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W.S. Brown - butchers, 27 Broad Street, Hanley c.1880-1990

Much of the following information and the 1922 photos kindly supplied by William S. Brown the
great, great,  grandson of the original W. S. Brown.    

W.S. Brown originally had butchers shops at 11 Market Place Burslem and 27 Broad Street Hanley - the Hanley shop operated from around 1880 until 1990 but the slaughterhouse moved to Etruria Road in 1961.

The former shop & slaughterhouse in Broad Street were demolished in 2013 to make way for the new council civic centre but the building housing the original Brown's bakehouse (opposite the shop) still stands today (2013). 

Another major shop was in Stafford Street (now - 2013 - the Leek United Building Society). Interestingly, there is an alley at the rear of these premises called Browns Alley (now gated) - surely not a coincidence? 

The 1930's saw much expansion of the company as it was also at this time the firm began an expansion into the retail markets of the Potteries 

  • Hanley being the first (1931) and Stoke (1933) with Tunstall following that. 

  • Longton was added in the 1950's. 

  • The original stall in Hanley market was in the meat and fish market (Tontine Street/Percy Street entrance). There were about four steps up to the market from street level and the stall was immediately on the left. In fact it was in the fish mongers' aisle as there butchers' aisle was full. Customers would regularly queue 4-5 deep to be served. 

W.S. Brown & Sons still maintain a presence in the city - they left the old Tontine Street market for the new market in 1987 and still have a butchers stall in the market under the Potteries Shopping Centre in Hanley. 




1907 advert for W.S. Brown & Sons, butchers, Burslem & Hanley

1907 advert for W.S. Brown & Sons, butchers, Burslem & Hanley 


Brown's connection with the Market Place shop in Burslem goes to the origin of the family in the butchery trade. 

It was originally a butcher's shop under the name of Knight's. 

The original founder of the business (W.S.Brown) married a Knight - after he was sent to be an apprentice at the butcher's shop and marrying the daughter - the couple had 11 children with Charles Frederick Brown being the first to be born at the Broad Street shop.  

11 Market Place eventually became one of W. S. Brown's shops. 

Their reputation for good quality sausage spread far beyond the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire area with products being sent on trains from Hanley station to beyond Birmingham.





This photo shows the pigs being taken from Hanley Railway Station to Brown's butchers
The picture was transformed into a postcard which was sent to the farmers in order that they could send them back to  Brown's so they would  know how many pigs to expect from the various farms. Brown's would then top up their needs from various livestock auctions such as Newcastle, Shrewsbury, Leek, Crewe, Uttoxeter or Market Drayton. Postcards were used because telephones were not widely found on farms prior to the 1950's but the post arrived every day!

It was taken further up Broad Street from the butchers shop (possibly where the ABC cinema once stood)
in the background can be seen the shop of 'Davies Reliable Furniture'  - note the cobbled road and the tramlines 

The people in the photograph are....

Charles Frederick Brown (1882-1981) (to the far left)
and the children to the right are William S. Brown (1916-2006) 
and his sister Edna Brown (later Edna Hallatt)  (1918-2009)

Charles Frederick Brown's children were William Southall  Brown, Edna Hilda Knight Brown and Peter Knight Brown (all of which spent their lives in the business).


photos: 1922
kindly supplied by William Brown 


27 Broad Street, Hanley 
Brown, Wm. S., butcher


11 Market Place, Burslem 
Brown, Wm. S., butcher

all adverts and directory entries are from..... 
1907 Staffordshire Sentinel 
'Business Reference Guide to The Potteries, Newcastle & District'





This side street is Orb Street (originally Queen Street) 
with the view across Broad Street to John Emery & Sons, Music Dealer 
which is now (2013) Mercer Jones, Insurance Broker at 48 Broad Street.

Charles Frederick Brown - the son of the original W. S. Brown - came to work each day until his death at the early age of 99! 

During the Great Depression, he & his wife would make soup from the bones and distribute it to the poor from an entrance to the works from Crown Street (queues would frequently form even for these meals in times of poverty). 

Charles had two other brothers involved in the business, George and Arthur - both died before him. It was traditional at the time to set the first born son up in business by buying his first week's supply of meat - W. S. Brown's eldest son, W. S. Brown was thus set up in business but Charles Frederick (along with George and Arthur) stayed with his father to develop the business.





Charles Frederick Brown herding the pigs along Queen Street (later Orb Street)
to the slaughterhouse at the rear of the butcher's shop which fronted broad Street. 

It was very common to have slaughterhouses attached to butcher's shops during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Knight's slaughterhouse was in Greenhead Street, Burslem and there were slaughterhouses (though not used by Brown's) attached to W. S. Brown's shop in Dresden (corner of Trentham Road & Peel Street - once John Blakeman's, then Roper's & then Brown's) and Newcastle, High Street now Chatwin's. 


This building on Trentham Road was originally John Blakeman's Butchers Shop.

This building on Trentham Road was originally John Blakeman's Butchers Shop.
Blakeman was listed in a 1887 Almanac and a 1912 trade directory

later the business was Roper's and then in the 1950's Brown's



watched by a young boy - 6 year old William S. Brown and 4 year old Edna Brown 
are helping to herd the pigs


William S Brown (the great grandson of the founder of the business) at his butchers stall in Hanley Market 
- still producing the 'celebrated Cambridge Sausage'

photo: 2013


opposite Orb street at 48 Broad Street is Mercer Jones, Insurance Broker  
in the 1900-1920's this shop was John Emery & Sons, Music Dealer 
to the right was the Brown's bakehouse


48 Broad Street, Hanley - in 1907
Emery, Bernard J.R., music dealer and professor of music 

Wood and Parkes, wholesale grocers at 46 Broad Street
was purchased in the early 1930's and became 
Brown's bakehouse



formerly Brown's bakehouse - 46 Broad Street
formerly Brown's bakehouse - 46 Broad Street

Wood & Parkes grocers at 46 Broad Street was on the opposite side of Broad Street to the butchers - in the early 1930's Browns purchased the grocers shop and opened Brown's bakehouse enabling the firm to supply pork pies and sausage rolls to all its outlets.



W. S. Brown & Sons, butchers - 27 Broad Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent
the white fronted shop to the left of the photo is 27 Broad Street - now (July 2013) demolished
this was the home of W. S. Brown & Sons, butchers, from c.1880-1990 

This photograph of the block of shops where W. S. Brown were situated was taken from Broad Street, to the left is Crown Street ans to the right is Orb Street (originally Queen Street)

The two premises which were to the left of Brown's butchers (the white building) were demolished in the late 1920's or early 30's and this plot of land was never re-built on.


In 1907 the occupants were...

23 25 27 29 31 31a
Patrick J. Brennan - the Quiet Woman Beer House William Cooper, newsagent and tobacconist William S. Brown
Hastings, Ross & Co.
Frederick Daniels,
draper & dressmaker
The Staffordshire Tailoring Co.


  • In 1912 the Quiet Woman Beer House had a publican called William Price giving a William in 23, 25 & 27 Broad Street (quite a popular name even then!).

At one time No. 29 (the red building on the photo) was a shop selling weighing scales (Avery, Berkel etc) and in the 1970/80's the Red Bar Grill (Nos. 31,31a) was 'Midland Refrigeration'. 


In the 1930's 29 Broad Street was converted to become part of Brown's shop. 




from a postcard showing the Quiet Woman Beer House
from an early (1900's) postcard showing the Quiet Woman Beer House
- number 23 Broad Street, on the corner of Crown Street


Along Crown Street, there were originally typically terraced housing (as indicated by early maps around 1900) they were demolished - probably in the 30's or 40's at the same time as the Quiet Woman beer house - and Brown's butchers expanded to takeover some of the vacant ground. An extension to house a new coal fired boiler was put in around 1950 (with access off Crown Street). 

Prior to the introduction of electricity, much of the machinery was driven via steam power.



contents: 2013 photos


Related links...

Broad Street runs from the bottom of Piccadilly in the centre of Hanley and joins Snow Hill near St. Marks Church in Shelton. Halfway down its length Broad Street now has a roundabout which joins it to Hanley's ring road "The Potteries Way". It is the main route to Stoke via Howard Place and Stoke Road