For a small town, Uttoxeter has a very grown-up image. Still a market town today, it appeared in the Doomsday Book as 'Wotocheshedeand', and has had 79 different versions of its name. Genuine locals pronounce Uttoxeter as 'Utcheter'. It lies close to the River Dove and is surrounded by beautiful countryside, close to the Derbyshire border and within easy reach of the Peak District.
Uttoxeter is also the founding place of the global digger group, JCB, which has its beautiful landscaped surroundings and stylish factory frontage in nearby Rocester.
Another key employer in the town is Fox's Biscuits - previously called Elkes and Adams. They make the famous 'malted milk' biscuit which you can still get today, and is perfect for dunking in your tea. You can still smell the sweet, homely waft of biscuits as you drive into Uttoxeter via the Cheadle Road. In the town centre, in Balance Street, you'll find St. Mary's Catholic Church which was designed by the famous architect, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, who later worked on Alton Towers and the Houses of Parliament. A couple of miles away you can find the remains of Croxden Abbey, founded in 1176 by Bertram de Verdun for monks of the Cistercian Order.
Today, true to its market town heritage, the town still has a vibrant and busy outdoor market, held every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
There's an indoor Craft and Food market held every Wednesday in the Town Hall, and an Indoor Farmers' Market and Craft Stalls held every second Saturday of the month.
Tucked away in a courtyard by the Market Place is the popular 'Indulgence' Coffee Lounge which serves up delicious coffees, teas and lunches. It receives excellent reviews and has become known as one of 'the' places to meet up in Uttoxeter. The town's retail shopping needs are served by 'The Maltings' in the town centre. The Maltings Shopping Centre takes its name from the large Maltings Brewery, which was based in the town until the 1960s.
A lovely visitor attraction is Redfern's Cottage Museum of Uttoxeter Life in Carter Street – offering a unique insight into the history of the town. The museum is set in a picturesque 17th century half-timbered cottage. It was built in 1628 when many landowners built houses for let – then renting them out during a time when Uttoxeter saw population numbers grow. It seems 'buy to let' is nothing new.
The house has had many different lives over the years – as a tin smith business, a tannery, a barrel-makers and now a museum. It's named after one of the most notable people who occupied it - Francis Redfern - an historian and writer who ran his barrel-making business there from 1851 to 1895. Another historical figure – the 18th century Staffordshire man of letters, Dr Samuel Johnson – is featured in a Uttoxeter ceremony every September.
Perhaps the best known school in Uttoxeter is Thomas Alleynes near the town centre. Founded 450 years ago, the school has a rich heritage and enjoys an excellent reputation. It has over 1,300 students, was designated an IB World School in 2007 and has been offering the prestigious International Baccalaureate alongside A Levels since 2008. Families and fitness enthusiasts can enjoy the facilities at Uttoxeter Leisure Centre. With a sports hall and swimming pool, there's a range of sporting activities for adults and children throughout the year, including holiday clubs during school breaks. You can enjoy swimming, trampolining, gymnastics, badminton, squash, aerobics, and even lifeguard courses. Locals can also make the most of Bramshall Park.
For almost a hundred years, the park has been a recreational asset for Uttoxeter, with delightful, landscaped open space for sporting, leisure and fitness activities. In 2012 the park won a Green Flag Award for the second year running. Green Flag Awards recognise the provision of good quality parks and open spaces that are managed in an environmentally sustainable way.
Miss Staffordshire 2013 is a Uttoxeter gal. Thomas Alleynes School A level student, Jessica Landells, 17 came joint 4th in the recent Miss England competition and even secured herself some modelling work in the process - all helping to put Uttoxeter firmly on the map.