Tag Archives: Burslem

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

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)

Tunstall has one of the best markets in England and Wales

13510852_1767361226841230_8194106140212701983_nTunstall has one of the best markets in England and Wales.

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

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.

Founded in 1817, the market which celebrated its bicentennial in 2017 moved into the market hall behind the town hall in 1858.

The market hall was designed by George Thomas Robinson, the architect who created Burslem’s old town hall.

Tunstall Market’s Early History

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Tunstall’s heritage market, which is now one of the best indoor markets in the UK, celebrated its bicentenary on September 20, 2017.

In 1816, Tunstall’s chief constable, pottery manufacturer John Henry Clive, founded a company to build a Magistrates’ Courthouse and create a Market Place.

The company leased three-quarters of an acre of sloping ground called Stoney Croft from Walter Sneyd, the Lord of the Manor. It built a courthouse and laid out a market place, which later became Tower Square, on the site.

A two-storey stone building, the courthouse had a fire station with two fire engines and a market hall on the ground floor where eggs, butter, milk and cheese were sold when the market opened. The building faced eastwards. It was erected about halfway up the slope. Steps led from the lower part of the Market Place, where stalls were set up on market day, to the market hall’s main entrance.

Beneath the market hall was the town lock up – a dark, foul-smelling dungeon where prisoners were held while awaiting trial. The stocks stood at the foot of the steps leading to the market hall. Six hours in the stocks or a fine of five shillings was the usual penalty for being drunk and disorderly.

The company placed an advertisement in the Staffordshire Advertiser on September 13, 1817, which read: “Notice is hereby given that henceforward a market will be held at Tunstall, in the Potteries, weekly on Saturdays in front of the Court-House. The first to be on Saturday, 20 September. Stalls and standings free.”

Tunstall Market was both a retail market and a wholesale market. Retailers sold fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, poultry and salt. Horse-drawn waggons brought dairy produce, fruit and vegetables to the wholesale market which attracted retailers from Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Longton and Fenton.

An Act of Parliament passed in 1840 created the Tunstall Market Company to manage the market. In 1847, the company sold the market for £6,500 to the town’s Improvement Commissioners. Shortly afterwards, the commissioners allowed dealers to sell hay and straw there. In 1855, the Improvement Commissioners were replaced by a Board of Health. The Board of Health managed the market until 1894 when Boards of Health were abolished, and Urban District Councils were created to replace them. Tunstall Urban District Council ran the market until 1910 when the “six towns amalgamated” to form the County Borough of Stoke-on-Trent.

When our roads were the worst in Europe

Tunstall Court Leet

An Artist’s Impression of the Courthouse in Tunstall

During the Middle Ages, the Hundred Courts and the Court Leets were responsible for repairing roads and bridges.

When feudalism ended in the 16th century, the duty to maintain highways was taken from the courts and given to local parishes.

In 1555, a Statute for Mending Highways ordered parishioners to elect two honest men to serve as highway surveyors. The surveyors, who were unpaid, held office for a year. They were usually small farmers, local traders or innkeepers who knew nothing about road making or bridge building.

A few years later, Parliament gave the surveyors authority to collect stones and dig for gravel on land adjacent to the highway provided that the holes they dug were filled in afterwards.

Surveyors who forgot to fill the holes were prosecuted. During 1667, two highway surveyors, Joseph Delves and Thomas Ratcliffe, who had failed to fill a hole they had dug at Chell were brought before Tunstall Court Leet and told to fill it in before the court’s next sitting or pay a penalty of five shillings.

The territory over which Tunstall Court Leet had criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction covered parts of the parishes of Wolstanton and Stoke-upon-Trent.

Neither parish accepted responsibility for highway maintenance in areas that came under the court’s jurisdiction. In 1624, when the longbridge, which carried the road from Burslem to Newcastle-under-Lyme over the Fowlea Brook at Longport, needed repairing the Court Leet asked the County Quarter Sessions for financial help. Quarter Sessions gave a grant of £20 towards the cost. A few years later, in 1636 the Court Leet ordered the inhabitants of Sneyd and Tunstall to repair the road between Little Chell and Furlong Road or pay a forfeit of ten shillings each.

Although the Statute of Labour passed in 1586 compelled householders, cottagers and labourers living in a parish to spend six days a year repairing the roads, by the end of the 17th century England’s roads were the worst in Europe.

Like most roads throughout the country, those in North Staffordshire were deep rutted, waterlogged lanes. A new system of maintenance was needed, and turnpike trusts were created.

Turnpike trusts were commercial enterprises. They repaired stretches of road and charged travellers fees which were called tolls. The first road to be turnpiked in Staffordshire was an eight-mile stretch of the London to Carlisle road between Tittensor and Talke.

Copyright David Martin – The Phoenix Trust 2013

Note: The courthouse which was demolished in the latter part of the 19th century stood in Oldcourt Street.

PH/DM

Camera in the City – Burslem Art School

Burslem Art School

An interior view of Burslem Art School in Queen Street, one of the many heritage buildings in The Potteries designed by Burslem born architect Absalom Reade Wood who also created Tunstall Park.

Photograph Copyright David Martin – The Phoenix Trust 2012

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