infobox UK place
shire_district=East Staffordshire
region=West Midlands

Uttoxeter is a small market town in eastern Staffordshire, in the West Midlands region of England. The current population is approximately 12,000, though new developments in the town will increase this figure. Uttoxeter lies close to the River Dove and is near to the cities of Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Lichfield. It was twinned with Raisdorf in Germany (with whom close links are still maintained), and Fumel in France.


Uttoxeter's name has had 79 spellings since it was mentioned in the Domesday Book as "Wotocheshede": it probably came from Anglo-Saxon "Wuttuceshǣddre" = "Wuttuc's heath". Some historians point to pre-Roman settlement here and Bronze Age axes have been discovered in the town (now in display in Hanley museum.) It is possible that Uttoxeter had some form of Roman activity due to its strategic position on the River Dove and closeness to the large garrison forts at Rocester between 69 and 400, and recently discovered fort at Stramshall, though little collaborating archaeology has been found.

Uttoxeter also saw the last surrender (Royalist to Parliamentarian) of the English Civil War in 1646, when the Marquis of Hamilton surrendered to General Lambert.

Perhaps the most famous event to have occurred in Uttoxeter is the penance of Samuel Johnson. Johnson's father ran a bookstall on Uttoxeter market, and young Samuel once refused to help out on the stall. When Johnson was older, he stood in the rain (without a hat) as a penance for his failure to assist his father. This event is commemorated with the Johnson Memorial, which stands in the Market Place, in the town centre and there is also an area of town called Johnson Road, which commemorates him.

Mary Howitt (Quaker writer of the poem 'The Spider and the Fly'), lived in Balance Street, Uttoxeter for a long period of her life. The town influenced some of her poems and novels, as well as fuelling her love of natural history, which also featured in her books. Howitt Crescent, a residential road in the town, was named after her. Recently, three of her poems were displayed in the town's bus shelters by the Uttoxeter Arts Festival Committee to increase awareness of art.

Bunting’s brewery occupied a large area of the centre of the town from Victorian times. It stopped producing beer in the 1930s after being bought by Bass Brewery of Burton on Trent. The last remains of the brewery were demolished in the 1960s to make way for the Maltings shopping precinct and car park. The brewery clock was recently re-furbished and installed on the town hall.

Uttoxeter was the birthplace of Joseph Cyril Bamford (creator of the JCB Empire), who started his small business in a small garage in the town. Their international headquarters are now based in Rocester, a near-by village.

The Bamford family had previously started Bamfords, later Bamford International Farm Machinery which was a large employer in the town from the end of the 19th century through to the early 1980s when it gradually went into decline before closing in 1986. The company was famous for its bailers, hay turners, rakes, mangold cutters and standing engines, which were exported all over the world. The site was subsequently bought and used by JCB.

The Writer and Director, Shane Meadows was born and brought up in Uttoxeter. Parts of his film, 'A Room for Romeo Brass' were filmed at Oldfield's Hall Middle School in 1997. He is also known for the films '24:7' and 'Once upon a Time in the Midlands'. Five of Shane Meadows' films, including his most recent at the time 'This is England', were shown at Cinebowl from the 18th to 22 June as part of the 2007 Flourish Festival.

Other notables include:
*Admiral Lord Gardner - commanded a younger Nelson) was born at the Manor house in the town in 1742, and died at Bath in 1810.
*Alex Newport - Record producer and musician who attended Thomas alleynes High School in the 1980s.
*Bartley Gorman bare knuckle boxer, lived for many years in the town.
*Francis Redfern - Historian, the first writer to publish a history of the town in 1865.
*Henry Yevele - Medieval architect.
*Jack Holland, writer and co-founder of the Rough Guides travel series, attended Alleyne's Grammar School.
*Jayne Bostock, women's rights campaigner.
*Peter Vaughan - actor who lived in the town for part of his young life.
*Robert Bakewell - Artist and Metal worker.
*Ruth Gledhill, journalist, grew up in Gratwich.
*Sir Simon Degge, an antiquary, well known for his manuscript notes on Plot's Natural History of Staffordshire.


In 1982 the body of murdered schoolgirl Susan Maxwell was found in a lay-by on the A518 at Loxley, 2 miles outside of Uttoxeter. She had been murdered by serial killer Robert Black, who was later sentenced to life imprisonment to serve a minimum of 35 years. [cite news | work= The Scotsman | url= http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/39Insufficient-evidence39-to-charge-child.4402653.jp | title= 'Insufficient evidence' to charge child killer Black over Genette's death | author= McLaughlin, Martyn | date= 19 August 2008 | accessdate= 2008-09-29]

A high profile murder occurred in the town on 26 October 2007. George Barlow (77) and his wife Joyce Barlow (née Young)(65) were found dead at Barlow's scrapyard. George Barlow's nephew Richard Barlow (29) admitted their murder at Stafford Crown Court on 21 January 2008 and was sentenced to life imprisonment (with a recommended minimum of 25 years) on 8 February. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/staffordshire/7235789.stm Nephew jailed for double murder] BBC News, 2008-02-08. Retrieved on 2008-09-19.]

700 Year Market Charter Anniversary in 2008

Uttoxeter celebrates its 700 year anniversary of the awarding of a Market Charter (1308) in 2008 which underpins the market provision on Saturdays and Wednesdays in particular and other festival markets. The 1308 charter followed a more general Royal Charter granted to the towns' burgesses in 1252. Copies of the charters can be seen in the Town Hall's Alan Dean Suite. The originals reside at the National Archives in Kew and the Deferrers Museum in Leicester.

It is hoped an appropriate celebration will mark the event.


The main employers in Uttoxeter are JCB, makers of construction, agricultural machinery and heavy products, at three sites in the local area, and Fox's Biscuits' (previously Elkes' and Adams). Elkes were the creators of the famous Malted milk (biscuit). Also nearby is the Alton Towers Theme Park and Resort, and the Peak District national park.

Agriculture is still a big part of the local economy. The town is set in rich dairy farming country, and previously housed a large dairy and was historically a major trader in butter and cheese. Currently the local dairy is at Fole, 5 miles to the north of the town.

Another major attraction of Uttoxeter is the racecourse, which is home to the Midlands Grand National.


*Locals often refer to the town as Utcheter - Ut-chee-tah - which probably closely resembles the original pronuciation of the Anglo Saxon name - "Wotocheshede". Young locals colloquially refer to it as Utah, sometimes spelled Uttah.
*Uttoxeter residents are known as Uxonians.
*One of the local papers, the Uttoxeter Advertiser, is referred to as the Stunner.


Uttoxeter is on the main A50 and has a mainline railway station, Uttoxeter railway station which was opened by the North Staffordshire Railway on October 1, 1881, however, there were earlier stations opened by the North Staffordshire Railway, with full information to be found at Uttoxeter railway station. The bus stop next to the station runs an hourly service to Cheadle, Hanley and Alton Towers (32A).

Buses to Stafford run every 2 hours; buses to Burton upon Trent run every hour. The 32A operated by First PMT (Potteries) runs every two hours departing from Hanley and arriving at Uttoxeter, there is a revised time table in the summer where frequency of this service is extended to every hour.

At one time it was also the terminus of a branch of the Caldon Canal (aka the Uttoxeter Canal), although most signs of this, apart from an area of Uttoxeter called "The Wharf", have now disappeared - largely because much of the bed of the canal was used in the 19th century as the route of the North Staffordshire Railway main line from Uttoxeter to Macclesfield (which has now also disappeared). In the last few years the old corset factory, which was originally the canal warehouse and The Limes public house which was originally the canal manager’s house have been demolished to make way for new housing.


Uttoxeter has a three-tier schooling system that consists of several First Schools, three Middle Schools (Oldfields Hall Middle School, Windsor Park Middle School and Ryecroft Middle School, Rocester) and a High School. The High School, Thomas Alleyne's, has over 1,200 pupils, an astroturf football pitch, swimming pool, gymnasium and several grass football pitches. Thomas Alleyne's is the only High School in Staffordshire that offers an accelerated mathematics course, RAF fast track scheme and a farm. The school also includes a Sixth Form Centre, and is one of three schools founded by the 16th century priest Thomas Alleyne.

Prior to this educational structure, the town had a selective secondary and Grammar School system which consisted of Oldfields Boys School, Oldfields Girls School and Alleyne's Grammar.


Uttoxeter Civic Society

Uttoxeter Civic Society was re-established in 2004 to act as a civic watch dog and to protect and promote the history and heritage of Uttoxeter. The Civic Society's range of activities can be found on their [http://uttoxetercivicsociety.googlepages.com website] .

The Flourish Festival

The 2007 Flourish Festival was a huge success, bringing local, national and international talents to Uttoxeter. The voluntary group held over 30 different events from the 16th to 23 June attracting over 1,600 visitors.Visual Arts & Film, Drama, Dance, Music and Food based activities were run throughout the week celebrating the arts in Uttoxeter.

The 2008 festival is scheduled to take place from Friday 20th to Saturday 28 June and plans currently include a music weekend, visual art galleries and taster sessions, amateur dramatic performances and a film festival celebrating Uttoxeter's heritage.

More information is available on their [http://www.flourishfestival.co.uk website] , including pictures and videos from 2007 and 2006.

The Uttoxeter Lions

Each year, The Uttoxeter Lions run a successful Bonfire and Fireworks Night in November and an annual Christmas fair and market called the Christmas Cracker in the town centre every December. The 2006 Cracker Night took place on Thursday 14 December.

Uttoxeter Lions also hold a book sale on the first Saturday of each month at the St John's Ambulance Brigade Hall on Carter Street, 10.00 am - 2.00 pm, admission free.

The Uttoxeter Farmers Market

Since 28 June 2007, Uttoxeter's new Market Place has been home to a new Farmer's Market, ran by the local NFU. The market is held on the last Saturday of every month and is becoming larger and larger each time. The market is a huge benefit to the town and was spurred on by the successes of the previous two food festivals held during Flourish Festival week.


Uttoxeter Rugby Union Football Club

Uttoxeter Rugby Club was formed in 1982 when JCB Rugby club began to play its games at Oldfields sport and social club in Uttoxeter establishing the first Rugby side in the town traditionally associated with football. In those days there was no league structure in place nationally so Uttoxeter played "friendly" fixture and developed great rivalries with other local sides including Cannock and [http://www.rugeleyrugby.com/ Rugeley] to name two which have endured over the last 20 years.

TV & Media

Television Appearances

Uttoxeter also obtained minor fame as the setting of a recurring comedy sketch by comedians Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in their BBC television series "A Bit of Fry and Laurie". In the sketch, two obnoxious business entrepreneurs develop grand plans for a popular sports centre. There is indeed a sports centre in Uttoxeter, although it is not run by comedians and the sketch derives its humour from the fact that Uttoxeter is in fact a very quiet and sedate town. The name can also be said with mild humorous effect.

The town also featured in Country File, as a 'mystery town'. The towns' cattle market featured in the programme, ironically it was the last cattle market ever in the town centre site in 2005. Local people participated in the programme from the local Uttoxeter Advertiser and Uttoxeter Racecourse staff.

Oldfields Hall Middle School was featured in the film A Room for Romeo Brass, written and directed by Shane Meadows and Paul Fraser, two Uxonians who have risen to fame.

The town also featured in a critically praised short story entitled The Long, Long Road to Uttoxeter by journalist and TV presenter Rod Liddle in his book "Too Beautiful for You".

Top Gear presenter and journalist Jeremy Clarkson has previously written that his favourite car journey of all time was in an Aston Martin from Newcastle upon Tyne to Uttoxeter Race Course. He also said in the Sunday Times that the countryside around Uttoxeter was as pretty as any in Cornwall.

Utoxeter Racecourse has been used on several occasions as the racecourse visited by residents of the popular soap Coronation Street.

Places of Interest

*St. Mary's Catholic Church in Balance Street which was Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin's first church design.
*St. Mary's Church
*The Uttoxeter Heritage Centre is open to all on Carter Street. Free Entry.
*The Market Place contains the town's "War Memorial", "Millennium Monument" and the "Dr. Johnson Memorial".
*Uttoxeter Racecourse is one of Uttoxeter's most famous landmarks and is a short walk from the town centre.
*Uttoxeter Golf Course is a short walk from the main town.
*Bramshall Road Park is the town's recreational ground and offers tennis courts, skate ramps, a basketball court, a football pitch, a bowling green and two children's play areas, as well as floral arrangements and plenty of grass!
*The Quaker Meeting House on Carter Street.
*The Wednesday and Saturday Markets are held weekly in the town's Market Place.
*The Spook Market is run every Friday in the town's newly refurbished Market Place.
*The Alton Towers Resort is around convert|10|mi|km|0 from Uttoxeter.
*The Peak District National Park is a short drive from the town.


Town Centre Improvements

Uttoxeter has recently gone through an exciting development scheme, with the Market Place, High Street and Carter Street under gone a complete transformation. The work was carried out by Staffordshire County Council and the main elements are now complete. One part of the High Street is still awaiting completion, due to the Cattle Market's development. The project is a £1.5million initiative of the successful [http://www.uttoxeterplus.org.uk UttoxeterPlus] programme.

Dovefields Retail Park

Dovefields Retail Park was first created in 1998 with the opening of a Tesco supermarket on the edge of the town. There is still a lot of controversy regarding the store and its objectives to extend to around convert|50000|sqft|m2|-3|abbr=on has now been accepted by planning and is now nearing completion. The new extension should be complete in October. Tesco Uttoxeter is a very successful store; due to its location to the town centre it sent a shockwave of shop closures throughout the late '90s and early '00s.

This included the closure of a Somerfield supermarket at Trinity Square. Part of Somerfield's rationale to close the store was the fact its sister company (at the time), Kwik Save, had a store in The Maltings. This was extensively refurbished as a Kwik Save Concept Store in 2005, and re-branded in early 2006 to the Somerfield fascia. In May 2007 however this store is changing owner to the Co-op.

The retail park was further expanded in 2002 with the creation of seven large retail outlets, which feature Focus, Argos, Brantano, Pets at Home and Carpet Right.

In 2005, work commenced on the new entertainment development situated between Focus and Tesco. The development was officially opened in September 2006 with an opening party and laser show. This complex has been built by M.J. Barrett Developments and is home to a bowling alley, a 3-screen cinema, a children's crèche and a fitness centre (opening autumn 2007). These facilities are a welcome addition to the town's infrastructure and were used for the Flourish Fesitval's film event.

Recently, a branch of Frankie and Benny's has opened on the corner to the entrance of Tesco, and a KFC outlet is currently under construction.

The Cattle Market Development 'Carters' Square'

The old Cattle Market, which closed in November 2005, is currently being demolished to make-way for a retail and housing development, consisting of convert|20000|sqft|m2|-2|abbr=on of retail space. The land was bought from Bagshaws by the Town Council, and sold onto Taylor Woodrow for around £3million.

The start date had been set at "November 2005", though due to public pressure to include more car parking and the Town and Borough Councils not being satisfied with the finalised designs, this has now been put back to later in 2006.

The project should be complete in 2009 and will feature retail space, housing and 200 extra car parking spaces.

The new Cattle Market is soon to be built by M.J. Barrett on the outskirts of the town.

Uttoxeter Town Hall

The existing Town Hall is currently going under evaluation for re-use. The 'White Elephant', as it has been termed, is not producing enough cash to keep it afloat. Therefore the council has chosen to invite two developers to draw-up some ideas for its redevelopment. Taylor Woodrow is one of the candidates, which is also currently working on the Cattle Market Development (see above).

Both themes include Cafe/Restaurants, with some space for community facilities. There has been some objection to the plans from members of the public. For now the Town Council is still deciding on what is best for the town.

The Flourish Festival proved however in 2007 that the Town Hall can be used for exciting activities to the benefit of the town and brought back a feeling of community cohesion and culture to the town.

The Town Council in August 2007 released a new scheme called 'Option Two'. This involves the Council keeping charge of the Town Hall and developing it themselves. The main changes to the existing building are:
*The creation of a new floor in the Main Hall. The ground floor will be leased to a retail company, while the newly created first floor will be for community use. Due to the building being Grade II listed, the existing balcony has to be kept in the design, and therefore raised towards the ceiling.
*The use of the cellar. Plans are being made to create a youth facility within the cellar of the building, which previously housed the town police station and mortuary, and which currently houses the old toilets (which used to be accessible from the front of the building) and the town's Christmas decorations.
*The blocking up of several walls to create separate areas, including to the left of the Foyer to create a separate office space, accessible from outside the Town Hall's main entrance.

Negative parts of the plan, raised by some members of the public include:
*The sale of the rear land.
*Not enough space designated for arts use.
*The Council's keenness to continue with weddings which stops community use if one is taking place.

Architects have now become involved and the plans should now start to develop further. The land to the rear has now been sold for a small amount to Taylor Wimpey reducing any chances of the building enlarging in the future.

The JCB Site

JCB submitted plans in August 2007 to change the use of its factory to domestic housing (around 250 houses), parkland, offices, retail unit (a supermarket) and a petrol station. The company plans to spend £40 million on moving their Heavy Products facility in the Town Centre to a plot of land on the A50 near to the World Parts Centre.

Criticisms have been made regarding the proximity of the proposed retail unit and petrol station to current housing. Questions have also been raised regarding the need of another supermarket for the town and what affects this would have on the Town Centre.

Overall the scheme seems to be beneficial, however there will be greater demand for some of the town's already over-stretched facilities.




* Around Uttoxeter, Roy Lewis, Tempus Publishing, April 30, 1999, ISBN 0752415131

External links

* [http://www.uttoxeter.com Uttoxeter Community Web Site]
* [http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk Staffordshire County Council]
* [http://www.altontowers.com Alton Towers]
* [http://www.eaststaffsbc.gov.uk East Staffordshire Borough Council]
* [http://www.flourishfestival.co.uk Flourish Festival]
* [http://www.heartofenglandway.org Heart of England Way Association]
* [http://www.jcb.com JCB]
* [http://www.tahs450.org.uk Thomas Alleyne's High School]
* [http://www.uttoxeter.biz Uttoxeter.biz, Local Community Website]
* [http://www.cinebowl.org Uttoxeter Cinebowl]
* [http://www.uttoxetercivicsociety.org Uttoxeter Civic Society Web Page and Blog]
* [http://www.uttoxeterlions.co.uk Uttoxeter Lions]
* [http://www.uttoxeter-racecourse.co.uk Uttoxeter Racecourse]
* [http://www.uttoxeterrotary.org.uk Uttoxeter Rotary Club]
* [http://www.uttoxeterrugby.co.uk Uttoxeter Rugby Union Football Club]
* [http://www.uttoxetermind.co.uk Uttoxeter Mind]

ee also

*Dovegate Prison
*Uttoxeter Racecourse
*Uttoxeter railway station

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