The 17th century building on Lower Street has become iconic in the local town due to its years as Maxims nightclub, which enjoyed its heyday in the 1980s. The building therefore forms part of living memory for generations of people in the town.
Yet there is much more to the site than its most recent use.
Browse our timeline below to see how the history of the building charts important periods in the town’s past.
Thomas Pape, the historian, records that the property was sold by Elizabeth Bagnall for £34
Samuel Bell buys the house for £156
He set up a potworks, the first and only one in Newcastle-under-Lyme and in 1729 took out a patent for ‘agate ware’. He died in 1744.
The house is let to William Steers, a potter
It is said that he made the first porcelain in the country, but was unsuccessful in his application for a patent.
The building is let to Joseph Wilson, the last potter recorded to occupy it
Ralph Gallimore bellowsmaker bought the ‘messuage’
(a dwelling house with outbuildings and land). This is the first indication of the extensions to the rear of the house.
Alfred Brown, a currier, is recorded as the owner in the census which took place that year
A directory records William Abbott, beer seller and twine and rope maker, as the building’s occupier
Another directory entry for William Abbott describes the site as The Roper’s Arms and is the first indication of its name as a public house
A census records publican Benjamin Copeland as resident here
Reference to John Gallimore’s steam joinery works to the rear of the public house is recorded
John is a builder of Municipal Hall.
The public house changes its name from The Roper’s Arms to the Old Pomona
A census records William Owen as innkeeper of Old Pomona public house
Benjamin Copeland is recorded as licensee in the census
Directory listings from 1904 and 1912 list Charles Bennett as beer retailer at the Old Pomona Inn
1950s The hall is still owned by Holy Trinity Parish and is used as an annexe to St Mary’s RC school and later St Patrick’s Secondary Modern School. In 1956, there were 3 classrooms and a playground. Lessons were held here until 1966 when the new Blessed Thomas Maxfield School opened
Pictured: Paddy Markham who attended school here in 1956
Old Pomona becomes known as The Placemate under new ownership
Well found under floor of the Old Pomona Inn
The Placemate opens and becomes an iconic clubbing venue in the town
Excavations to uncover Pot Ovens and pottery carried out at the rear of the ‘Placemate’
Excavations took place from 1969 – 1971 The ‘Placemate’ was owned by the same people who ran ‘The Place’ nightclub in Hanley.
A pottery kiln base is unearthed on the site
This is now located in the grounds of Brampton Museum, where it is undergoing restoration.
The building is listed with grade II status
14th April Grand Opening Night at Sammi Belles Bistrotheque following a major refurbishment of The Placemate the previous year
Sammi Belles rebrands as Maxims Wine Bar & Nightclub and maintains its popularity over the next two decades
Maxims closes and gradually falls into disrepair
Belong partners with specialist healthcare developer, Prime plc, and is successful in securing Heritage Lottery Enterprise Funding for the restoration of the building
Belong Newcastle-under-Lyme opens, incorporating the Belong Heritage Gallery
With a recreation of the Old Pomona Inn, Samuel Bell’s Tea Room and a reminiscence lounge with exhibitions charting the working history of Newcastle and supported by loan items from the Brampton Museum and Apedale Heritage Centre.
Historical images reproduced courtesy of The Brampton Museum and Art Gallery, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council
If you have any feedback on our timeline, or are able to add further details regarding the building’s past use, please do not hesitate to get in touch, using the contact details below.