THE SWAN INN
In volume two of his series Romance of Staffordshire, published in 1878, Henry Wedgwood describes the interior of the Swan Inn, an old coaching inn which was demolished in the 1840s.
The Swan Inn
“It is wonderful how soon public buildings pass from memory with all their associations, and, may be, usefulness. How completely the Old Swan Inn, Hanley is now buried in the past, and with it the memory of those who used to meet there.
“The old inn was a large building, with strange looking wings and gable ends. It had square built chimneys and gothic windows mullioned by heavy stonework. There were iron palisades at the front of the building and an extensive bowling green at the rear. Its front entrance was covered with a flat canopy supported by stone pillars. Inside there were queer, odd, little rooms with chimney nooks and ancient screens from bygone days. The one large room was used for social functions and town celebrations when speeches were made about King, Country and the Pottery industry.
“One of the back rooms had a large bay window that looked out on to the bowling green. This was the room where Justices of the Peace held their petty sessions (Magistrates’ Court). The court tried summary offences and sent men, women and children who were accused of committing felonies to the Assize Court or Quarter Sessions for trial.”
A SUPERMARINE SEAFIRE
Flown from the decks of aircraft carriers during the Second World War and the Korean War, the Seafire was the Royal Navy’s version of the Spitfire.
Over 2,300 Seafires were produced for the Fleet Air Arm, and in 1943 United States Navy pilot Corky Meyer had the chance to fly one of them.
Describing the aircraft’s performance Corky wrote: “Without argument, the Spitfire/Seafire configuration is probably the most beautiful fighter ever to emerge from a drawing board. Its elliptical wing and long slim fuselage are visually most delightful, and its flight characteristics equal its aerodynamic beauty.
“The Seafire had such delightful upright flying qualities that knowing it had an inverted fuel and oil system, I decided to try inverted figure 8s. They were as easy as pie… I have never enjoyed a flight more. It was clear to see how a few exhausted, hastily trained Battle of Britain pilots flying Spitfires were able to fight off Hitler’s hordes for so long and so successfully.”
He concluded by saying that while the carrier based Wildcat, Hellcat and Corsair fighters were workhorses “the Seafire was a dashing stallion”.
Photograph: Alan Wilson from Stilton, Peterborough, Cambs, UK [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
A TYPICAL MID-20th CENTURY CLASSROOM
Spotlight on Stoke is researching the history of education in Tunstall.
We are hoping to write short posts about all the schools in the town including:
- St. Mary’s
- The Catholic School in Oldcourt Street
- Summerbank Road Schools
- Tunstall High School for Girls
- Brownhills High School
- High Street Schools
- Forster Street Schools
Except for Forster Street, all the schools built in Tunstall during the 19th century have been demolished. Very few photographs of them survive. If you attended any of these schools and would like to share memories of your school days with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Taken from the Romance of Staffordshire (Volume Two” by Henry Wedgwood published in 1878.