30 September 2020


 The Council has teamed up with a local independent trader to launch a fantastic venture celebrating the talents of makers, bakers and creators from Staffordshire.

Officers and Punx Puds from May Bank have worked together to organise a Sunday artisan market in Newcastle town centre.

“Castle Artisan Market” – taking place on The Stones on the third Sunday of the month – brings together the very best local producers of fine food, art and crafts with an exciting mix of live music and hot street food to create an enjoyable event for the whole family.

More than 45 local traders are attending the first artisan market on 18 October including Grace Hancock, from Basford, who represented the West Midlands in the finals of the national Young Traders Market competition recently with her Cushy Paws business which offers pet portraits, mugs, tea towels, cushions and greetings cards among other items.

Some of the other stallholders include –

  • Chloe Breeze Illustration: personalised prints, playful illustrations and Staffordshire-related items
  • Joan Kennedy: the illustrator, artist and beloved children’s author is selling vibrant animal watercolour paintings.
  • Kreations: handcrafted bunting, quirky cushions and throws
  • Marshmallow & S’more: various flavour marshmallows, fudge, Scottish tablet and S’more cookie cups
  • Piccoloco: locally roasted coffee, speciality teas, hot chocolate, ice cold drinks, cakes and biscuits, including gluten-free and non-dairy options, from a Piaggio Ape
  • Punx Puds: delicious homemade puddings and cakes with a punk rock attitude
  • Sculpted Steel: home and garden ware
  • Sumina Silk Art: sumptuous pure silk scarves and stunning silk flowers
  • TORC Jewellery: earrings, bracelets, pendants and necklaces
  • Whispers of Wood: handmade, award winning wooden chopping boards and knives
  • Woodcraft by Owen: high quality pens and jewellery turned using a variety of stunning woods plus resin and wood hybrid products
  • Wriggly Tin Soap Co: ethically produced and plastic-free soaps and body products

Live band Passion and the Veins are providing a swinging Northern Soul backdrop to the day. Parking on the Council’s town centre car parks, including the nearby Midway, is free on Sundays. In the interests of pedestrian safety only blue badge holders, who are disabled, can legally park on the Ironmarket.

There will be plenty of hand sanitiser stations, social distancing markers, reminder banners and a one-way system in place so we all stay safe and follow social distancing guidelines.

Cllr. Stephen Sweeney, Cabinet member for finance and efficiency, said: “This is the latest in a line of initiatives we have worked on which are all aimed at increasing footfall for the market and other traders.

“Newcastle’s link to markets goes back centuries and we are determined to keep it as a feature of our town. Initiatives such as this one with Mike are vital to breathing new life into the town centre and we want as many local people as possible to come along and see what’s on offer. Their support – especially in difficult times such as these – is really important. We have lots of talented producers coming so the market promises to be a brilliant, and very safe, day out.”

The artisan market runs from 10am to 3pm. A second one is planned for 15 November, with more to follow in 2021.

Mike Davies, from Punx Puds, added: “I am from this area and really want Newcastle to do well. This is a way in which we can breathe new life into the historic links that the town has with markets which date back around 800 years. The vast majority of those who will be trading are local producers with a really high emphasis on quality. There is a gap in the calendar for North Staffordshire and South Cheshire with nothing like this taking place anywhere on the third Sunday of the month.

“We believe there will be a real appetite for an artisan market and it will not only expand the market offer in Newcastle town centre but also draw people in to support local market traders as well as the range of great independents and other retailers.”