Tag Archives: Tower Square (Tunstall)

Traders are returning to Tower Square

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THE OUTDOOR MARKET IN TOWER SQUARE

Spotlight on North Staffordshire and The Potteries is delighted to learn that traders are coming back to Tunstall’s outdoor market in Tower Square.

A town without a market is a town without a heart.

Markets give a town character and atmosphere. They sell a wide variety of high-quality reasonably priced fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, gifts and luxury items, groceries and provisions. In fact, they are places where you can buy almost anything from a pin to an elephant. (Well perhaps not an elephant but we should be happy to be proved wrong.)

Tunstall Market is one of the best markets in the United Kingdom. The Spotlight Team is pleased that it is attracting new traders who will increase the range of products sold. We welcome the new traders. They will bring new life to the High Street and the town centre. We hope their businesses prosper and that they will stay in Tunstall for a long time. The town needs them.

Spotlight on Tunstall – The Sir Smith Child Clock Tower

This extract from the Tunstall Year Book, which was published in 1905, gives an account of the Sir Smith Child Clock Tower in Tower Square which was built by public subscription and presented to the town in 1893.

THE SIR SMITH CHILD CLOCK TOWER

“On Thursday, the 23rd November 1893, the ceremony of unveiling and handing over to the town this Tower, which was erected during the lifetime of Sir Smith Child, as a permanent memorial to commemorate his unparalleled acts of benevolence to Tunstall, was performed by Mr Alfred Meakin, in the presence of Mr J G Child, and a numerous company.

“The Tower, which is erected at the west end of the Market Square (Tower Square), and is constructed of buff terra-cotta, stands some 50 feet high, is fitted with a striking clock with Cambridge chimes, having four dials, and at the base of the structure is a bronze bust of Sir Smith Child in a niche designed for that purpose.

“The cost of the Tower has been over £1,500, which amount was contributed by over 3,500 subscribers.”

Spotlight on Tunstall – Market Returns to Tower Square

Spotlight on North Staffordshire and the Potteries is delighted to learn that market traders have returned to Tower Square and that once again Tunstall has an outdoor market.

We hope that local people will support the new market which will help to regenerate Tower Square and halt the decline of High Street.

Spotlight sends its best wishes to the traders in Tower Square and hope that the outdoor market is a great success.

Bringing the mail to The Potteries

MailcoachWhen it was established in 1635, the Royal Mail used despatch riders, who were 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.