Some history on Market Drayton in the county of Shropshire

Home

Pubs of Market Drayton

1913 Kelly's Trade Directory

Market Drayton, or Drayton-in-Hales, is a parish, market and union town and head of a county court district, situated on a hill near the Tern stream and the Shropshire Union canal, with a station on the Great Western Railway Company's main line from London to Manchester, 173 miles by rail and 154 by road from London, 19 north-east from Shrewsbury, 16 north from Wellington and 14 north-west from Newcastle-under-Lyme; the North Staffordshire Railway Company's branch line from Stoke-upon-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Silverdale also forms a junction at the station, which is conveniently situated a short distance from the town on the Cheshire side; for civil parochial purposes it is divided into four districts, viz. Market Drayton, Little Drayton, the hamlets of Sutton, Betton, Woodseaves, and Longslow, and the township of Tyrley, which latter place is in the county of Stafford; it is governed by old manorial customs, the fairs being proclaimed by the steward of the manor, during which a court of piepoudre is held, to determine all disputes that may arise during the time of the fairs; a court leet is held in October; the market was originally granted by King Henry the Third. The parish comprises the hamlets of Drayton Magna. Drayton Parva, Sutton, Betton, Woodseaves and Longslow, in Shropshire, and the township of Tyrley, in Staffordshire, in the Northern division of the county, North or Drayton division of the hundred of Bradford, rural deanery of Hodnet, archdeaconry of Salop and diocese of Lichfield; the town is lighted with gas by a company, formed in 1862, from works at Market Drayton, re-built in 1889, and also by electricity, from works in Great Hales Street belonging to a company formed in 1902; water has now been brought into the town from springs at Burnt Wood and Cold Comfort farm, Bloore Heath. The church of St. Mary is a building of stone in the Gothic style, consisting of Chancel, nave, aisles and an embattled western tower, with pinnacles, containing a clock and 8 bells, the 6 old bells having been re-hung and 2 new ones added in 1887; the west door is a fine example of Norman work : the stained west window, erected in 1901 by public subscription, is a memorial to Her late Majesty Queen Victoria : there are other windows to the Corbet and Radford-Norcop families; in 1898 a rood screen was put up : the church was re-opened in January, 1884, after being completely restored at a cost of between £8,000 and £9,000, and reheated in 1901 at a cost of £700 : a reredos and altar were erected in 1912 at a cost of about £360 : there are 750 sittings. The register dates from the year 1558. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £188, with residence, in the gift of Reginald Corbet esq. who is lay impropriator [the yearly value of the impropriated tithes being £785[, and is at present [1913] vacant. Emmanuel church, in Burgage Street, erected in 1882, was a proprietary chapel until February, 1904, when it was consecrated and the living made a full benefice : it is an edifice of red brick, in a modern Gothic style, from designs by Mr. Bower, architect, and consists of chancel, nave, vestry, west porch and a low western turret containing one bell : in 1899 a new vestry was added at the expense of J. Cecil Clay esq. : in 1891 a memorial window was erected to Mr. and Mrs. Embrey, who built the church and left money for its endowment : in 1900 new choir stalls were erected, and in 1904 a stone font was presented by the vicar : there are 320 sittings. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £140, with residence, in the gift of the Church Pastoral Aid Society Patronage Board, and held since 1904 by the Rev. Thomas Allen Still, of St. Aidan's. The Catholic chapel in Great Hales Street, dedicated to SS. Thomas and Stephen, was erected in 1886. The Primitive Methodist chapel in Frogmore road was built in 1867, and the Congregational chapel in 1776 : both will seat 300 persons. The cemetery, opened in 1868 at a cost of £2,550, occupies 4 acres, 2 of which have been consecrated; two-thirds of the other portion of the ground, with the use of one of the two mortuary chapels, is reserved for Dissenters of all denominations; it is under the control of a burial board of 9 members. The Manchester and Liverpool District Banking-Company and Parr's Bank Limited have premises in Cheshire Street. The United Counties Bank Limited is in High Street. The Town Hall, in Cheshire street, built in 1897, will hold 600 persons. The Constitutional Club, in Cheshire Street, established in 1885, has reading, billiard and recreations rooms. There are two foundries and manufactories of agricultural implements and two breweries in the town. The Fire Brigade station is in Church Street; there are two powerful manual engines, a portable fire pump and a hose cart. The Armoury of the C Co. The King's 4th Territorial Force Battalion [Shropshire Light Infantry] is in Shropshire Street. The market for meat is in High Street; the general market is held on Wednesday, one for meat on Saturday, and another for cheese every third Thursday. A large business is also done here in corn. The cattle market adjoins the railway station, and the sales are held every Wednesday. Fairs are held in the town on September 19th, October 24th and November 24th. The Butter Cross is in Cheshire Street. The charities amount to about £247 yearly, which sum is partly distributed in coals, bread and money, and partly appropriated to the apprenticing of poor boys and the clothing of a number of poor men and women. Bloore Heath, a short distance from the town, was the scene during the Wars of the Roses of a sanguinary encounter, September 23, 1459, between the Yorkists and Lancastrians, in which the latter were defeated and their leader. Lord Audley, slain; a cross is erected on the spot where he fell. Tunstall Hall is the seat of Mrs. Broughton. The Towers, a mansion in the Italian style, is the residence of Capt. Arthur Ernest Bankhead-Browne. Betton House is the residence of Major Sir Lovelace Stamer bart. J.P. Pell Wall Hall is the seat of J. Monro Walker esq. Betton Hall is the residence of Capt. Justinian Heathcote Edwards Heathcote D.L., J.P. Buntingsdale Hall, about 2 miles south-west from the centre of Market Drayton, is the residence of John Tayleur esq. D.L., J.P. The chief landowners are Reginald Corbet esq. of Adderley Hall, who is lord of the manor, John Tayleur esq. of Buntingsdale, John Radford-Norcop esq. Mrs. Henry Barwell Maxey Buchanan, of Hales Hall, Staffs, John Lambert Broughton esq. of Tunstall Hall, the Earl of Powis and Mrs. Wilson. The land is undulating; soil, loam; subsoil, gravel and sandstone. The popu1ution of the civil parish in 1911 was 5,761; the area is 7,729 acres of land and 57 of water; rateable value, £34,372.

Market Drayton : Richard Pearce's High Class Mineral Waters

I stumbled on the following article, printed in the Newport & Market Drayton Advertiser in May 1889. The journalist did not include a name. The language may rankle with the modern reader but it is a period piece with a vivid and florid account of the market during the Victorian era.

"On Wednesday in last week, after journeying from Stone to Stoke in the smoking compartment of a third-class carriage, in company with a stolid but nevertheless good-natured commercial, I became aware of the fact that I was no longer on terra incognita, for I heard a voice on the platform saying, "Bist gine to Drayton?" The speaker was a very fat woman with a very red face; and she was addressing another very fat woman with a very white face, who was accompanied by a female who was the owner of a beer-barrel proportions and a countenance which have been made from the pattern of a full-grown harvest moon. All the three women got into the same carriage with my friend and I, and were followed by three other women equally as stout, and another who could not provide so much fat as would have made a farthing candle. It was a case of jam, especially when ten huge baskets were handed in by an accommodating friend on the platform, and piled up round and about the stolid commercial and your humble servant, until we must have presented the appearance of a couple of old drakes fastened up in a wicker-work crate, but it was more than we dared do to say "quack," for seven pairs of piercing eyes, watched us as though their owners. were she-dragons, and we were their lawful prey. Eventually, we mustered up sufficient courage to avail ourselves of the right to indulge in a whiff of the fragrant weed, and - sub rosa - of trying to make the seven women either indulge in the same luxury or skedaddle to a place where pipes and tobacco are forbidden fruit. Alas! What is man when woman wills the exact contrary to his wish? The septenate of feminine loveliness were as impervious to tobacco smoke as a K boot is to water; and all through that long and weary journey to Drayton we had to endure an unceasing cackle than which the music of the farmyard when the hens have left their roost is heavenly in the extreme. And that unmitigated cackle savoured of the farm, for it turned, anon, on new potatoes, butter and eggs, until I did not know whether I was going to be poached for somebody's breakfast, boiled for somebody's dinner, or spread on a slice of nice brown toast for somebody's tea. It was a great relief when the train drew up in Drayton station, and the jolly smile-all-over-your face countenance of mine ancient friend, Sam Woodcock, dawned upon me, as its owner walked across the platform to open the carriage door. What a crowd of people there was, and well there might be! Drayton is the happy hunting ground of the cute higgler from smoky Potterydom. When my lot was first cast in the good old market town - and it was cast in a very peasant place - I was wont to wonder from what land beyond the moon the meal-sack-shaped women, with their white aprons, and their big lap pockets which had never been white since a certain washing day, twenty years before, came. All I could understand was, that, when they left the town, they took home with them, plenty of grease, in the form of butter; an abundance of food in the shape of feathered meat and green vegetables; and luxurious galore in the way of fruit, from the tiny gooseberry no larger than an incipient grog-blossom to the mammoth apple vying with the turnip in size. I know now, for, "I have been there and 'tis, I know, Where pot kilns smoke and forge fires glow, In summer's heat and winter's freeze, Those bustling towns - The Potteries." I felt it to be an extremely happy and fortunate fact that my flying visit to Drayton should have fallen on a double-breasted market day - that is, on a Wednesday when the Smithfield is open. I was made aware of this the very moment I left the station premises and was greeted by two genial auctioneers in the person of Mr. E. R. Heath and Mr. G. J. Heywood, with whom. I am sorry to say, I had only time to exchange a few passing words. It did my heart good to see the sheep and cattle, and the little curly-tailed pigs on their way to the Smithfield, for they were a palpable embodiment of the secret of what little measure of prosperity has accrued to the town. Agriculture is sometimes a better mistress than she is a servant; but, whether she be mistress or servant, she most certainly has moulded Drayton into what the town is at the present time. The scene in the streets uphold this fact, and at the same time the said scene bore evidence to that which is the great secrets of one of the drawbacks to permanent prosperity. In the last instance I allude to the stall-holders who are non-rate-payers, but who are, nevertheless, allowed to stand on the streets, which are repaired at the local ratepayers' expense, and to compete with the shopkeeper and others, who are ratepayers - nay who do more than this, who take away money earned in the district, and spend it elsewhere. As it happened, this particular Wednesday was a remarkably fine day, and when Wednesday is fine there is invariably a good market in Drayton. Three months had made no change in the habitus of the streets. The same human limpets still clung to the same street corners; the same amateur scourers still polished the same walls with the same greasy and well-worn coats; and even the couple of bantams which have so long foraged on and near the weighing machine were still en evidence - they are like the Wandering Jew of whom Eugène Sue once had so much to say or like Tennyson's "Brook" which continually babbles. "Men may come, and men may go, but I go on forever." A recently married couple were trying to drive a bargain with a basket maker; they wanted to buy "a good big hamper" wherein to store their new potatoes of which they were evidently hoping to have a goodly crop; but John was hard to satisfy, and so was Mary. John wanted something strong and useful; whereas Mary wanted something that would combine ornamentation with utility. She wished order a crate which would also serve as a fancy work basket, as occasion served; he said "Fancy work baskets be blowed;" and at last they made a compromise and bought a wicker-work arm chair, which could be used by John, or by Mary. too, for that matter "when potatoes were out," and turned upside down and used as a receptacle for the new potatoes as soon as the dainty tubers were unearthed, and so long as they remained unused. The worthy man of leather from of the "Wiches"" was in his accustomed place, and so, too, were the various seedsmen; but they had a new neighbour - a sickly-looking youth who was selling red water to cure chilblains and green sealing wax to remove warts. Strange to say, he sold more of the red water than he did of the green sealing wax. I am afraid there must have been lot of frost in Drayton lately - there must have been, for one of the stalls in Cheshire Street was as heavily laden with worsted comforters and shawls and heavy woollen goods, as though the almanack makers had made a mistake and printed "Midsummer" instead of "Christmas," and "June" instead of "December." I was pleased to see my sweet and ancient friend from Tibberton looking so hale and hearty, and was about to ask him when he expected the bees to make another raid upon his stall, when my sedate confrère, "Rusticus" hove in sight. "Rusticus" is a very useful man in a market; he can tell as soon as he sees the cloth over the butter basket, whether the butter has been made from the milk of a white cow or a black one; and whether the water with which the milk used in making the said butter came out of a draw well or through a pump - nay, he ran spot, in a moment, whether the pump was iron, lead, or wood. Knowing this, I asked him how his health was, for there was a superabundance of butter in the market that day. I had no need to ask him, for his dear old face was wreathed with smiles, and was as ruddy as the last hip which clings to the frosted briar when the blythe huntsman greets the early morn. Joking aside, I was pleased to meet with "Rusticus" for his "Rural Life" column published in the two Advertisers is, to my knowledge, read and appreciated by hundreds who do not know whether "Rusticus" is a man or a woman, or whether he is a couple, a triumvirate, a quadrille, or a merry all-round waltz. "Hallo! How are you my lad?" It was the worthy bailiff of the manor - I beg pardon, the Mayor of Drayton - who addressed me, "Very well, Mr. Wycherley, I thank you. How are you?" "O, right, lad, you'll have to come back; we can't do without you." "Children must not cry for the moon, sir." "Well, if ever, is that you?" This time, it was jolly Tom Jones, with his fragrant posy in the button hole of his alpaca jacket - brave old Tom, who has grappled with the fine-fiend oftener than any other man in Drayton - grand old Tom who is never so happy as when the engines are in good order, and he and his comrades get off to a fire quicker than any other body of men ever did. More power to him! Ah! Who's that towering, Saul-like head and shoulders above the crowd? Why its the genial Vicar of the parish, but I cannot get a word with him; and I must be on my way through the market. Yes; it is just the same. There is Boulton's fish stall from which I have stolen many a shrimp; and yonder is the toffee stand where I contracted indigestion times out of number. There is the old woman with the perpetual pimple on bee chin, and the same ancient cock and hen with which she has stood the market for the last ten years. Here is the venerable youth who always wastes his May-time Wednesday in trying to sell scraggy radishes and bantam's eggs. Yonder is the meek and lowly chiel whose dauby Dick is at once the delight of youngsters and the terror of over-particular mamas; and hard by is the cheesemonger who asks his customers to taste and try before they buy. Never! Yes! Yonder is the pudgy gentleman who sells papers of pins from eleven till twelve, papers of needles from twelve till one, and beautifully illustrated story books from one till two, after which he hurries off to catch the train, for fresh fields and pastures new. I am afraid I should fill the Advertiser if I attempted to deal with everybody I met with and saw; but I must say something about the corn market, for more business is done there in a quiet way, and more money turned over in an hour, than is exchanged in the remainder of the market in a month. The farmers and dealers are doing their business in the same old quiet way as they had done it, to my knowledge for sixteen years. How do they do it? In this way. One man approaches another; one is a farmer, and the other a merchant or a miller. They pass the day to each other; and then the farmer produces a mysterious-looking envelope; the merchant holds out his hand, and the farmer pours a few grains of wheat out of the envelope into the open palm, after which two or three grains are transferred into the merchant's mouth and chewed. While the chewing process is going on, the merchant looks intently at the grains in the left hand, and plays them with his right forefinger. All this time strict silence is observed; but when the corn has been thoroughly chewed, the merchant looks up, and says "How much." The farmer names his price, and the merchant shakes his head. Then the two men contend together as to which shall have his say in the making of the bargain, and strange to relate when the bargain is made, both men think they have had the best of it. This is all I have to say about the market, at present, but I hope to publish a few sketches of my sixteen years' experience of Market Drayton, I may have something to write about the market on a future occasion."
"Drayton Re-visited On A Market Day"
Newport & Market Drayton Advertiser : May 25th 1889 Page 6

1870 Kelly's Directory Beer Retailers, Shropshire Street, Misses Elizabeth & Harriet Hall Beer Retailer, Cheshire Street, Elizabeth Williams LITTLE DRAYTON King's Head, Shrewsbury Road Solomon King Beer Retailer, William Meredith Beer Retailer, Shropshire Street James Thomas Beer Retailer, Thomas Brasnell WOODSEAVES Fox, Shakeford Stephen Shaw & butcher & farmer 1895 Kelly's Directory Crown, Stafford Street James Wright & Son, brewers, wine and spirit vaults Market Drayton Brewery Co. Limited, Cheshire Street Richard Pearce, Maltster & Mineral Water Manufacturer & dealer in corn, meal, bran, sharps etc. The Tern Pearce's Crystal Fountain Brewery Co. Limited, brewers & maltsters & wine & spirit merchants, Cheshire Street LITTLE DRAYTON Joiners' Arms, Shrewsbury Road John Bentley King's Head, Shrewsbury Road Solomon King Beer Retailer, Shrewsbury Road John Gradwell Edwards, painter and glazier Beer Retailer, Shropshire Street John Stones WOODSEAVES Four Alls Inn, John Breeze

Photographs of Market Drayton

Market Drayton : Railway Station [c.1920]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

Market Drayton's Railway Station closed to passengers in September 1963. This has since been exacerbated by the withdrawal of bus services to local towns such as Whitchurch. It was when drinking in William Chesters that I learned from some locals that they call the town Market Trumpton, an ironic slur on the state of the facilities, the pitiful standard of the market, and lack of public transport. One bloke remarked that if he lived in Whitchurch at least there was a route to explore other places. His sense of isolation was palpable.

Market Drayton : Railway Junction Diagram [Adapted from Railway Clearing House Diagram 1904 in the public domain]

It was all so different back in the day. Once all three railways met via junctions, the world was Market Drayton's oyster. The railway station opened in October 1863 and was enlarged in 1870 when the North Staffordshire Railway opened a line from Silverdale. This work involved with the French Renaissance style building seen above to the right of the footbridge.¹

Market Drayton : Tannery and River Tern [c.1905]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

This view was captured from the south of the town, the photographer being close to Tern Mill near Tyrley Castle. Note the large water wheel which seems to be part of the large tannery close to Drayton Bridge. The cluster of houses around the tannery have long gone, as has the whitewashed house beneath the rock outcrop. The operator of the tannery in 1870 was John Slater. The Cheshire-born tanner and currier lived with his wife Elizabeth at Sunny Bank.² Another firm to emerge next to the tannery during the 1880s was the Phoenix Clothing Mills. The trees to the right of the image shield the gas works, established around 1850 and providing light for the town during the autumn of 1851.³

Market Drayton : Church of Saint Mary [c.1950]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

The prominent outcrop of red sandstone rock overlooking the River Tern, on which the Church of Saint Mary stands, was possibly the site of a prehistoric defence position. Like nearly every town in the land, they like to roll out that a wooden Anglo Saxon church probably stood on the site before the Norman invaders showed the locals how to build a proper structure. The west door of the building remains as a good example of their work. It is a fragment remaining in a church dating mainly from the 14th century but considerably altered and modified during Victorian restoration projects.⁴ Here one can see the embattled western tower, with pinnacles, containing clock and bells. With a tall structure perched on top of the rock outcrop, Pevsner stated that the tower acts as a Stadtkrone.⁵ A vicarage once stood outside the west door but was demolished in the late 1830s when a house was erected in Church Street for the incumbent.⁶

Market Drayton : Nave of the Church of Saint Mary [c.1930]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

I only have these old photographs of the interior because the church was closed during our visit. What is the point of a church if the doors are locked? Stash the valuables and open it up for the spiritual needs of the local residents, along with making it available to those visiting the town and wishing to appreciate its historic fabric. So, no opportunity to admire the windows by Charles Eamer Kempe. Here one can see the wooden screen that once divided the chancel from the nave. This was removed in 1992 and repositioned at the base of the tower arch. Above the screen is a roof loft and large cross. This has also been removed.⁷

Market Drayton : Chancel of the Church of Saint Mary [c.1948]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

Here the photographer has ventured beyond the screen to capture the chancel during the post-war years. The east window, representing the Resurrection of Jesus, is by the aforementioned Charles Eamer Kempe, one of the most prolific stained-glass artists of the late Victorian era and early Edwardian period.

Market Drayton : Fire Brigade [c.1905]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

An early location for the fire engine at Market Drayton was within a small building in Church Street. However, this photograph seems to have been taken in the yard of a larger building, perhaps the town hall or one of the principal hostelries. The engine house was located at the Town Hall in later years. In the Edwardian period the town had "two powerful manual engines, a portable fire pump and a hose cart." ⁸ In 1909 the superintendent of the brigade was William Rogers, his assistant being the provisions dealer Edwin Noden. The brigade consisted of 12 men who were kept busy with a large number of call-outs during the Edwardian period, some ending in fatal injuries.

Market Drayton : High Street Bank and Shops [c.1949]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

An excellent post-war view of the High Street with the bank building on the left. This building still stands but, for some bizarre reason, the lovely ground floor windows and arched entrance were ripped out. In the early 20th century the building, erected in 1874, housed Jeffro's Bar but has since been converted into residential apartments. Harry Glennie, son of the vicar of Croxton, was the manager, latterly for the United Counties Bank for two decades. This company was formed in 1907 by the merger of the Birmingham District and Counties Banking Company and the Bradford Old Bank Limited. At the time of this photograph Barclay's had a branch two doors away, seen here to the extreme left of the photograph. Between the banks was a shoe shop, stockists of K Shoes. Further along the High Street is Morrey's Chemist's Shop. The pedimented building on the corner of The Shambles [now called Shropshire Street] is the old Meat Market, a structure erected in 1860 and serving the town for a century before being demolished in 1960,⁹ the site being occupied by a small seating area and the widening of Shropshire Street. The SS Jaguar parked in front of the bank had seen better days - half of the rear wing had been ripped off. It is parked in front of a two-tone Morris Y-type 10 cwt van. The van with the dark paint job is a Fordson E83W 10cwt, a vehicle introduced in 1939, and built until 1957. On the opposite side of the road, the Morris car nearest the camera, had a Staffordshire registration plate GRE 889 issued between May to July 1938.¹⁰

Market Drayton : High Street Shops with Cars and Bus [c.1953]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

Dating from the early 1950s, the bank building to the left has a sign for Barclay's Bank, the company that had acquired the United Counties Bank in 1916, finally occupying the larger building. A sign above the shoe shop shows that it was the business of A. A. Cleland. The vehicles in the High Street help to date the photograph with some accuracy. The car on the right, a Morris Oxford Series MO, has the Shropshire registration plate of FAW 674 which was issued between February and May 1949. This would fit with the Midland Red type S6 single decker bus which looks to still have the original short rear overhang. The whole class was lengthened to accommodate an additional row of seats in the late 1940s/early 50s. The older car is a 1930s Morris, possibly a Ten-Four.¹¹ The latter is parked outside the Corbet Arms which has a traditional signboard with a coat-of-arms illustration. The name of Lockett can be seen on the sun canopy to the right of the image. A long-established business in the town, it was founded by the bookseller, printer, bookbinder and stationer, John Lockett.

Market Drayton : High Street with Jubilee Fountain and Grocery Van [c.1919]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

Winding the clock back, this view looks back along the High Street from the square formed by the junctions of High Street, Stafford Street and Queen Street. The buildings to the extreme right are where Cheshire Street begins and the photographer would be stood fairly close to the Butter Cross. Of these buildings only the first couple remain. Although the frontages were modified in Victorian times, the structures are much older. On the right is the greengrocery shop of William Hubank. He did not merely retail fruit and vegetables but, as a market gardener, grew much of the produce sold on the premises. Following his death in November 1920, his son George took over the business. Originally trading from No.22 High Street, Everton-born William Henry Cushing would later occupy three adjacent retail shops when his business as provision dealer and grocer developed. He was doing well enough by the time of this photograph to invest in a Model T Ford van in order to make deliveries to the surrounding area. To the left of the photograph is the fountain erected to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It was the work of Coventry-born stonemason and carver, Henry Harding, who later settled in Nantwich.¹³

Market Drayton : Large Crowd in Market Square [c.1904]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

The buildings seen in the last photograph feature here in the early Edwardian period. Despite inclement weather, the square is packed. Some people have taken up positions on the first-floor above the shop frontages. No doubt the occasion is a big deal. It is unlikely to be for the Court Leet Proclamation as picture postcards of the period show only a small crowd to witness that event. It may be a little earlier than my suggested date. The Jubilee Fountain can be seen so it is after 1897. Relief of Mafeking perhaps? Death of Queen Victoria?

Market Drayton : Court Leet Meeting [c.1908]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

This is more typical of the crowd that observed the Court Leet proclaiming the fair during the Edwardian period. Indeed, declining interest in the ceremony meant that it ended in 1908. Five years earlier it was reported that "One of the most ceremonies in the country, and one that has been faithfully kept up since the thirteenth century - namely, the Court of Drayton Magna, was duly observed at Market Drayton, yesterday, when some thousands of people assembled in the streets to witness the quaint procession of officials and chaplain, robed, and accompanied by torch bearers. During the day the grand inquest was conducted by twenty-five jurors. Their presentments as to the behaviour and condition of the town were solemnly submitted to the steward of Mr. Reginald Corbet, the lord of the manor." ¹³ After a gap of some years, the ceremony was observed in 1926.¹⁴ It has been revived on occasions since then, notably for the Silver Jubilee celebrations of 1977.

Market Drayton : Bank and Pubs on Shropshire Street [c.1948]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

A view along Shropshire Street when the building known as the Tudor House Hotel was the premises of the National Provincial Bank. Historic England have dated the corner building as a 1653 building, erected after the disastrous fire of 1651 in which most of the buildings in the town centre were destroyed. The timber-framed structure with plastered infill was restored in 1962. A plaque mounted on the building by the Drayton Civic Society states that "the box-framed building has been a fruiterers, fishmongers, bank and restaurant and that the town stream passes beneath it." ¹⁵

Market Drayton : Shropshire Street in the Edwardian Period [c.1907]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

This photograph was captured further along Shropshire Street and shows a row of thatched buildings, one of which was the old Dun Cow Inn. It was destroyed by fire around 1930. I do not know the exact date of the conflagration as different sources cite different dates. The tall Georgian building beyond the cottages is Poynton House, one of the best examples of 18th century architecture in Market Drayton. The rainwater heads are dated 1753 but are thought to be later additions to an early 18th century house. In the late Victorian era, the house was the residence of Lieutenant-Colonel George Gordon Warren, for many years coroner for North Shropshire, and a son of Joseph Loxdale Warren, of The Towers.¹⁶

Market Drayton : Cheshire Street and the Butter Cross [c.1959]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

A late 1950s view of the Butter Cross and Cheshire Street. With function taking precedence over aesthetics, the Butter Cross was erected in 1824, principally for the sale of dairy products - hence the name. I can see that the structure is an excellent place to park a bicycle!

Market Drayton : Cheshire Street viewed from under the Butter Cross [c.1958]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

Who can resist wandering beneath the roof of a butter cross? Not this photographer by the look of it. And neither could we, as we visited the town during inclement weather and the structure provided welcome relief from the light rain. And this was a chief role of the butter cross - to offer protection from the rain and, perhaps more importantly, the warm sunshine for those retailing perishable dairy produce.

Market Drayton : Queen Street and Brewery [c.1905]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

More lost thatched roofing, this time in Queen Street, a thoroughfare formerly known as Bell Lane. Not all is lost however, as a good part of this row of cottages has survived, just with different protection from the elements. They adjoin the brewery next to the Old Crown. The building fronting the street remains but the chimney has long gone.

Market Drayton : Cheshire Street Shops with view of the Butter Cross [c.1958]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

Returning to Cheshire Street, this view was captured from near the post-office. The sun canopy extended across the pavement behind the parked car is the only listed building along this row. Behind the brick façade is a building dating from the middle of the 17th century. Next door at No.28 was Melia's grocery and provisions store, a business that was eventually acquired by Associated British Foods. In the 21st century these premises were occupied by the chartered accountants, Stubbs, Parkin & South. On the extreme left is one of the shops in Market Drayton operated by Billington's.

Market Drayton : Market Day in Cheshire Street [c.1914]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

This photograph was taken from a similar location to the last shot but from an elevated position, probably from a first-floor window. This view shows a busy Cheshire Street on a market day. Even in relatively recent times the market here drew people from all over. It is sad that it has been reduced to a pitiful state. We visited on Market Day in 2024 and there just a couple of stalls in Cheshire Street and very few people browsing their wares. The premises occupied by W. H. Smith in the 21st century can be seen here as the Salopian Arcade. In the Victorian era this was the domain of the fashion retailers, Beeston & Thursfield. Potential customers were assured in advertisements that patrons would receive "special attention in the millinery and dressmaking departments, being under most efficient management." ¹⁷ By the time of this photograph the premises was occupied by the Cornish-born draper, Charles Hicks.¹⁸ But, as a keen cyclist, it is the emporium next door that grabs my attention. This was the premises of the saddler's, George Edward Harries & Son, a business that also had premises in Shrewsbury. The firm had clearly diversified into cycles and had quite an array of machines for people to choose from. Typical for this type of shop during the period, the frontage has a display of wheels and tyres. If I had been a resident of Market Drayton in these times most of my disposable income would have been spent in this emporium.

Market Drayton : Post-Office and Raven Foundry in Cheshire Street [c.1912]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

The last scene was probably taken by a photographer leaning out of one of these windows. Here, on the opposite side of Cheshire Street, is the post-office and the Raven Foundry. Oh, not to mention the small tobacconist's shop of Lizzie Bradley. She lived on the premises with her husband Eli, a house decorator - in the days before DIY when folks would hire an expert to hang their wallpaper. At this time the postmaster next door was Thomas Comben. The extended frontage of the Raven Foundry, known also as the Eagle Foundry, was built in 1877 for John Rodenhurst Company Limited, manufacturers of a wide range of agricultural implements and machinery. The firm had previously operated in Shropshire Street. In 1851 the business was being run by brothers, William and John Rodenhurst. The latter continued the business and the 1871 census records that he was employing 46 men and 6 boys.¹⁹ It became a limited company in June 1874 when James Tomkiss was appointed manager, a position he held until 1897.²⁰ His successor was George Whitfield, resident of Phoenix House at Great Hales Street, who later became a director of the company before his death in 1907.²¹ The buildings seen here were demolished as part of a 1970s redevelopment of this side of Cheshire Street.

Market Drayton : Thatched Buildings in Cheshire Street [c.1910]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

Captured further along Cheshire Street, this view is looking back towards the Raven Foundry. The tall building in the foreground is the only survivor. I have no idea what Michael Raven was on when compiling his "Shropshire Gazetteer" published in 1989, in which he wrote that Market Drayton is "a most attractive and largely unspoiled market town". The vandalism of the 1960s and 1970s is everywhere one looks. Sure, there is plenty to admire but if they had preserved more of their built heritage it would be a place of treasure. The dome seen in the middle of the photograph was part of the Town Hall, a lovely building built in 1897 but pulled down around 1972, along with the adjacent Royal Oak. What were they thinking?

Market Drayton : Hippodrome Cinema [c.1928]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

Sadly, Market Drayton's old cinema is now a branch of that awful chain of beer supermarkets headed by chief twonk, Tim Martin. If only the townsfolk boycotted the place then some of the old pubs may have survived and it would help the taverns that are hanging in there.

Owned by the Manchester entrepreneur, T. E. Markham, The Hippodrome was built partly on the site of The Towers, a large mansion on, what was then, the edge of the town. In the mid-19th century it was the residence of Joseph Loxdale Warren and his wife Mary Ann, before they relocated to Morville Hall near Bridgnorth. The Towers, a mansion with a library and 13 bedrooms, was set within 13 acres of park-like land, with a walled garden, vinery and crocquet ground.²²

Market Drayton : Cinema Lobby Card for "The Bat" [1926]
© ha.com. Reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 licence.

The Hippodrome opened to the public on October 10th, 1927, showing "The Bat," a comedy-mystery-drama starring Jack Pickford and Louise Fazenda, released in the previous year. The above photograph probably dates from 1928 as a poster is advertising the screening of "The Latest From Paris," a romantic drama starring screen siren Norma Shearer and released during that year. Towards the end of World War 2, The Hippodrome was acquired by S. M. Super Cinemas and Associate Companies, the theatre being re-branded as The Regal in 1952. "Born Free" was the last film to be screened before the cinema closed in 1966.

Market Drayton : Advertisement for the Fine Fare Supermarket at Towers Lawn [1981]

Like many a cinema, The Regal was converted into a Bingo Hall which lasted throughout the 1970s. The building then underwent conversion for retailing and opened as a supermarket. The above advertisement for the Fine Fare chain appeared in the press in November 1981. In later years the store was operated by Kwik-Save before a merger with Somerfield Stores Ltd. It all went pear-shaped and the supermarket closed around 2006. A similar stack 'em high, flog it cheap ethos was applied to the so-called pub that opened towards the end of 2007. In desperation, the Railway Hotel across the road was re-branded in a bid to stave off the inevitable but the writing was on the wall for some of Market Drayton's public-houses when this place opened for business.

Market Drayton : Thomas Telford's Aqueduct for the Shropshire Union Canal from Berrisford Road [c.1952]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

Rocky Balboa could have trained for his big fight by running up the steps from Berisford Road to the aqueduct carrying the Shropshire Union Canal that skirts the eastern side of Market Drayton. The waterway formed part of the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal and opened in 1835. Ten years later it merged with the Ellesmere and Chester Canal before it came under the Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company banner in 1846.²³

Market Drayton : Bridge over River Tern near Victoria Mill [c.1932]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

This small structure spanning the River Tern was formerly known as Walkmill Bridge, named after the Walk Mill, a fulling mill operating before the modern industrial era. It was known as the Victoria Mills by the time John Dain was miller in the 1870s. The complex was taken over in 1880 by William Rogers who enlarged the premises, introducing rolling machinery.

Market Drayton : Ornamental Bridge at Pell Wall [c.1910]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

This rustic bridge was erected on the pool within the landscaped grounds of Pell Wall Hall, a grand mansion designed by the architect Sir John Soane and erected in the 1820s for Purney Sillitoe, the London-based iron merchant.

Market Drayton : Bearstone Mill near Market Drayton [c.1905]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

Contemporary Photographs

Market Drayton : Rylands House on Great Hales Street [2024]
© Photo taken by author on February 21st, 2024. DO NOT COPY

It may be heading away from the town but Great Hales Street looks quite interesting in character. It would be even better if the old Phoenix Inn was still going! Ryland House is one of a cluster of listed buildings in the street. A Georgian building, it was the residence of the Scottish-born post master Richard Grant during the early 19th century. In his late 80s he upped sticks and moved to Leamington where he died in 1858. In the 1860s Anne Matthews, together with her younger sister, Harriet, established a girls' seminary in Ryland House. The money had come from their parents who had run large farms in the region, including Onneley Hall.

Market Drayton : Clive Steps from Phoenix Bank with Church of Saint Mary [2024]
© Photo taken by author on February 21st, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Across the road from the Red Lion, is a route through to the church. A plaque mounted on a wall by the Drayton Civic Society informs the visitor that "the dwellings around Clive Steps date from the late 16th century, of half-timber and thatch, until the brick and tile construction of the 18th century. The have been post-office, bank, shop and the Clive Restaurant." The cottages were restored by the society in 1986.

Market Drayton : The Old Grammar School [2024]
© Photo taken by author on February 21st, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Market Drayton : Former Bakery of the Billington family [2024]
© Photo taken by author on February 21st, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Market Drayton : The Butter Cross [2024]
© Photo taken by author on February 21st, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Market Drayton : The Old Fire Station [2024]
© Photo taken by author on February 21st, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Market Drayton : Freddie's Restaurant [2024]
© Photo taken by author on February 21st, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Market Drayton : The Red House on Shropshire Street [2024]
© Photo taken by author on February 21st, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Market Drayton : The Old House on Shropshire Street [2024]
© Photo taken by author on February 21st, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Market Drayton : Cotton's House on Shropshire Street [2024]
© Photo taken by author on February 21st, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Market Drayton : Former Gingerbread Bakery on Shropshire Street [2024]
© Photo taken by author on February 21st, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Market Drayton : Warren Court and Victorian Post Box on Shropshire Street [2024]
© Photo taken by author on February 21st, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Market Drayton : Florist's Shop at 18 Shropshire Street [2024]
© Photo taken by author on February 21st, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Genealogy Connections

Click here to share your story or memories OR to send a genealogy query

Related Newspaper Articles

"On Thursday a young man named Thomas George, in the employ of Mr. Slater, tanner of this town, was oiling the machinery whilst it was in motion, when one his hands was caught in the cogs and so severely crushed that part of it at least will have to be amputated."
"Accident At Tannery"
Eddowes's Shrewsbury Journal : January 26th 1870 Page 6


References
1. Christiansen, Rex & Miller, Robert W. [1971] "The North Staffordshire Railway" Newton Abbot : David & Charles; Page 29.
2. 1871 England Census RG 10/2801 Folio 16 : Shropshire > Market Drayton > Little Drayton > District 6, Page 26.
3. Bagshaw, Samuel [1851] "History, Gazetteer & Directory of Shropshire" Sheffield : Samuel Bagshaw; Page 266.
4. Raven, Michael [1989] "A Shropshire Gazetteer" Market Drayton : Michael Raven; Page 128.
5. Pevsner, Nikolaus [2000] "The Buildings of England : Shropshire" London : Penguin Books; Page 194.
6. Jenkins, Dr. David [2005] "The Chronology of Market Drayton" within "Discovering Shropshire's History" <http://www.shropshirehistory.org.uk/>, Accessed March 22nd, 2024.
7. Leonard-Johnson, Philip "The Parish Church of St. Mary" online version at "Our Building" <https://www.stmarysmarketdrayton.org.uk/>, Accessed March 22nd, 2024.
8. "Kelly's Directory of Shropshire 1913" London High Holburn : Kelly's Directory Limited; Page 147.
9. Morris, Marianne [1994] "Whitchurch To Market Drayton" Stroud : Alan Sutton Publishing Limited; Page 104.
10. Detailed automobile notes kindly supplied by Johnfromstaffs to whom I am indebted for his generous help.
11. ibid.
12. "Death Of Mr. Henry Harding" : Nantwich Guardian; November 23rd, 1917. Page 5.
13. "Court Leet At Market Drayton" : Liverpool Daily Post; October 27th, 1903. Page 5.
14. "Old Manorial Court Leet At Market Drayton" : Birmingham Daily Gazette; October 26th, 1923. Page 10.
15. Information on Plaque erected by the Drayton Civic Society on this building.
16. "Local Wills" : Wellington Journal; July 13th, 1907. Page 12.
17. "Salopian Arcade, Market Drayton" : Newport & Market Drayton Advertiser; October 30th, 1875. Page 1.
18. 1911 Census Piece No.16251 : Shropshire > Drayton-in-Hales > District 354, Enumeration District 01 Schedule 44.
19. 1871 England Census RG 10/2800 Folio 46 : Shropshire > Drayton Magna > Drayton St. Mary Market > District 2, Page 6.
20. "Death Of Mr. James Tomkiss" : Shrewsbury Chronicle; November 12th, 1909. Page 11.
21. "Death Of Mr. G. Whitfield" : Wellington Journal; March 30th, 1907. Page 11.
22. "To Be Let" : Hour; December 30th, 1874. Page 8.
23 Hadfield, Charles [1966] "The Canals Of The West Midlands" Newton Abbot : David & Charles; Pp. 183-9.


Navigate via Interactive Map

Click here to visit the website's podcast episodes on Spotify

Click here to visit the website's YouTube Channel

Click here for a Pub Quiz

Click Here for the Pub Jukebox

Click or tap here for more information

Click here to visit the W3C Markup Validation Service