Category Archives: Burslem

Spotlight on Burslem – Woolworths

17-19 St John’s Square, Burslem, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire ST6 3AN Woolworths opened in Burslem in September 1929 in a purpose-built two-storey building. According to the book Burslem Through Time by Mervyn Edwards, the first store manager was L.H. Hewitt. This branch of Woolworths stocked a range of locally manufactured china and pottery items. Source: […]

To read more visit Burslem – Store 371 — Woolies Buildings – Then and Now

Spotlight on Crime and Punishment – The Stocks

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On October 6th, 1680, Tunstall Court Leet ordered the High Constable of the Manor of Tunstall to repair the stocks in Burslem within six weeks or pay a penalty of six shillings and eight pence.

From Anglo-Saxon times until the middle of the 19th century, the stocks were used to punish minor offences.

The Stocks were designed to humiliate and degrade petty criminals by putting them on display in a public place where members of the public could impose their own punishments on them.

Stocks were erected on village greens, in market squares and at crossroads. Most were made of wood, although a few were made of iron. Offenders sat on a wooden bench with their ankles placed through holes in moveable boards. How long a person spent in the stocks depended on the gravity of the offence. Some were there for a few hours. Others were put in them for two or three days and fed on bread and water.

In 1350, the Second Statute of Labourers compelled every town and village to erect stocks in a public place.

Having its own set of stocks conferred status on small communities. A settlement that was too small to have a set was regarded as a hamlet and could not call itself a village.

Men and women in the stocks were a source of entertainment for the crowds that flocked to see them punished.

Members of the public could whip offenders until their backs were bloody and throw stones, broken pottery, dead dogs and cats, rotten fruit, bad eggs, mud and excrement at them.

Dishonest shopkeepers, innkeepers and market traders were put in the stocks.

Housewives poured the contents of chamber pots over the heads of traders who had given them “short weight.” Butchers who had sold rotten beef, lamb, pork or poultry had maggot-infested meat placed at their feet. Fishmongers who sold fish that had passed its sell-by date sat in the stocks with stinking fish hung around their necks. Customers who had been sold watered down beer by innkeepers and alewives poured jugs of stale ale over them.

Towards the end of the middle ages gangs of rogues and vagabonds made their way from town to town begging, robbing and stealing everywhere they went. To deal with these rogues and vagabonds the government brought in new laws with draconian penalties for those who infringed them.

In 1388 an Act of Parliament (12 Rich. 2) was passed making it illegal for labourers to give up their jobs and leave the hundred where they lived without the King’s permission. The statute gave borough mayors, manor stewards and town constables authority to put labourers who had run away from their employers in the stocks until they found sureties who guaranteed that they would go home and return to work.

A statute, passed during the reign of Henry VII, allowed constables to place vagrants in the stocks.

Passed in1494, the Vagabonds and Beggars Act gave the courts power to put “vagabonds, idle and suspected persons” in the stocks for three days and three nights

Under the provisions of a statute (22 Hen 8, c. 12) passed in 1530, magistrates could give “the impotent poor” permission to beg at specified places in the town or village where they lived. If they were found begging anywhere else, they were put in the stocks for two days and nights.

During 1605 a new law made the punishment for getting drunk six hours in the stocks and the penalty for being a drunkard four hours in the stocks or a fine of three shillings. Shortly afterwards, Parliament made the punishment for swearing one hour in the stocks or a fine of one shilling.

Spotlight on Burslem – Molly Leigh

A poem dedicated to Molly Leigh: 

There dwelt as persons now alive depose,

Though death must soon their testimony close,

A maiden woman, born of gen’rous race,

But like a fury both in mind and face.

When at school instead of learning truth,

A wizard tutor practis’d on her youth;

Vile gains by arts unholy she acquired,

For none did dare withhold what she desired.

Her neighbours of her spells all stood in awe,

And made her every wish their bounden law;

Thus liv’d the creature, whether fiend or woman,

Till death in clemency saw fit to summon.

So when the Christian rites were duly paid,

The body in the churchyard pit was laid;

And back the cheerful mourners hied, intent

To share the feast bespoke before they went.

But who can the dire consternation paint,

Which seized the party, and made all grow faint;

For as the threshold door they pass’d,

Her apparition struck them quite aghast.

She whom but now to the calm grave they took,

Returned before them to the chimney nook;

All ghastly pale, but unconcerned was sitting,

Employed in her accustomed task of knitting.

Spotlight found this poem about Molly Leigh, the “Burslem Witch”, in Romance of Staffordshire by Henry Wedgwood published in 1877.

Spotlight on The Potteries: Wedgwood and Women by Sophie Guiny

Catherine II Empress-of-Russia

Cathrine II Empress of Russia

In May 1759, 260 years ago this month, 29-year old Josiah Wedgwood founded his own pottery works.

Born in a family of potters in Burslem, Staffordshire, young Josiah was struck by smallpox and the resulting damage to his leg (which would eventually be amputated) left him unable to operate a potter’s wheel.

He turned his attention to design and experimentation with new clays and glazes, improving on known techniques and creating new styles and ceramics bodies, including the now iconic jasperware, which Wedgwood perfected around 1775. In both pursuits, women, including Cathrine II the Empress of Russia, played a critical role as patrons, artists and factory workers.

To read more visit: Artists, Workers and Tastemakers: Wedgwood and Women – a guest post by Sophie Guiny – All Things Georgian

Free Publicity For Local History Societies’ Activities

Did you know that our website has a Diary Date section which local history societies can use to publicise their activities?

All you have to do to gain widespread publicity for your event throughout North Staffordshire and The Potteries is email us at daymar727@talktalk.net and tell us about the event three weeks before it takes place.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about Diary Date and how it can help you to let more people about your activities and events.

Free Publicity For Your Group’s Activities

Did you know that our website has a Diary Date section which organisers of cultural activities and community groups can use to publicise their activities?

All you have to do to gain widespread publicity for your event throughout North Staffordshire and The Potteries is email us at daymar727@talktalk.net and tell us about the event three weeks before it takes place.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about Diary Date and how it can help you to let more people about your activities and events.

Can you help Simon to trace the Cartlidge family?

SIMON LAST WRITES that the back of an old photograph (shown above) of a group of people provides many clues as to who they were.

Simon goes on to say: “When I turned the photograph over, the back was covered with handwritten names and signatures!

“The photograph was taken by A & L Slingsby at Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria.

“Scanning the names I could see that the surname CARTLIDGE appeared several times.

“I found a 1911 census record, for a CARTLIDGE family living at 80 High Lane, Burslem, Stoke on Trent, whose names fitted with those on the back of the photograph.

“They were James CARTLIDGE aged 38, a Lithographic Artist, who was married to Edith aged 33.  The couple had been married for ten years and their children were Reginald James aged 8, Wilfred George aged 4 and Edith May aged 2. If this is the Cartlidge family shown on the photograph, it is possible that the photograph was taken in the 1930s.

“James CARTLIDGE married Edith Emily SIMPSON in the April quarter of 1901 in the Stoke on Trent Registration District.

“James CARTLIDGE died in the December quarter of 1947 aged 74 and Edith Emily CARTLIDGE died on the 11th June 1949 aged 71.

“The 1939 World War 2 Register shows that their son Reginald James CARTLIDGE was born on 28th August 1902. He was a Colliery Manager. Their daughter Edith May CARTLIDGE was born on 19th October 1908. She was an Infants’ School Teacher.

“I wonder what the occasion was when this fascinating photograph was taken and why the CARTLIDGE family were there? If anyone has a link with the CARTLIDGE family and can identify anyone in the photograph I should like to hear from you.”

If you can help Simon to trace the Cartlidge family please contact him at charnwoodresearch@virginmedia.com

NewsDesk: £300,000 Facelift For Dimensions

Stoke-on-Trent City Council plans to give Dimensions, which is one of the city’s largest leisure centres, a £300,000 facelift.

The major upgrade will give the centre in Scotia Road, Burslem a new gymnasium.

Work on the project will start in April. When the new gymnasium opens, the existing gymnasium will be turned into an exercise studio.

Councillor Anthony Munday, the cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, is reported as saying:

“This project is a positive investment in our leisure services which will improve what we can offer to our residents. The changes reflect our commitment to improving health and wellbeing for a wide range of age groups. We want to encourage more people to become active, and I’m sure these improvements will play an important part in doing that.”

 

NewsDesk – Burslem has become a ghost town

According to research by the Local Data Company, a third of the shops in Burslem’s run-down town centre are unoccupied.

Shops and banks have moved out. Nothing has come in to replace them.

Some shops have been empty for over five years, and one resident claims that there isn’t even a greengrocer’s shop where a customer can buy an apple. Very few people shop in Burslem. The town has nothing to offer them.

Many buildings in Market Place and Queen Street are abandoned and derelict. Their windows are broken. Willowherb and buddleias grow out of the guttering and weeds of all kinds have made their home in cracks in the brickwork.

June Cartwright the founder of Our Burslem, a group campaigning to regenerate Burslem, is trying to persuade Stoke-on-Trent City Council to open a street market which she believes will ease the town’s reliance on traditional high street shops.

Burslem is not the only town in The Potteries which has been abandoned by both shopkeepers and customers. Although Longton seems relatively busy, very few people shop in Fenton and Stoke which, like Burslem, have become ghost towns.

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