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Focus on Tunstall: Tunstall Park

The Bowling Green at Tunstall Park, Stoke-on-Trent.

via The Bowling Green at Tunstall Park, Stoke-on-Trent. — Postcards from Stoke

Spotlight on Tunstall’s Heritage Market

Heritage tourism is big business. More than 4.7 million tourists visit Stoke-on-Trent each year.

Tunstall’s heritage market will be 200 years old on September 20th, 2017.

Spotlight on Stoke believes that everyone who cares about Tunstall’s future should back the market’s bi-centennial celebrations and help to make them a success.

Tourists spend a lot of money when they visit a town.

The bi-centennial celebrations will put Tunstall on Stoke-on-Trent’s tourist trail and help to regenerate the town centre.

Ninja Turtle at Tunstall Market

Focus on Tunstall: A Windy Walk

I have probably used this title before. A feature of this very mixed summer has been the breeze and chilly winds. Yesterday on my longer walking regime I took Oskar along the old Loop Line up to what thirty years ago was planned to be an athletics stadium, it was never even properly started, but […]

To read more visit Windy Walk — Tim Diggles

Focus on Tunstall: Things Change

One of the main places I went and photographed is now being flattened, the process started last year and is now in full swing. The old disused Clanway Lane leading out of Tunstall was lined with trees and shrubs, it was messy and wild, to one side a rough feral edgeland, full of interest – this […]

(First posted on August 1st, 2017)

To read the full post visit Things change… — Tim Diggles

Tunstall’s Heritage Market

Tunstall Market can trace its direct descent from the market established in Market Place (Tower Square) on Saturday, September 20th, 1817. What events are being organised to celebrate Tunstall’s heritage market’s 200th anniversary?

Focus on Kidsgrove – The Kitcrew Bugget

Brindley's Harecastle Tunnel (Chatterley)The Rev. Frederick George  Llewellin, who was the Vicar of Kidsgrove from 1922 until his death in 1941, wrote a book “The Lighter Side of a Parson’s Life” about his ministry in the town.

In this edited extract from the chapter which looks at the lives of the boat people who worked on the Trent & Mersey Canal, he tells the story of the Kitcrew Bugget – a ghost that haunts the Brindley Tunnel which runs under Harecastle Hill.

The Kitcrew Bugget 

“Lor, bless yer, lad, don’t yer know? Did yer never hear tell o’ it? Well, gaffer, years ago, in the very middle o’ the tunnel right atween Tunstall on the one side and Kitcrew (Kidsgrove) junction on the other, two men murdered a woman and threw her body inter the tunnel and because it wor a deed o’ violence and her life wor taken from her before it wor asked for, that there ‘oman have never lain quiet.

“But years ago as it wor, she’d appear, sometimes in the form o’ a white horse, sometimes like a female without a head, but whenever her comes, trouble’s sure to foller. Never wor there an accident at the collieries but the Kitcrew Bugget wor sure to come to tell o’ it. Somebody ‘ll die, or be murdered or drowned in the cut (canal) or coal mine when that there ghost appears.”

Edited by Betty Cooper and David Martin

The photograph taken in 2012 shows the Chatterley entrance to the Brindley Tunnel – the home of the Kitcrew Bugget

Bringing the mail to The Potteries

MailcoachWhen it was established in 1635, the Royal Mail used despatch riders, mounted on fast horses, to carry letters between major towns and cities.

Post offices were opened at Stafford, Stone, Leek, Lichfield and Newcastle-under-Lyme, which were on the main post routes from London to Chester, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston and Carlisle.

By 1734, Newcastle’s post office was at the Swan Inn, and everyday post-boys delivered letters to The Potteries and the surrounding villages.

Black, maroon and red painted mail coaches, whose average speed was six or seven miles an hour, replaced despatch riders in 1784. Protected by scarlet-coated guards armed with blunderbusses, pistols and cutlasses, these coaches became familiar sights in Tunstall and Burslem, where the postmaster was the landlord of the Legs of Man Inn.

After the Grand Junction Railway opened in 1837, letters were brought by train to Whitmore and taken by horse-drawn waggon to a central post office at Newcastle for distribution throughout the district.

Mail coaches were phased out, and in 1854 a new central post office was opened at Stoke Station.

Until 1840, when the prepaid penny post was introduced by Rowland Hill, postal charges averaging sixpence a letter were paid by the recipient, not by the sender.

The penny post increased the number of messages sent, and the Post Office developed new services including a special cheap rate “book post”. Towards the end of the 1850s, pillar boxes where letters could be posted were erected in Hanley, Longton and Stoke.

Small sub-post offices were opened at Chell, Kidsgrove, Chesterton, Norton and Wolstanton.

At Silverdale, where Mr J. H. Wrench was the postmaster, the post office in Church Street was open between 9.00am and 8.00pm six days a week. It was closed on Sundays, although there was a telegraph service for two hours in the morning. When the post office was open, letters were delivered twice daily at 7.00am and 5.00pm, and the mail was collected three times a day at 9.45am, 7.00pm and 8.45pm.

Very few post offices were purpose built, and many postmasters had other occupations. Tunstall’s postmaster, Benjamin Griffiths was a watch and clock maker who had a shop in the Market Place (Tower Square). When he retired, newsagent Samuel Adams, who was also the parish registrar and the church clerk, became the postmaster.

Hanley whose population was 32,000 had a small post office in Fountain Square. When the borough council asked the government for a second post office, the Postmaster General said that it was not usual to have two post offices in a village.

Copyright Betty Cooper – The Phoenix Trust 2013

The illustration shows an artist’s impression of a mail coach caught in a thunderstorm.

Share Your Memories of Tunstall Market

Tunstall Town HallDo you have memories of Tunstall Market and the town hall?

Did you work in the market or did you go shopping there with your mother when you were growing up? Can you remember the stalls that were there and the things which they sold before the market was regenerated at the end of the 20th century?

To celebrate the bi-centenary of Tunstall Market which was founded by John Henry Clive on September 20th, 1817 we are writing a book about the town hall and the market.

If you have memories or old photographs of the market or the town hall which you would be willing to share with us, please email David Martin at daymar727@talktalk.net

Camera in the City – Trent & Mersey Canal

SONY DSCSite of the Anderton Wharf on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Ravensdale March 2017

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