The Potteries in 1795 (Part Two)
In the second in our series of edited extracts from Dr Aikin’s description of the Potteries in 1795, we look at Burslem, Cobridge and Etruria.
This is the ancient centre of The Pottery, where doubtless earthenware of one kind or another has been made for many centuries. Doctor Plot, in his History of Staffordshire, written in 1686, makes special mention of the potteries of this place and points them out as being the greatest of their kind… This place has two markets in the week, Monday and Saturday; but the market on Monday is the largest. In the last four or five years, regular fairs where cattle are sold have been established which are well attended. Burslem is a parish, which has a good church, lately enlarged and thoroughly repaired, with a good organ. The late Mr Wesley gained considerable ground here. The Methodists have a chapel, and are very numerous; they have also built chapels in several towns and villages in The Pottery: it is, however, believed that the members of this society are not so numerous now as they were in the lifetime of Mr Wesley. There is also a great variety of other sects in The Pottery: few places have so great a diversity of opinion in respect of religion as this; but the effusions of loyalty hereupon most occasions may be fairly stated to be general, warm, and sincere.
Cobridge is a large village where there are factories making earthenware. It lies partly in Burslem parish and partly in Stoke parish.
Etruria belongs solely to Josiah Wedgwood, Esq. who has a very extensive earthenware manufactory here, a large village and a handsome residence in extensive grounds. In his pottery enterprises, he has most definitely acquired a great fortune with an equal share of reputation. The name of this place was given to it by Mr Wedgwood, after an ancient state in Italy, celebrated for the exquisite design of its pottery, the remaining specimens of which have served greatly to improve the beauty of modern ware. The Trent & Mersey Canal runs through Etruria, which makes it a good manufacturing situation; but the whole belonging to one individual will most likely operate against an increase in the number of factories there.
The Potteries in 1795 (Part Two) – Edited by Betty Cooper 2010
To be continued