St Mary's Church
Uttoxeter shown within Staffordshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||West Midlands|
Uttoxeter (i// yew-TOKS-i-tər or sometimes locally uh-CHET-ər ) is a market town and civil parish in Staffordshire, in the West Midlands region of England. The population of the town is increasing. At the 1991 census the population was given as 10,329, with a 16.4% increase by the 2001 census when the population was 12,023. It is likely that this figure will increase further, as the population of East Staffordshire as a whole is predicted to increase by some 11% between 2008 and 2028.
- 1 History
- 2 Economy
- 3 Location grid
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Transport and infrastructure
- 6 Places of interest
- 7 Culture
- 8 Religion
- 9 Education
- 10 Sport
- 11 Notable people
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
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 homestead on the heath". Some historians point to pre-Roman settlement here and Bronze Age axes have been discovered in the town (now in display in the Potteries Museum in Stoke-on-Trent). 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 AD, and recently discovered fort at Stramshall, though little collaborating archaeology has been found.
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, the Quaker writer of the poem "The Spider and the Fly", lived in 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 (now defunct).
Bunting’s brewery occupied a large area of the centre of the town since the Victorian era. It stopped producing beer in the 1930s after being bought by Bass Brewery of Burton upon 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.
In 1945, Joseph Cyril Bamford founded J C Bamford Excavators Limited in Uttoxeter, now known as JCB. The firm, based in the nearby village of Rocester, is the world's third-largest construction equipment manufacturer. The firm's first vehicle was a tipping trailer made from war-surplus materials, which J. C. Bamford built in a rented lock-up garage in Uttoxeter. 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.
Uttoxeter celebrated 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 town's burgesses in 1252. The originals reside at the National Archives in Kew and the Deferrers Museum in Leicester.
One of the main employers in Uttoxeter is the global construction, demolition and agricultural equipment company JCB. The firm is headquartered in Rocester, with another factory just outside Uttoxeter and one in Cheadle. Fox's Biscuits (previously Elkes and Adams) has a factory in Uttoxeter. Elkes were the creators of the famous malted milk biscuit.
The town's proximity to the Alton Towers Theme Park and Resort and the Peak District National Park means tourism is an important part of the local economy. Uttoxeter Racecourse, home to the Midlands Grand National, also brings a lot of visitors to the town, as do the town centre's shops and markets.
Agriculture is still important to the local economy. The town is set in rich dairy farming country. Uttoxeter previously housed a large dairy and was historically a major trader in butter and cheese. The farming cooperative Dairy Farmers of Britain had a large dairy in the nearby village of Fole, but this closed in 2008. The next year the firm went into administration. A new cattle market is due to be built in the town, after the old one was demolished in 2004.
Uttoxeter town centre went through a development scheme in 2006-7, with the Market Place, Market Street, Queens Street, Carter Street, and High Street having undergone a major transformation.
Dovefields Retail Park was first created in 1998 with the opening of a Tesco supermarket on the edge of the town. The retail park was further expanded in 2002 with the creation of seven large retail outlets. In 2005, work commenced on a new entertainment development. It is home to a bowling alley, a cinema, a children's crèche and a fitness centre as well as business units.
The old Cattle Market, which closed in November 2005, was demolished to make way for a retail and housing development. There have been significant delays to the scheme, and public consultations and planning applications were still being carried out in 2012. A replacement cattle market has been granted planning permission elsewhere in the town, but after several years no development has taken place.
The existing town hall is currently under evaluation to ascertain if it can fulfil a wider range of functions. A building inspection has reported some serious structural problems with the current state of the building.
The old JCB site in the centre of Uttoxeter is currently lying vacant and is awaiting redevelopment, after the firm moved operations to one of its sites on the edge of town. It has lodged plans to build hundreds of homes, a park, a retail development, health complex and petrol station on the old Pinfold Street site.
According to the 2001 census the population for Uttoxeter Civil Parish was 12,023. White British makes up by far the largest ethnicity at 98% of the population with just 278 people from an ethnic minority.
Transport and infrastructure
Uttoxeter is on the main A50 trunk road. The town also has a railway station, Uttoxeter railway station, which was opened by the North Staffordshire Railway on 2 October 1881, but there were earlier stations opened by the North Staffordshire Railway.
At one time it was also the terminus of a branch of the Caldon Canal (aka the Uttoxeter Canal), but 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).
The nearest airport from the town is East Midlands, which is around 29 miles away.
Policing in Uttoxeter is provided by Staffordshire Police, from the police station on Balance Street. HM Prison Dovegate, in the nearby village of Marchington, is a Category B men's private prison operated by the Serco Group. HM Prison Sudbury is located just over 6 miles away and over the Derbyshire boundary, and is operated by HM Prison Service. It is a Category D men's open prison.
There is no hospital in Uttoxeter, but the surrounding Queen's Hospital in Burton, Stafford Hospital, the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke-on-Trent and Royal Derby Hospital all serve the town. There is no ambulance station but a team of Rapid Response Paramedics are based in the town and supported by volunteer Community first responders.
Places of interest
St. Mary's Catholic Church in Balance Street was Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin's first church design. He later worked on Alton Towers and the Houses of Parliament. Three miles north west of Uttoxeter are the remains of Croxden Abbey, founded in 1176 by Bertram de Verdun for monks of the Cistercian Order. Redfern's Cottage:Museum of Uttoxeter Life is on Carter Street and is run by a group of volunteers. The restored timber-framed building houses local history displays.
The town's refurbished Market Place contains the town's main war memorial, as well as the Millennium Monument and the Dr. Johnson Memorial. The Wednesday and Saturday Markets are held weekly in the Market Place. The Spook Market is run every Friday. There's also a monthly Farmers' Market.
Smallwood Manor, just over a mile outside the town and built in 1886, was formerly a country house and is now home to Smallwood Manor Preparatory School. The National Trust's Museum of Childhood is located at nearby Sudbury Hall.
Uttoxeter Racecourse is one of Uttoxeter's most famous landmarks and is a short walk from the town centre. 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 the small Picknall Brook nature reserve.
The Alton Towers Resort is around 10 miles (16 km) from Uttoxeter. The Peak District National Park is about 20 miles away.
The Wednesday and Saturday Markets are held weekly in the town's refurbished Market Place. The Spook Market is run every Friday in the Market Place. Since 2007, Uttoxeter's new Market Place has been home to a new Farmers' Market, run by the local branch of the National Farmers Union.
Uttoxeter Civic Society was re-established in 2004 to act as a civic watchdog and to protect and promote the history and heritage of Uttoxeter.
Each year, Uttoxeter Lions run a beer festival in June, 'Lark in the Park' at Bramshall Road Park on August bank holiday, Bonfire and Fireworks Night in November and an annual Christmas fair and market known as 'Cracker Night'.
Uttoxeter Choral Society  was founded in 1881 and is one of the oldest choral societies in the United Kingdom. They have a continuous record of making music which is matched by very few other societies.
The Uttoxeter May Festival, a traditional folk music and dance event, takes place in early May every year.
Uttoxeter is also the home of the Acoustic Festival of Britain 
Uttoxeter's newspapers are the Uttoxeter Advertiser and the Uttoxeter Post & Times. The town receives both BBC West Midlands and BBC East Midlands and is in the ITV Central television regions. The local BBC radio stations are BBC Radio Stoke and BBC Radio Derby; Independent Local Radio includes Touch, Signal 1 and Capital East Midlands.
Uttoxeter 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 one episode of the sketch, two obnoxious business entrepreneurs (who run various companies in Uttoxeter throughout the series) develop grand plans for a popular sports centre. 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 Countryfile, as a 'mystery town'. The town's cattle market featured in the programme; 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.
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.
Utoxeter Racecourse has been used on several occasions as the racecourse visited by residents of the popular soap Coronation Street
Uttoxeter is the home of Rockin' Johnny Austin MBE, recognised for his charity work and for rock and roll songs such as Rockabilly Stroll which was a minor hit in the 1980s. John also produced a World Cup Single, Victory Day, in 2010 which was filmed on location in Uttoxeter Market Place.
St. Mary the Virgin Church
The main religious building in Uttoxeter is the Church of England church St. Mary the Virgin Church on Church Street in the town. The present structure dates from 1877 but parts of the building date from the 15th century. There is also another Church of England church in The Heath area of the town which is known locally as The Heath Church. Both churches lie in the parish of Uttoxeter and the Diocese of Lichfield.
St. Mary's Catholic Church
Other Christian Churches
Uttoxeter also has a Methodist church which dates from 1812, a United Reformed church on Carter Street, a Pentecostal Church, a Free Church, and a Kingdom Hall for Jehovah's Witnesses.
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 1,400 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 Windsor Park Boys' School, Oldfields Girls' School and Alleyne's Grammar School.
Uttoxeter Racecourse, which is home to the Midlands Grand National, is one of Uttoxeter's most famous landmarks and is a short walk from the town centre.
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" fixtures and developed great rivalries with other local sides including Cannock and Rugeley which have endured over the last 30 years.
Uttoxeter has a football club called Uttoxeter Town FC, also based at the aforementioned Oldfields sports and social club which for many years has been successful in the Burton and District Sunday Football League. From 2012, Uttoxeter Town FC entered the Staffordshire County Senior League, Division 1. There is also Rocester F.C. in the nearby village of Rocester.
Uttoxeter Golf Course is a short walk from the main town. The Manor golf course is 3 miles out of the centre.
Uttoxeter Leisure Centre in Oldfields Road has a swimming pool, gym and sports hall.
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 Twenty Four Seven, Once Upon a Time in the Midlands and This Is England. His mother was the lollipop lady at the High School, Thomas Alleyne's.
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.
- Bartley Gorman bare knuckle boxer, lived for many years in the town.
- Jen "Feisty" Robinson - Retired dancer, famous for dancing with Hot Gossip, and Legs & Co.
- Henry Yevele - Medieval architect.
- Jack Holland, writer and co-founder of the Rough Guides travel series, attended Alleyne's Grammar School.
- Nathan 'Tevez' Whitaker Local legend
- Paul Fraser, script writer behind films including A Room for Romeo Brass and director of My Brothers.
- Peter Vaughan - actor who lived in the town for part of his young life.
- Robert Bakewell - Artist and Metal worker.
- Sir Simon Degge, an antiquary, well known for his manuscript notes on Plot's Natural History of Staffordshire.
Thomas Fradgley was Uttoxeter's own architect. He designed the Town Hall (1854); the Johnson Memorial (1854); St. Michael's Church, Stramshall; St.Lawrence Church, Bramshall (1835), St. Mary's Church, Uttoxeter; Marchington Church. He was involved with Pugin and other architects in designs for the 16th Earl of Shrewsbury at Alton Towers including the figures of the Talbot Hounds at the entrance tower, 1830; the Angel Corbels in the Lady chapel, 1833; Alton Towers Chapel with Joseph Potter and completed in 1833; Swiss Cottage or Harper's Cottage, Farley. He was the architect in the improvement of several local schools, including Uttoxeter National School, Hanbury Free School, enlarged in 1848; Oakamoor N.S., Cauldon Low N.S., Alton N.S., and Draycott in Hanbury School. It is believed he designed Moorlands, Byrds Lane, Uttoxeter for one of the Bamfords. He married Clara Warner from Bramshall. Their only child Thomas died aged 6. Thomas Fradgley died in 1883 aged 83.
Alfred McCann (1865–1953) was Uttoxeter's most famous photographer with a shop at 25&27 High Street. He photographed hundreds of local scenes which were sold as postcards and sent all over the world. McCann postcards today sell for a lot more than their original value. Staffordshire County Museum at Shugborough has a large collection of McCann postcards. The following excerpt from Staffordshire Past-Track gives a brief synopsis of the McCann family and some McCann photos can be seen on the site. Edward McCann was born in Hereford in the 1820s and his family originally came from Ireland. He served in the Army and on his return to England settled in Uttoxeter in about 1860. He was a Sergeant Major in the local Yeomanry Cavalry and became Assistant Overseer, responsible for collecting poor rates in the town. In 1870 he began taking photographic portraits and by 1880 had opened a tobacconists shop. The photography business was taken over by his son, Alfred in 1884, who in turn was succeeded in 1943 by his son Gerald (1897–1970). The business finally closed in 1966.
- "East Staffordshire Local Plan Review 2001". Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- "Parish Headcounts: East Staffordshire". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
- "Profiling Staffordshire: East Staffordshire District". Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- "JCB reaps reward for 'tough action' as profits show a rise". Yorkshire Post. 15 July 2010. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
- "Crisis Deepens for Dairy Farmers". BBC News (BBC). 16 June 2009. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- "Cattle Market a 'White Elephant'". Uttoxeter Advertiser (Staffordshire Newspapers Ltd.). 5 February 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- "'Thank You All for Your Patience'". Uttoxeter Advertiser (Staffordshire Newspapers Ltd.). 22 February 2009. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- "Cinema Project Takes Shape". Uttoxeter Advertiser (Staffordshire Newspapers Ltd.). 21 February 2009. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- "Asda To Open In The Town Centre". Uttoxeter Advertiser (Staffordshire Newspapers Ltd.). 26 January 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- "Plan for Town Hall to be the Community Hub". Uttoxeter Advertiser (Staffordshire Newspapers Ltd.). 20 April 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- "Town Hall is a Danger". Uttoxeter Advertiser (Staffordshire Newspapers Ltd.). 23 March 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- "JCB Plan Under Fire by Residents". Uttoxeter Advertiser (Staffordshire Newspapers Ltd.). 5 February 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- "Area: Uttoxeter CP (Parish) population". ONS. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- "Ethnicity (Heath)". ONS. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- "Ethnicity (Town)". ONS. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- Uttoxeter Farmers Market website. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- Uttoxeter Choral Society website. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
- Uttoxeter May Festival website. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Uttoxeter.|
- Uttoxeter Choral Society
- Uttoxeter Community Web Site
- Staffordshire County Council
- Alton Towers
- Theatre Cats Stage School
- East Staffordshire Borough Council
- Flourish Festival
- Heart of England Way Association
- Thomas Alleyne's High School
- Uttoxeter.biz, Local Community Website
- Uttoxeter Cinebowl
- Uttoxeter Civic Society Web Page and Blog
- Uttoxeter Lions
- Uttoxeter Racecourse
- Uttoxeter Rotary Club
- Uttoxeter Rugby Union Football Club
- Uttoxeter Mind
- Uttoxeter Town Brass Band
- Uttoxeter Annual May Festival
- St Mary's Church, Uttoxeter