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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Share Your Memories of Tunstall Market

Tunstall Town HallDo you have memories of Tunstall Market and the town hall?

Did you work in the market or did you go shopping there with your mother when you were growing up? Can you remember the stalls that were there and the things which they sold before the market was regenerated at the end of the 20th century?

To celebrate the bi-centenary of Tunstall Market which was founded by John Henry Clive on September 20th, 1817 we are writing a book about the town hall and the market.

If you have memories or old photographs of the market or the town hall which you would be willing to share with us, please email David Martin at daymar727@talktalk.net

Camera in the City – Trent & Mersey Canal

SONY DSCSite of the Anderton Wharf on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Ravensdale March 2017

Fenton – The old library

dsc01115-426x640-e1373694424487.jpgStanding on the corner of Glebedale Road and Baker Street, the free English Renaissance style building that housed Fenton Library was designed by local architect F.R. Lawson.

At the end of the 19th century, Fenton was the only town in The Potteries without a library.

Earthenware manufacturer, John Shaw Goddard, who became chairman of the urban district council in April 1900 wanted to build one but the council did not have the money.

John asked wealthy landowner William Meath Baker for help, but William who had just given the town a new fire station could not afford to build a library.

However, he promised to give a site behind the town hall where a library could be erected if John could raise the money.

Discovering that a New York philanthropist, the self-made millionaire Andrew Carnegie, was building libraries in towns and cities throughout the United Kingdom, John asked him to build one in Fenton.

Andrew gave John £5,000 to build a library. William kept his word and donated the site behind the town hall. The urban district council adopted the Free Libraries Act and agreed to levy a penny rate on each householder to enable it to buy books.

William opened the library on March 7th, 1906.

Fenton’s new library was housed in a two storey Accrington red brick building with Hollington stone facings. The main entrance was in Baker Street. Revolving doors led into to the entrance hall whose mosaic floor was laid with Minton Hollins tiles depicting the town’s coat of arms. The archway over the door contained a mural showing children sitting at the feet of knowledge, painted by Gordon Forsythe who later became the principal of Stoke-on-Trent Art Schools.

On the ground floor were rooms containing an adult lending library, a reference library, a children’s library and a reading room. A stair case with a wrought iron balustrade, made in Tunstall by William Durose, led from the foyer to the upper floor where there was a lecture hall which could seat between 100 and 120 people. The room had an ornamental plaster ceiling and was heated by an iron grate in a faience surround.

Copyright Betty Cooper – The Phoenix Trust 2013

Newcastle-under-Lyme’s Terracotta Trail

Last summer, I sketched a Victorian building in Newcastle-under-Lyme. This was a fine example with plenty of details , especially the terracotta tiles. Terracotta means ‘fired earth’ -and describes a form of moulded clay masonry of a finer quality than standard bricks. Sketching the building as a whole meant losing some of the finer details […]

(Posted December 7th, 2016) via

To read the full post visit Terracotta Trail — Drawing the Street

Doulton’s Hispano Moresque Ware

Hispano Moresque was one of John Slater’s first successes at Doulton’s Nile Street works in the early 1880s. At the time Doulton at Nile Street only had an earthenware body to use as a medium, which fortunately suited Slater’s revival of the centuries old Hispano Moresque tradition of lustre painting. Often examples of this red […]

via Doulton’s Hispano Moresque wares — doultoncollectorsclub

Paine Proffitt – From Philidelphia to Stoke

Paine Proffitt is a man whose artistic works are inspired by sport, some of which are displayed in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in America.

(Posted May 2nd, 2017)

To read the full post visit From Philadelphia to Stoke – Paine Proffitt’s journey — Simply Review It

How to make Staffordshire Oatcakes

Wotchers! Staffordshire Oatcakes are, quite possibly, the best regional speciality you’ve never heard of. In fact, that is much more of a generalisation than you may realise, because they’re specifically regional to North Staffordshire, centering on the region around Stoke-on-Trent. It’s historic origins are mixed, with some anecdotes suggesting they originated from soldiers returning from […]

(Posted December 5th, 2016)

To read this post visit Staffordshire Oatcakes — Time To Cook – Online

Burslem – Reflections on a town’s heritage

A Second World War Liberty Ship

Like all the towns in our area, Burslem has a proud heritage.

In the 18th century, its master potters brought the Industrial Revolution to North Staffordshire.

The old town hall is one of the finest examples of civic architecture erected by a local board of health.

Burslem born architect, Absalom Reade Wood designed the Woodhall Memorial Chapel, the Drill Hall, the Art School, the Wycliffe Institute, Moorland Road Schools, Longport Methodist Church and Middleport Pottery.

Created by local craftspersons, the Wedgwood Institute has a unique terracotta façade which is an inspiring tribute to the skills of the men and women who worked in the pottery industry.

During its long history, the Wedgwood Institute has housed several schools and colleges whose alumni have played a significant role on the world stage in the fields of literature, science and technology.

They include:

  • Oliver Lodge, the first principal of Birmingham University, who invented the spark plug and perfected radio telegraphy;
  • Arnold Bennett whose novels vividly described life in North Staffordshire and immortalised The Potteries;
  • Summers Hunter, one of the world’s leading maritime engineers, whose firm designed the engine that powered the Liberty Ships* which helped to keep the supply lines between Britain and North America open during the Second World War; and
  • Reginald Mitchell, the 20th century’s leading aircraft designer, who created the Spitfire which saved the world from Nazi domination.

*The photograph shows a Liberty Ship which was powered by a marine engine designed by Summers Hunter.

Stoke-on-Trent: Westport Lake

I went for a walk at Westport Lake as it has been a beautiful clear chilly early spring day. Westport Lake is just over a mile away set in the middle of housing and industry, it was built to keep the water levels up in the Trent and Mersey Canal and sits between the canal […]

(Posted March 6th, 2017)

To read more visit Westport Lake — Tim Diggles

Leek – Earning a crust in the 1960s

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It was not uncommon during the 1960s (when I was a teenager) for many young people to have a part-time job to earn some pocket-money, me included. From 1964 for almost three years I worked on Saturdays at a local garage in Leek, my hometown in north Staffordshire. Peppers Garage, on High Street, next to the […]

(Posted May 16th, 2017)

To read the full post visit Earning a crust in the 1960s, part-time — A balanced diet . . .

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