indoor market. This reviewer, who seems to know Tunstall Market well, said the original Victorian Market Hall still retained the “lovely old atmosphere that it had decades ago” adding that the stalls were excellent and sold “a wide variety of goods”.

Historical geographer, Betty Cooper, and international heritage lawyer, David Martin, are writing a book about Tunstall Market. If the third reviewer or anyone else who has known the market for many years would like to share their memories of it with Betty and David please email them at daymar727@talktalk.net  

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TUNSTALL INDOOR MARKET CELEBRATES ITS 160th ANNIVERSARY THIS YEAR

Tunstall – An Anglo Saxon Village

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An Artist’s Impression of an Anglo-Saxon Settlement

Tunstall is one of the oldest towns in The Potteries.

The town’s “Old English” name indicates that it dates from the late 6th or the early 7th century.

“Old English” place names are descriptive. They describe the settlement and tell us the main occupation of the people who lived there. The word “Tun” means an enclosed farmstead, hamlet or village, and “Stall” is derived from the “Old English” word “Steall” which means a place with pens or sheds where cattle were kept for fattening.

Anglo-Saxon Tunstall was built on a sandstone ridge overlooking the Chatterley Valley near the spot where Green Lane (Oldcourt Street and America Street) crossed the old drove road (Roundwell Street) from the Staffordshire Moorlands to Chester. Green Lane which ran from Leicester to Warrington was an important highway that linked the East Midlands with Merseyside. All traces of Anglo-Saxon Tunstall have disappeared although historians believe it was an enclosed settlement protected by a ditch and a wooden palisade.

Two old field names, Gods Croft and Church Field, which survived until the 19th century, support the local tradition that there was a church in Tunstall many centuries before the Wesleyan Methodists erected a church in America Street. Another old field named Cross Croft near where Madison Street joins America Street indicates that there could have been a wayside cross where markets were held. Calver Street, which runs between Forster Street and Oldcourt Street, takes its name from Calver Croft a place where there were cattle pens for calves born on the journey from the Staffordshire Moorlands to Chester.

Towards the end of the 11th or the beginning of the 12th century, Tunstall became part of Staffordshire’s New Forest.

Today when we think of a forest, we picture a place covered by trees. In medieval times a forest was a large tract of land where the King and his friends hunted for deer and other beasts of the field.

Staffordshire’s New Forest, which extended from Tixall in the south to Mow Cop in the north, may have been founded by William the Conqueror. The forest was not an area of continuous woodland. It was the King’s hunting ground which included:

  • woods and grassland
  • hills and moorland
  • towns, villages and hamlets
  • farmland, open fields and rough pasture.

The forest had its own laws designed to protect the beasts of the field and the vegetation they ate. Offenders against Forest Laws were brought before special courts. The penalties imposed by these courts were brutal and savage. For killing a beast of the field, a poacher could be sent to the gallows, have his eyes torn out or have his hand cut off.

J. B. Priestley visits Tunstall

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An Artist’s Impression of Adams Greengates Factory in the 18th Century

Writer and broadcaster, John Boynton Priestley made his first visit to The Potteries in 1933 when he was writing English Journey, a personalised semi-documentary account of life in England.

A well built, good-natured, plain speaking, pipe smoking Yorkshireman, he visited towns and cities throughout the country collecting materials for his book. Meandering northwards from Southampton, John made his way to The Potteries where he went to two 18th century potbanks – Adams in Tunstall and Wedgwood at Etruria.

John was surprised to hear the foreman at Adams call the workers “ladies and gentlemen” instead of “men and women”. He saw then making and decorating cups and saucers, teapots, butter dishes, dinnerware and tea services. The “ladies and gentlemen” took pride in their work. John admired their skill and craftsmanship but was critical of the firm’s traditional designs which were not selling well in overseas markets. Before leaving the factory, he unsuccessfully attempted to throw a large plate on a potters wheel. John could not control its speed, and the plate kept spinning off the wheel.

Unwilling to admit defeat, he decided to try again when he visited Wedgwood. John persuaded the company to let him throw a vase.

John’s skills as a potter were limited, and amused workers watched his futile attempts to shape the clay. Realising he did not have the ability to make a vase, John spent all afternoon trying to create a bowl. One disaster followed another. Eventually, he managed to produce something resembling a bowl that could be used as an ashtray.

Did you know that Adams had two potbanks in Tunstall? The one called Greengates was near Christ Church. The other called Greenfield was in Furlong Road. Both factories were demolished many years ago.

If you have memories of these factories or photographs of them and the ware they made which you would like to share please email David at daymar727@talktalk.net or visit Memory Lane in Tunstall Market on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Dogfighting was a brutal sport

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AN 18th CENTURY DOGFIGHT

In this edited extract from “Old Times in The Potteries”, by William Scarratt, who was born at Tunstall in the early 1840s, the author describes a dogfight which he saw when he was a pupil at King Street National School.

William told his readers that:

“Even though dogfighting was on the decline in the 1840s and 1850s, there were still many fighting dogs kept in Tunstall. These bull-terriers or fighting dogs had coarse yellow or brown hair with white patches over one or both eyes and ears. The dogs were pugnacious to a high degree, although affectionate and quiet at home. A fighting dog had to be prompted to attack another fighting dog, but once a fight started the two dogs continued fighting until they were exhausted.

“On one occasion during school dinner time, I saw a fight between two dogs. One was a white bull-terrier that weighed 24lbs. The other was a broken haired, crossbred bull-terrier that weighed 28lbs.

“No one tried to stop them fighting. After several rounds both dogs were exhausted. They could only crawl along the ground to each other to continue the fight when the next round started.

“It was an accidental scratch battle, to begin with. Then men took respective sides for each dog. A series of lines were drawn on the ground to make ‘a ring’ in which the dogs could fight. At the end of each round, the dogs were picked up by their owners and carried over the lines where their mouths were cleared of loose hairs.

“Because the spectators believed neither combatant would yield to the other, I understood that the dog which failed to drag itself over the first of the series of lines at the start of the next round would be considered vanquished. The contest lasted about an hour. When it ended, the men picked up the dogs who were unable to walk and took them to the Grapes Inn where they were weighed in an outhouse.”

Tunstall in the 1820s

In his book, the “History of the Staffordshire Potteries” published in 1829, Simeon Shaw describes Tunstall as it was in the 1820s.

In this edited* extract from the book Simeon writes:

“Tunstall is pleasantly situated on a declivity of considerable eminence, allowing most of it to be seen (at a distance of two miles) from the new turnpike road from Lawton to Newcastle-under-Lyme.

“The town is about four miles away from Newcastle-under-Lyme. It is on the high-road from Bosley to Newcastle and on the road from Burslem to Lawton.

“Tunstall is the chief liberty in the Parish of Wolstanton.

“There are many respectable tradespeople in the town, whose pottery manufacturers are both talented and opulent.

“Pottery manufacturers John Meir, Thomas Goodfellow and Ralph Hall have elegant mansions adjacent to large factories. It may be justly stated that Ralph Hall’s modesty and unaffected piety are exceeded only by his philanthropy.

“Other pottery manufacturers include S & J Rathbone, Breeze & Co and Burrows & Co.

“Smith Child has recently established a large chemical works at Clay Hills. The works overlook the Chatterley Valley where high-quality blue tiles, floor quarries and bricks are made.

“All three branches of Methodism have Chapels and Sunday Schools in Tunstall. These Chapels, which have libraries attached to them, promote the moral improvement of the people. The town possesses a very respectable Literary Society that is unassuming in character but assiduous in research.”

*Edited by David Martin (June 2018)

DiaryDate: Video Time in Memory Lane

Screenshot (7)Memory Lane in Tunstall Market opens at 9.30am on Saturday, April 14th. It’s a place where you can remember the good old days and reminisce about years gone by.  You will be able to play traditional pub games including table skittles, shove ha’penny and hoopla.

Between 10.00am and 11.00am on the 14th, Memory Lane will be showing a video The History of Tunstall.

Stay in Memory Lane after you have seen the video and view the exhibits and photographs on display. Before you leave the building explore Tunstall’s heritage market where you will find friendly traders who are selling a wide range of quality goods and services at reasonable prices,

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