In 1699 Stockton’s first purpose built shambles was erected in the centre of the High Street. The name ‘shambles’ is an obsolete term for an open-air place where meat was butchered and sold but it is now more frequently used to describe a place of market stalls.
By 1821 the old building was in such a bad state of repair that the decision was made to build a new shambles at the cost of £1,960. When work began to pull the old shambles down, it was reported that members of the Volunteer Band jokingly played ‘The Downfall of Paris’.
Once the site had been cleared the Stockton townsfolk were against another building being erected and requested that a temporary structure to be considered which could be taken down when not in use, but the request was not granted.
When it was discovered that the new shambles structure was to be extended eight or nine yards further south the people of the town, with the help of workmen, pulled down the building and levelled the foundations. Thirteen people were arrested, but the case was eventually dismissed.
Work continued on the new shambles and the building was completed in 1825, as can be seen by the board above the entrance which bears the legend ‘ERECTED AD 1825 – John Wilkinson Esq. Mayor’
This Georgian-style building still stands today and is grade II listed.