Mr Blurton’s Swing Frame for Cheese: Winner of the Society of Arts Silver Medal for Invention

Extract from The Mechanics’ Magazine, Museum Register, Journal and Gazette, vol. 18, 6 October 1832–31 March 1833 (London: M. Salmon, 1833), pp. 370, 372

New cheese requires to be hardened considerably by gradually drying before it become fit for market. For this purpose the cheeses are spread in a single layer on the floor of the cheese room, and are turned by hand every day, in order to expose each surface alternately to the air. This, on a large dairy farm, is a slow and laborious operation, which, as it devolves on the female servants, sometimes prevents them, in the hurry of business, from paying proper attention to keeping every implement used in the dairy in that degree of order and absolute cleanliness so essential to the good quality of the produce. Another objection to the common method is, that the floor on which the new cheeses are laid soon becomes penetrated with moisture, so that the benefit that each surface of a cheese in succession gains by exposure to air, is in part lost by being placed the next day in contact with the damp floor.

A machine, of very simple construction, has been recently contrived by Mr Blurton, of Field Hall, near Uttoxeter, by which these objections are not only completely removed, but the process of drying amazingly accelerated. We extract our present account of it from the last part of the Transactions of the Society of Arts, who have conferred their large silver medal on Mr Blurton for the invention.

The machine consists of a dozen strong shelves framed together, and having bars nailed from top to bottom of one side, in order to prevent the cheeses from falling out while in the act of turning. The frame is suspended on two strong pivots, one of which is let into the wall of the room, and the other is supported by a strong post …By first filling the shelf immediately below the axis of the frame, and then placing the cheeses alternately on the two shelves above and below that which has already been filled, the preponderance of one side over the other can never be more than the weight of one cheese … The cheeses, in the act of turning, drop onto those shelves which, in the former position of the frame, were above them, and, having been exposed to a current of air for twenty-four hours previous have become perfectly dry.

Mr Blurton has had the machine in use for five or six years, and finds by the means of it, fifty-five cheeses are turned in the same time which is required for turning two  by hand.


Coronation Celebrations 1831

On 8 September Uttoxeter celebrated the coronation of William IV and queen Adelaide. The events were reported in the Staffordshire Advertiser on 17 September.  A bullock and a sheep were roasted over bonfires, with very Dickensian-sounding ‘liberal portions’ being distributed to the poor alongside an ‘abundant supply of ale’. The Blithfield and Uttoxeter Troop Yeomanry assembled and dined at Thomas Taylor’s Black Swan, Sheep Market. The gentlemen of the town dined at Mr Wilkinson’s White Hart Hotel, Carter Street. No mention is made of how the women of Uttoxeter celebrated the event. The Most Noble Lodge of Oddfellows and all of the town’s clubs (none are named other than the Oddfellows, and White’s 1834 directory notes only the existence of a Book Society) dined at their respective inns, and paraded through the town with colours flying. Bands of musicians augmented the ‘hilarity of the day’. The paper reported that in the evening ‘Illumination was partial owing to the shortness of the notice’ given for the coronation. Illuminations in this sense refer to cut-outs and silhouettes placed in the windows of private houses and lit from behind by candles or oil lamps. A memorable firework display, the like of which had not been seen for some time, rounded off events.


Staffordshire Advertiser, 17 September 1831

Uttoxeter Businesses and the Staffordshire Advertiser 1831

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


Uttoxeter Businesses and the Derby Mercury

The details of details of goods, services, and prices contained in vouchers submitted to Uttoxeter’s overseers of the poor are shedding light on the daily workings of the Old Poor Law, but to what extent did these suppliers advertise in local or regional newspapers?

Between January 1831 and July 1832 a survey of the Derby Mercury reveals relatively few Uttoxeter business owners placing notices or adverts specifically to promote their enterprises. Even fewer of them can be linked directly to the poor law vouchers. Initially, this may seem surprising, but is readily explainable. The Derby Mercury was just one of a number of regional papers and perhaps it would be more likely that Uttoxeter’s traders would place notices in the Staffordshire Advertiser. A survey of the Advertiser, however, is revealing a similarly limited pattern of engagement. How can this be explained? In part it was due to the high cost of adverts charged by newspaper proprietors. In 1800 the Derby Mercury charged 3s 6d per advert on top of which duty of 1s 6d was also chargeable. It may also have been the result of local traders supplying very local markets, where the need to advertise beyond the immediate vicinity was considered unnecessary. This was particularly so if the goods were perishable such as meat, fruit and vegetables. There are other things to consider, however. Where the variety (as opposed to the quantity or quality) of stock changed little business owners may have seen little point in advertising the same things week in week out. Instead, they may have preferred to save their adverts for more important events such as changes in personnel, especially the appointment of new staff or business partners, or changes in business ownership or location. The only real exceptions to these were announcements of the arrival of new or fashionable stock, especially if they came from London.

Which of Uttoxeter’s business owners did place notices in the Derby Mercury, and what was it they were announcing?

Grocer William Lovatt’s marriage to Miss Elizabeth Bakewell of Marston Montgomery was announced in October 1831. On 6 April 1831 tobacconist Jane Smith, with shops in both Uttoxeter and Ashbourne, declared that she was continuing the business of her late husband James for the benefit of herself and her large family. When in February the White Lion, Bradley Street, with stabling for 20 horses, and ‘calculated for a common brewery’, was offered to let particulars could be had from Abel Ault, or John Ault, timber merchant, Derby.

Some Uttoxeter businesses, including those of Samuel Garle (see separate entry), Thomas Woolrich, and Tompkinson and Co., were acting as agents for patent products including Heeley’s rhadiographic pens, Perryian pens, John Leeming’s genuine horse medicines, Barclay’s asthmatic candy, and Dr Sibly’s Reanimating Solar Tincture for debility, consumption, nervous complaints, rheumatism, spasms, indigestion, and lowness of spirits. Chemist Thomas Woolrich (who so far has not turned up in the overseers’ vouchers) had a national business network. His claim to fame was ‘Woolrich’s improved diuretic horse balls’ available from ‘all respectable medicine vendors in most market towns in the kingdom’. In addition to Uttoxeter, they were also sold wholesale by London agents such as Messrs Barclay & Sons, 95 Fleet Market; Mr Edwards, 66 St Paul’s Church Yard; Sutton & Co., Bow Church Yard; and Butlers’, Cheapside. They could be bought at 73 Princess Street, Edinburgh, and at 54 Sackville Street, Dublin. Closer to home they were sold retail by Drewry & Son, Derby; Whitham,  Ashbourne; and Claughton, Chesterfield.

Some people probably wished that notices regarding their businesses had not appeared. The bankruptcy of surgeon George Alsop (see separate entry) was announced in November 1831, but at least it provided work for Uttoxeter solicitors Bedson and Rushton who notified debtors and creditors of meetings about Alsop’s plight at the Red Lion on 24 and 25 November, and on 23 December. Debts owing to Alsop were to be paid to his business partner Mr Chapman or to Bedson and Rushton. Similarly, in March 1831 Bell’s bank suspended payments owing to heavy debts. A meeting of creditors, however, concluded that James Bell’s assets and credits were sufficient to meet liabilities and leave a considerable surplus. The creditors were lucky. Dividends of 10s in the pound declared within 4 months. Bell avoided bankruptcy, but it did him little good. His death was reported at the end of November.


Derby Mercury

Uttoxeter and Cheese

Uttoxeter has a long tradition of cheese-making. By the mid-seventeenth century it was already established as a major centre of the trade in the Midlands, and in the 1690s there were weekly cheese markets and extensive storage facilities. These were used by Uttoxeter’s cheese factors who were engaged as agents by London cheesemongers. By the mid-eighteenth century Uttoxeter’s importance as a centre for cheese meant that some agents retained by London merchants spent more than £500 in a single day on butter and cheese.

Pigot’s directory of 1828–9 notes that ‘the trade in cheese is also of some consequence’ and lists Thomas Earp, James Lassetter, and Orton and Arnold as cheese factors alongside  maw dealers Edward Gent, James Stringer, John Vernon and Co., and Henry Wigley. Before the commercial availability of rennet, curdling milk for cheese involved drying and salting a calf’s stomach or maw, and then soaking pieces of it in water. The resulting liquid was added to milk to create the curd.

Supplementing the  weekly cheese markets, White’s 1834 directory notes that Uttoxeter held three cheese fairs a year in March, September and November and was known for its ‘considerable trade’ in ‘preparing calves maws, to be used in curdling milk’ for cheese. Under the heading of ‘Cheese Factors & Hop & Seed merchants’ the directory lists Thomas Earp, James Lassetter, and Orton and Arnold. Ellen Gent, James Stringer, John Vernon and Co., Elizabeth Wigley, and Frederick Wigley were cheese skin makers. In 1834 William West noted that Uttoxeter was ‘remarkable for instances of longevity of its inhabitants’ and for its ‘abundant supply of cheese, butter, hogs, corn and all kinds of provisions’. Perhaps the latter was the cause of the former.

Workhouses served their inmates with food and drink according to what were known as dietaries, or daily allowances, which stipulated provision across a week. If these are taken at face value, cheese formed a considerable part of the diets of the poor. Tomkins notes, however, that dietaries should be regarded as statements of intent rather than actual evidence of practice and need to be corroborated by other sources. Until a shortage of bread and flour in the 1790s, at St Mary’s Workhouse, Lichfield, the 41 inmates (making it directly comparable in size to Uttoxeter workhouse) were served puddings, and bread and cheese dinners three times a week. With the shortages, milk pottage was served up for breakfast. Dinner on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays consisted of meat and vegetables; alternating with Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays offerings of broth and cold meat. On Saturdays inmates were given bread and cheese.

In the 1820s the overseers of Uttoxeter purchased large quantities of cheese for the workhouse from a wide range  of suppliers including James and John Bamford, Ralph Bagshaw (see separate entry), Thomas Cope, Thomas Earp (see separate entry), Porter and Keates, John Rushton, William Summerland (see separate entry), Edwin and Josh Wibberley, and Sir T. Sheppard, bart. Amounts varied from the 120lb supplied by Mr Bamford in May 1821, through the 90lbs supplied by William Summerland in May 1825, to the 13.5lbs supplied by Ralph Bagshaw in September 1827.

By the 1830s, just as in the 1820s, cheese came from no single supplier. In September 1830 William Bennett supplied over 2cwt of cheese costing £5 10s 4d. Thomas Earp’s bill for cheese in March 1831 amounted to £4 9s 1d. Fifty-five cheeses weighing 4cwt were supplied by Thomas Gell at a cost of £12 4s 3d in April 1832. The variation in the amounts and the regularity of cheese supplied are probably because the workhouse was producing its own cheese. Between 24 April and 30 June 1830, for example, Thomas Hartshorn supplied the workhouse with 947 quarts of milk. This was far more than the population of 40 or so inmates could readily consume suggesting that the milk was being used to make cheese. Hartshorn also supplied 33 quarts in June 1832, followed by 180 quarts in July. The workhouse also had its own milk cart, a wheel of which was repaired and painted by Thomas Mellor in April 1829.


Julie Bunting, ‘Bygone Industries of the Peak, Cheese-Making’, The Peak Advertiser, 29 January 1996

Catherine Donnelly, The Oxford Companion to Cheese (Oxford, OUP, 2016), 153–4

London Gazette, part 2 (1836), 1369

Sir Frederick Morton Eden, The State of the Poor, A History of the Labouring Classes in England 3 vols (London: 1797), edited and abridged A. G. L. Rogers London: George Routledge and Sons, 1928), 307.

John E. C. Peters, The Development of Farm Buildings in Western Lowland Staffordshire up to 1800 (Manchester: MUP, 1969), 130

Pigot and Co., National Commercial Directory [Part 2: Nottinghamshire–Yorkshire and North Wales] for 1828–29 (London and Manchester: J. Pigot and Co., 1828), 741–2

SRO, D3891/6/8, Uttoxeter volume of parish bills, 1821–4

SRO, D3891/6/9, volume of parish bills, 1825–29

SRO, D3891/6/34/1/14, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Thomas Mellor, 3 April 1829

SRO, D3981/6/36/3/4, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, William Bennet, 11 September 1830

SRO, D3891/6/36/8/11a–d, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Thomas Hartshorn, 31 July 1830

SRO, D3891/6/37/2/7, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Thomas Earp, 26 Mar 1831

SRO, D3891/6/36/6/66, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Edwin Webberley, 23 December 1831

SRO, D3891/6/37/11/5, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, John Foster, 21 February 1832

SRO, D3891/6/39/2/26, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Thomas Gell, 20 March 1832

SRO, D3891/6/39/5/5, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Thomas Hartshorn, 10 June–15 July 1832

SRO, D3891/6/39/6/3, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Joseph Durose, 8 November 1832

SRO, D3891/6/40/1/10, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, R. Keates, [1833?]

Joan Thirsk, Agrarian History of England and Wales, 1640–1750, part 1 (Cambridge: CUP, 1985), 133

H. D. Symonds, The Universal Magazine, vol. 23 (November 1758), 219

William West, Picturesque Views and a Description of Cities, Towns, Castles and Mansions and other Objects of Interesting Feature in Staffordshire from original designs, taken expressly for this work by Frederick Calvert engraved on steel by Mr T. Radclyffe (Birmingham: William Emans, 1834), 96

William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Staffordshire and of the City of Lichfield (Sheffield: 1834), 762

Thomas Earp the elder (1766–1831) and Thomas Earp the younger (c.1799–1864) Cheesefactors and Brewers, Uttoxeter

Cheesefactor and brewer Thomas Earp the elder married Mary Cockayne. They had a number of children including: Thomas (born in Derby, c.1799), Sarah (bap. 9 November 1800), Mary (bap. 3 November 1802), John (bap. 24 August 1809), Maria (bap. 17 October 1813), and Jane.

Parson’s and Bradshaw’s 1818 directory lists Earp and Lassetter as cheese factors with a business in High Street, and Thomas Earp as an ale and porter brewer, cheese factor and spirit merchant, also in High Street.

Upon Thomas the elder’s death in 1831, his probated estate amounted to £200. As the sole beneficiary and executor of his late-father’s estate, he was tasked with making appropriate provision for his mother and his siblings. In 1833 Thomas the younger was involved with a property transaction involving the Croft of the White Hart, Uttoxeter, with Michael Clewley (see separate biography).

On 21 November 1825 at Uttoxeter, Wesleyan Methodist Thomas the younger married Sarah Jane Salt (1804–1856) who was born in Liverpool. They had a large family: Thomas (b.1828), Jane (b.1830), Ann (b.1832), Mary (b.1834), Sarah (b.1836), Edwin (b.1839), William (b.1841), Maria (b.1843), Henry (b.1847), Charles  (b.1848), and Eliza (b.1849). For much of their married life Thomas, Sarah Jane and their family lived in High Street.

At the time of the 1851 Census Thomas employed eight men. Thomas and Sarah Jane were living with children Jane, Ann (a teacher), Mary, Sarah, Maria and Henry (the last three described as scholars at home), Charles and Eliza.

By 1861 Thomas Earp, now a widower, and his family had moved to Burton-upon-Trent. He is listed simply as an ‘agent’ with an address in Horninglow Street in White’s 1857 directory. The family unit now comprised Thomas, and his children Jane, Mary, Maria, Sarah and Eliza, his niece Louisa Ann (aged 13) and his nephew John B. Earp (aged six). Mary, Maria, and Sarah were all governesses, and although his niece Louisa had been born in Uttoxeter, his nephew John had been born in America. Also in the household were Mary A. Eddes (17), a teacher born in St Pancras, London, and Ann Calvert (31), a servant born in Uttoxeter. Louisa’s and John’s parents John, a brewer and Emma Brindley had married on 28 July 1846 at St Peter’s, Fleetwood, Lancashire.

Both Thomas Earps supplied the overseers of Uttoxeter with cheese, but not on a regular basis. This was probably because the workhouse was also in receipt of substantial amounts of milk from the likes of George Hartshorn, suggesting that the workhouse was also engaged in producing cheese.

In the late-1820s Thomas [the younger?] and Edward Saunders established the Uttoxeter Brewery Company. Thomas’ business was sufficiently prosperous for him to be able to invest in railways and to be a member of the Provisional Committees for the Leeds, Huddersfield, Sheffield and South Staffordshire, or Leeds, Wolverhampton and Dudley Direct Railway and the Tean and Dove Valley and Eastern and Western Junction Railway.

In May 1854 Thomas’ and Sarah Jane’s daughter Ann married George Jones. At some point they emigrated to Mossel Bay, South Africa. They had three children: Charles Earp Jones, Sarah Jane Jones, and George Alliebrooke Jones. George Jones died 23 May 1890, and his widow Ann on 27 November 1896 aged 62.


Bradshaw’s Railway Gazette vol. 1, (London: William James Adams; Manchester: Bradshaw and Blacklock, 1845)

Census 1841 HO107/1007/14

Census 1851 HO107/2010

Census 1861 R.G.9/1965

England and Wales Civil Registration Marriage Index 1837–1915

Herapath’s Railway Journal, 28 June 1845

Lichfield Record Office, BC11 Will of Thomas Earp, 26 October 1831

Parson, W. and Bradshaw, T., Staffordshire General and Commercial Directory presenting an Alphabetical Arrangement of the Names and Residences of the Nobility, Gentry, Merchants and Inhabitants in General (Manchester: 1818)

Poll Books and Electoral Registers 1538–1893

Francis Redfern History and Antiquities of the town and neighbourhood of Uttoxeter

RG4/2701 England and Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567–1970

SRO, D3891/6/36/8/11a–d, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, George Hartshorn, 31 July 1830

SRO, D3891/6/37/2/7, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Thomas Earp, 26 Mar 1831

SRO, D3891/6/37/4/3, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Thomas Earp, 23 July 1831

SRO, D4452/1/15/2/14 abstract of title of Thomas Earp to the White Hart Croft Uttoxeter 1833

SRO, D4452/1/15/2/15 Lease and release of part of White Hart Croft Uttoxeter 1833

White, William, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Staffordshire and of the City of Lichfield (Sheffield: 1834)

White, Francis, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Derbyshire with the Town of Burton-upon-Trent (Sheffield: 1857)

N.B. This biography is a work in progress and will probably be amended as further information from vouchers and other sources becomes available.


Uttoxeter Names on Obscure Lists

Beyond parish registers, newspapers and census returns the names of some Uttoxeter residents turn up in obscure places. Here are some of them. Occupations are taken from trade directories of 1818 and 1834, or from the sources themselves.

William Pitt, A Topographical History of Staffordshire (London: 1817)

Name of Subscriber Occupation
George Alsop Surgeon
Michael Bass
James Bell Banker
Revd Thomas Best
Samuel Botham
Thomas Hart
Benjamin Hodgson
Clement Kynnersley
Edward Mallabar
Mr T. S. Robinson
Job Shaw Master of house of industry
Herbert Taylor Doctor


Thomas Fernyhough, Military Memoirs of Four Brothers, Natives of Staffordshire Engaged in the Service of their Country as well in the New World and Africa, as on the Continent of Europe, by the Survivor (London: 1829)

Name of Subscriber Occupation
Mrs Alsop
Mrs Bladon
James Bell Banker
Mr James Cook Minister
Mrs Flint
Miss Godwin
William Garle Druggist
Alexander Kennedy M.D
Mrs Perkin
Mr Smith
Herbert Taylor M.D.
Thomas Woolrich Druggist


Deed of Settlement of the Northern and Central Bank of England, established 1834 (Manchester: printed by henry Smith, 1835)

Name Occupation
John Garle Red Lion
Samuel Garle Draper

A list of the Country Banks of England and Wales, private and proprietary; also of the names of all the shareholders of joint stock banks (London: M. A. Marchant, 1838)

Name Occupation
Francis Blagg Attorney
John Cooke Minister
William Dafforn Evarard Darper
John Garle Red Lion
Samuel Garle Draper
Joseph Haigh
Maria Howe
Richard Keates Ironmonger
William Porter Ironmonger
Herbert Taylor Doctor
John Vernon


Commercial Bank of England

Name Occupation
John Cooke Minister
William Dafforn Evarard Draper
Joseph Bladon esq., Oldfield House
Francis Blagg Attorney
Joseph Haigh
Maria Howe
John Vernon

Derby and Derbyshire Banking Company

Name Occupation
John Cooke Minister
Richard Keates Ironmonger
William Porter Ironmonger
Herbert Taylor Doctor
John Vernon

Manchester and Liverpool Banking Company

Name Occupation
Richard Keates Ironmonger
William Porter Ironmonger

Northern and Central Bank of England

Name Occupation
Joseph Haigh

George Elwick, The Bankrupt Directory being a complete register of all the bankrupts with their residences, trades and dates when they appeared in the London Gazette December 1820–April 1843 (1843).

Date Name Occupation
16 June 1821 John Billingham Nailmaker
4 Jan 1825 Thomas Smith Tanner
3 July 1829 Joseph Norris Draper
11 Nov 1831 George Alsop Surgeon
26 July 1836 Thomas Blair Money Scrivener
9 June 1837 William Perkin Timber Merchant
26 April 1842 Charles Holbrook Plumber and Glazier


Bradshaw’s Railway Gazette vol. 1, (London: William James Adams; Manchester: Bradshaw and Blacklock, 1845)

Leeds, Huddersfield, Sheffield and South Staffordshire, or Leeds, Wolverhampton and Dudley Direct Railway Provisional Committee

Name Occupation
Henry Arnold Cheese Factor
George Benwell
Robert Blurton Banker, Smallwood Manor
Revd J. Cooke Independent Minister
Thomas Earp Cheese Factor
Samuel Garle Draper, royal Exchange Insurance Agent
William Garle Druggist
Lawrence Richard Corbett Wandfield Hall, Uttoxeter
Richard Lassetter Surgeon (Registrar of Births and Deaths 1851)
James Lassettter Wine & Spirit Merchant, Cheese Factor
John Minors Gent, the Parks
William Phillips Springfield Hall, Uttoxeter
Thomas Woolrich Druggist
Charles Wood Union Clerk (1851)


Hyde Clark, The Railway Register and Record of Public Enterprise for Railways, Mines, Patents, Inventions vol. 2 (London: John Wall, 1845)

Direct East and West Junction Railway, Kidderminster to Hereford Provisional Committee

Name Occupation
Henry Arnold
Benjamin Bell
George Benwell
Thomas Brindley Grocer and Tea Dealer
Revd J. Cooke
Samuel Garle Draper
William Garle Druggist
John Minors The Parks

The British and Foreign Railway Review vol, 1, (London: Effingham Wilson, October 1845)

Leeds, Huddersfield, Sheffield and South Staffordshire Railway

Name Occupation
William Garle Druggist

Staffordshire and North Midlands Junction Railway

Name Occupation
John Earp Director

Remington’s Direct London and Manchester Railway

Name Occupation
Henry Arnold Director

Direct Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire Junction Direct East and West

Name Occupation
Revd John Cooke Director
Thomas Brindley Director
Richard Lassetter Director
C. Wood Director

William Dafforn Evarard (1786–1870), Linen and Woollen Draper

Thomas Evarard (1745–1808) of Attleborough, near Nuneaton, Warwickshire married Elizabeth Dafforn (1756–1829) of Tamworth on 26 December 1782. They had eight children: Elizabeth (1781–1849), William Dafforn (1786–1870), Mary (1788–1844), Hannah Maria (1791–1860), John (1791–1829), Joseph (1794–1850), Susannah (1799–1862), and Jane (1800–1831).

White’s 1834 directory, and poll books of the early 1830s list William Dafforn Evarard as a linen and woollen draper in High Street, Uttoxeter. By 1841 he and his wife Sarah were living in Market Place alongside Henry Lawrence, Edward Kelsey, and Anna Leaves, all drapers’ assistants, and servant Leah Morley.

Between 1844 when the poll book for that year recorded him as living in a freehold house in the Market Place and his death aged 83 in 1870, Evarard had returned to Warwickshire with his wife and was living at 8 Union Street, Coventry. His probated estate was under £5,000.

Everard’s pre-printed bills state clearly ‘ready money only’, but this was evidently to encourage prompt payment rather than a strictly enforced business maxim. A bill sent to the overseers for calico, thread, and tape costing £1-7-9 dated 29 April 1831, for example, took two months to settle. Goods were supplied to both the workhouses in Uttoxeter and Doveridge, and to individuals in receipt of poor relief including ‘Brassington’ who was given five yards of Welsh flannel and ‘Ward’ who was given a w[oolle]n frock in 1832.  In the 1830s the range of goods supplied to Uttoxeter’s overseers varied little: calico, tape, cotton, thread, Welsh flannel, brown sheeting, moleskin, buttons, and cord.

Everard’s business success enabled him to invest in the local infrastructure and to contribute to charity. In 1838 his name appeared as a shareholder in the Commercial Bank of England and in 1836 he made a £1-1-0 contribution to a missionary charity.


1841 Census HO 107/1007/15

1832 and 1844 Poll Books and Electoral Registers 1538–1893

A list of the Country Banks of England and Wales, private and proprietary; also of the names of all the shareholders of joint stock banks (London: M. A. Marchant, 1838)

National Probate Calendar 5 April 1870, William Dafforn Everard effects under £5,000.

SRO, D3891/6/37/3/4, Uttoxeter overseers’ vouchers, 18 June 1831

SRO, D3891/6/37/10/14, Uttoxeter overseers’ vouchers, 12 January 1832

SRO, D3891/6/37/12/69, Uttoxeter overseers’ vouchers, 7 February–8 March 1832

SRO, D3891/6/40/10/4, Uttoxeter overseers’ vouchers, 23 January 1834

SRO, D3891/6/40/16/5, Uttoxeter overseers’ vouchers, 28 June 1836

SRO, D3891/6/40/16/17, Uttoxeter overseers’ vouchers, 28 June 1836

The Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle vol. 14 (London: Frederick Westley and A. H. Davis, 1836)

William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire (1834)

N.B. This biography is a work in progress and will probably be amended as further information from vouchers and other sources becomes available.

Thomas Parker: Notes on a Possible Scandal?

From 1815 the law forbade officers of the Poor Law from profiting from their civic positions by awarding contracts to themselves for the supply of goods and services. Thomas Parker was master of Uttoxeter workhouse in the early 1830s, but the poor law vouchers show that he was also charging the parish for goods supplied to the workhouse from his grocery business. In themselves the majority of goods are typical of those supplied by other grocers, but one item caught our attention: copperas (ferrous sulphate). This was a favourite ingredient used to ‘revive’ used tea leaves by boiling the leaves with the copperas. This set me thinking about other ingredients that were used to adulterate food and drink. Many such as cocculus indicus (an extract of the South East Asian fish berry containing a poisonous picro-toxin related to curare), opium, and oil of vitriol (dilute sulphuric acid) were illegal and harmful. Others including liquorice, treacle, pepper and ginger were often used to add flavour to beer. Although not harmful, they were cheaper substitutes for ingredients such as malt and hops. Uttoxeter workhouse produced beer, bought malt, hops, and barm to brew (fermented froth produced during the malting process); there are frequent purchases of liquorice, treacle, pepper and ginger. Were the workhouse masters using such ingredients in a fraudulent capacity?


SRO, D3891/6/34/9/10a, settled bill to Thomas Parker, 4–29 October 1829

SRO, D3891/6/37/2/8, handwritten invoice, Michael Clewley, 31 May 1831

SRO D3891/6/37/3/10, handwritten invoice Bagshaw and Son, 9 April–28 May 1831

Nancy Cox, Retailing and the Language of Goods 1550–1820 (London: Routledge, 2016)

Peter Shears, ‘Food Fraud – A Current Issue but an Old Problem’, Plymouth Law Review (2008)

N.B. This is a work in progress and will probably be amended as further information from vouchers and other sources becomes available.

John Shaw, Grocer and Tea Dealer

John Shaw of Carter Street, Uttoxeter, was principally a grocer and tea dealer with a side line in the manufacture of sewing cotton and linen thread, the latter probably in association with Robert Shaw. Apart from John, the 1818 trade directory lists a number of other Shaws: Robert Shaw, linen and cotton manufacturer, Sheep Market; Mary Shaw, lace worker, Pinfold Lane; and perhaps most significantly because it may have enabled John to access workhouse contracts, a Job Shaw, governor of the House of Industry, Uttoxeter Heath.

Like many nineteenth-century grocers, Shaw carried a range of foodstuffs: loaf sugar, moist sugar, mixed tea, Congou tea, coffee, treacle, ginger, pepper, mustard, rice, saltpetre, black pepper, currants, raisins, and clove pepper. He also stocked soap, candles, tobacco, black lead, soda, whiting, starch and blue.

Shaw was prosperous enough to have illustrated pre-printed billheads such as the one dated 30 November 1835 which provides further evidence of the goods he stocked including tobacco, pickling vinegars, and ‘every description of eating and other oils, butters, hops, seeds, &c’.

There is a stylised westernised depiction of a ‘Chinaman’ dressed in flowing robes and wearing a bamboo dŏulì or rice hat. He is sat by the coast on chest of Fine Hyson tea with his left arm resting on a canister of ‘Turkey and all other Coffees, Cocoa &c’. Behind him is a pagoda, similar to the one at Kew Gardens in front of which is a large six sided, oval jar. Out at sea is a tea clipper.

Representations of Chinamen are seen on other billheads, often in conjunction with other generic figures (see ‘Advertising a Global Outlook’ post), and raises interesting questions relating to national sentiment.

Transporting tea was hazardous, with ships subject to storms, shipwrecks and smuggling. To compensate for erratic supplies to the domestic market, tea was often adulterated, reused and imitated. There was a thriving trade in second hand tea purchased from servants working in grand households, or from hotels to which the unscrupulous added a range of adulterants to ‘improve’ its colour and taste: ferrous sulphate, verdigris, and carbon black, were favourite additives. Such adulteration was widespread and often commented upon, but only occasionally was action taken against those involved: in 1818 eleven people were tried and convicted in London for adulterating tea. But it was not just that adulteration existed but who was believed to be doing the adulteration. Thomas Short’s A Dissertation upon Tea (1730) and John Lettsom’s Natural History of the Tea Tree (1772) both alleged that it was the Chinese. Such accusations grew during the rest of the century, increasing significantly in the nineteenth. The reality was that most of the adulteration was carried out in Britain by domestic dealers and suppliers eager to overcome shortages.

Shaw’s representation of the ‘Chinaman’ as a means of advertising his wares comes just prior to the introduction in the late 1830s of Indian and later Ceylon tea from Britain’s expanding empire. Purchasing and consuming products from the empire was regarded as patriotic; Indian and Ceylon teas were increasingly associated with Britishness whilst Chinese tea was regarded with suspicion. Like the representation of the Chinese figure in ‘Advertising a Global Outlook’, Shaw’s ‘Chinaman’ is presented as placid and unthreatening. It would be interesting to know whether later bills presented by Shaw continued to adopt the ‘Chinaman’ as a sales technique, or whether he had succumbed to national sentiment.


John Burnett, Plenty and Want: A Social History of England from 1815 to the Present Day (London: 1989)

Frederick Filby, A History of Food Adulteration and Analysis (London: 1934)

W. Parson and T. Bradshaw, Staffordshire General and Commercial Directory presenting an Alphabetical Arrangement of the Names and Residences of the Nobility, Gentry, Merchants and Inhabitants in General (Manchester: 1818)

Liza Picard, Dr Johnson’s London: Life in London 1740–1770 (London: 2000)

Erika Rappaport, ‘Packaging China: Foreign Articles and Dangerous Tastes in the Mid-Victorian Tea Party’ in Frank Trentmann (ed.), The Making of the Consumer: Knowledge, Power and Identity in the Modern World (Oxford: 2006).

SRO, D3891/6/42/75, Bill to Overseers from John Shaw, 30 November 1835

James Walvin Fruits of Empire: Exotic Produce and British Trade, 1660–1800 (London: 1997)

N.B. This  is a work in progress and will probably be amended as further information from vouchers and other sources becomes available.