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The Shambles, Stockton

Last Updated:

20 Feb 2024


This is a


54.563365, -1.312932

Founded in 


Current status is


Designer (if known):


Listed Grade II

This lovely building in Stockton is The Shambles, built in the 1820s to replace a 17th century meat market. Shambles is an old term for this, hence the street in York.

The original market had been in everyday use for 130 years, a cramped space filled with people butchering meats and had deteriorated to the point of dereliction by the 1820s. The building was demolished at a cost of £1960 - a pretty penny back then. accentuating the need.

Applications for builders were put up in the Durham County Advertiser in 1823, for a building composed of brick and Halifax stone. The building, with a Corn Exchange attached, was completed and opened in September 1825 by John Wilkinson Esq., the Mayor of the town, and retains a design which looks much later than I first imagined. It looks like a London tube station to me!

It's no longer just for the local butchers - local independents are situated in here today.

Listing Description (if available)

1823-5. Single storey brick building. 9 windows to sides and 5 windows to ends. On the sides: the ends and centre break forward slightly and are slightly higher; on the ends the centre breaks forward slightly. Corner piers and pilasters stone footing and painted brick window dressings. Windows are casements with glazing bars; round headed except to pavilions of sides and at centre of ends where they are segmental stone panels over side windows of end elevations. Cement frieze and cornice. South end has panel over inscribed "Erected AD 1725. John Williamson Mayor". Various entrances.

The Shambles and its immediate environs are shown on both these maps from the 1850s and 1890s.

You will notice there's very little change between the two. Stockton High Street remained intact for at least half a century from the 1850s, retaining the long (perhaps) 18th century terraced shops and pubs on either side, some of which still remain. In the 1850s the Shambles also featured a Corn Exchange.

The 1893 map shows a relocation of the weighing machine, but many of the same public houses still operating. The long yards (or chares) used to host all sorts like cock fights, quoits and more dodgy affairs.

Even by the 1910s the street looks pretty much identical, with The Shambles still fulfilling the same role as it did a century prior. Difference is discreet, though public conveniences were constructed as well as the twinning of the tramway through the town.


The North entrance of The Shambles in 2024


The Shambles c1970s. Source: Heritage Stockton


Stockton Market Place in 1924. Source: Historic England. Aerofilms Collection Historic England Photograph: EPW010140 flown 01/04/1924

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