Monthly Archives: May 2017

Fenton is Stoke-on-Trent’s sixth town

Fenton is one of the six towns of the Potteries, Stoke-on Trent. It’s the one that wasn’t included in the writing by Arnold Bennett. Many of you will know that Stoke is currently in the run up towards the bid for the City of Culture 2021 so I thought I could play a small part […]

(Posted on February 22nd, 2017)

To read the full post visit  And the Sixth town is Fenton — Drawing the Street

Arnold Bennett and the Theatre Royal

Looking for something quite different altogether in the October 1920 copies of The Stage, I came across this item about Arnold Bennett. It prints his rather abrupt reply to a request to help the campaign trying to preserve the Royal, Hanley, as a theatre, and prevent its conversion into a picture palace:

(Posted on April 29th, 2017)

To read the full post visit Arnold Bennett, the theatre and the cinema — Great War Fiction

Focus on Fenton: The vicar who had friends in high places

Christ_Church,_Fenton,_from_south-eastAn establishment figure, the Reverend the Honourable Leonard Tyrwhitt, the Vicar of Fenton from 1895 to 1907, was a man with friends in high places.

Born on October 29th, 1863, Leonard was the son of Sir Henry Tyrwhitt and his wife Emma who inherited the title Baroness Berners when her uncle Lord Berners died.

Graduating from Magdalene College, Cambridge in 1886, he trained for the ministry at Wells Theological College and was admitted to the priesthood in 1888.

When he came to Fenton in 1895, Leonard found a parish deeply in debt and services were held in the new parish church (Christ Church) before the bell tower had been erected.

Designed by Stoke architect, Charles Lynam, the church could accommodate 1,900 worshippers. Built of red brick with stone dressings, the nave and chancel which cost over £6,000 had been consecrated by Dr Maclagan, the Archbishop of York, on October 3rd, 1891. Although nearly £5,400 had been donated towards the cost of building the nave and the chancel, over £800 was still owed to the builder, and about £2,000 had to be raised before the bell tower could be constructed.

Leonard moved into the vicarage in Glebedale Road and made plans to revitalise the parish. He established a church council, organised Bible classes and formed youth clubs.

Hoping it would bring in enough money to pay Christ Church’s debts and to erect a bell tower, Leonard decided to hold a three-day bazaar in the town hall to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. When he heard that the Prince and Princess of Wales were coming to The Potteries, he invited them to visit Fenton and open the bazaar.

The Royal couple accepted his invitation and arrived in Fenton on January 5th, 1897. During their visit to the town hall, the Princess, who later became Queen Alexandra, opened the bazaar which raised £3,250.

Leonard used the money to pay the church’s debts and to build a bell tower containing a peal of eight bells.

A man with a forceful personality, Leonard had unlimited self-confidence and was not afraid to speak his mind.

Early in December 1903, he began a well-publicised crusade against immorality in The Potteries which was widely reported in the national press.

In a series of outspoken, controversial sermons, Leonard condemned factory owners who failed to protect young workers from sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation. Supported by public opinion and leading non-conformist ministers, he attacked drunkenness, gambling, wife beating, child neglect, fornication and prostitution.

Photograph of Christ Church, Fenton licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Stoke-on-Trent is proud of its heritage

A Mark IX Spitfire

People from Stoke-on-Trent are proud of their city’s heritage.

History records the achievements of men and women from our city and tells us the role they played on the world stage.

Stoke-on-Trent’s city council was one of the pioneers of comprehensive education. It defied both Conservative and Labour governments and replaced grammar and secondary modern schools with neighbourhood comprehensive schools and a sixth form college.

Local art schools, technical schools and colleges of further education were progressive centres of excellence. Reginald Mitchell, who designed the Spitfire, turned down a place at Birmingham University. He wanted to serve an apprenticeship with a firm in Fenton and to study engineering at technical schools in the city.

By the beginning of the 1930s, the North Staffordshire Technical College was a university in everything but name. The college had an international reputation and attracted overseas students. It possessed the world’s leading ceramic research centre and had Europe’s best mining school.

There are those who say the past is dead. They are wrong. The past lives in our collective memory. It makes us what we are today. Stoke-on-Trent has a proud heritage – a heritage which must not be forgotten. A city that forgets its past is a city without a future.

(Photograph of the Spitfire taken by Chowells, Edited by Fir0002)

Stoke should be the City of Culture in 2021

We all love an oatcake or two, a walk by the potteries factories, and the odd ‘ayup duck!’ in the street, but only the people of Stoke-on-Trent really know what their culture is…

(Posted on April 18th, 2017)

To read the full post visit 7 Reasons Why Stoke-on-Trent should be City of Culture 2021 — Simply Review It

Drawing the Street in Burslem

There’s many a fine building in Bonny Burslem but none with an entrance quite like the one into the Wedgwood Institute. I recently finished the Wedgwood drawing which I began a few months ago. I picked up the pencil for this one having been influenced some time ago by a poster I bought of […]

(Posted on October 13th, 2016)

To read the full post visit An iconic kind of door — Drawing the Street

I’m a Sager Makers Bottom Knocker

Aye up siree dust ere, I’ve got me sen a job. It’s dine at th’Potbonk, Are’l be workin wi yower Bob. Ay’s a Saggar Meeker dine theer, an ay’s earnin a pretty shilling. Ay’s got me a job, a Saggar Meekers Bottom Knocker, Are’m gooin mack a killing. Me Fayther could have got me fixed […]

(Posted on April 5th, 2017)

To read the full post visit I’m a Saggar Makers Bottom Knocker ( in a Potteries dialect ) — Higgo’s World

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