Advertisements and notices in newspapers can help to put flesh on the bones of vouchers submitted to Uttoxeter’s overseers by providing additional information on people, their businesses, their networks, and their wider interests and concerns. Some names are already familiar; others have not yet appeared in the vouchers (and may never do).
In June 1831 Dr Herbert Taylor, glazier John Dumolo, William Lowndes, John Minors, H. Smith and Francis Cox all declared themselves supporters of the parliamentary reform bill. Alongside others, in July Clement Broughton, vicar of Uttoxeter, was calling for meeting of clergy to petition against the Beer Act.
In a highly unusual move, in January 1831 churchwardens Michael Clewley (see separate entry) and Mr Bladon wanted to borrow money in any amounts but not exceeding £1,000 for which annuities of any age would be granted and secured upon Uttoxeter’s church rates. Clewley cropped up again later in the year. In August he was offering houses to let in the Market Place, late in the occupation of Mrs E. Clewley deceased. With ‘sufficient buildings behind’, these were well adapted for a retailer, a leather cutter, or currier. An adjoining shop in the occupation of George Burton, clock and watchmaker was also being offered to let.
Land and property lettings and sales featured prominently in the paper. John French (son-in-law of William Summerland, see separate entry) was offering for sale the 14-acre Town Meadow, property of late Mr Botham, but now in the possession of French, the tenant. Further particulars could be had from solicitor Francis Blagg. In May 1831 enquiries regarding a shop measuring 20 x 15 feet in the Market Place with a cellar adapted for a ‘show shop in the upholstery line or as a market shop for any respectable trade’, for a rent moderate, could be made to ironmongers and grocers Porter and Keates. It is likely that these premises were those of the late John Jessop, cabinet maker and upholsterer of the Market Place. An auction of his modern household furniture, china, glass, and a well-built covered gig was conducted upon the premises by a Mr Brown in April. Perhaps of significant interest to the workhouse (which manufactured bricks) was that in March 1831 just over five acres of grassland ‘under great part whereof is brick clay, near the Heath, in occupation of James Walker, was being offered for sale; particulars from Mr Higgott, solicitor.
As was common for the time, a number of enterprising individuals had multiple income streams, often acting as agents for other businesses or suppliers. Chemist Thomas Woolrich was the agent for Heeley and Sons pens and for Sun Life insurance; William Smith for Phoenix insurance; Thomas Cross for Guardian Fire and Life Assurance; linen and woollen draper Joseph Norris for the Protector Fire Insurance Company; and Mr E. Hand for Atlas Insurance. Thomas Woolrich, draper; Samuel Garle (see separate entries); and bookseller, stationer, and printer Mr R. C. Tomkinson, were all stockists of Hayman’s original Maredant’s antiscorbutic drops and Blaine’s celebrated powder for distemper in dogs. Tomkinson also stocked Dr Wright’s Pearl Ointment, and Dr Boerhaave’s red pill no. 2 ‘famous for the cure of every stage and symptom of a certain complaint’, the cause of foul ulcerations and blotches which if led untreated would lead to a melancholy death. Aside from being a chemist Tomkinson appears to have operated an informal servants’ registry. On three occasions, in April, June and September 1831, adverts for servants wanted informed prospective employees to refer to Mr Tomkinson. In the first advertisement a good plain cook was required. In the second two cooks and other domestic servants were wanted in a respectable household near Uttoxeter; a good plain cook of middle aged was preferred. Housemaids and nursery maids seeking positions should enquire of Mr Woolrich, Uttoxeter or Mrs Horn and son, Cheadle. In the third notice a clergyman’s family in a country village wanted a plain cook with a good character reference from her last place. Further particulars could be had from Messrs Mort at the Advertiser Office, Stafford, or from Mr Woolrich.
Milliner and dressmaker Mrs Whittaker was the only trader in this survey of the Staffordshire Advertiser who specifically promoted the metropolitan nature of her goods. In May she announced her return from London with her selections including a fashionable assortment of stays (corsets). She also required two live-in apprentices.
A group of people whose names have not appeared in the poor law vouchers (and unless circumstances changed radically for them are unlikely to do so) were the proprietors of schools and academies. Popular times for these owners to advertise were just prior to the start of new terms. From their adverts it is clear that they were aiming at a middle-class market. Mr Doyle’s classical and commercial academy for gentlemen, for example, cost £25 per year for board, education and washing for those under 12, and £28 per year for those above. Doyle offered reading, elocution, arithmetic, bookkeeping, English grammar, geography, Latin, Greek, French, and Spanish. Day pupils were charged 2 guineas per quarter for the languages, and one guinea for the ‘minor branches of education’. Each gentleman boarder was to bring two pairs of sheets, six towels, a knife, fork and silver spoon. Girls had a range of educational establishments from which they could choose: the Misses Howes at Bank House; the Misses Sutton in Carter Street; and the Misses Godwin.
Some events were destined to bring trade to a halt. On 8 September 1831 Uttoxeter’s shops and businesses were closed for the coronation of William IV and queen Adelaide (see entry ‘Coronation Celebrations 1831). After William’s death Adelaide leased Sudbury Hall for three years between 1840 and 1843.
Staffordshire Advertiser, 1831