Category Archives: Hanley

Joseph Boot

Wolverhampton's War

Joseph was born in Wolverhampton in 1876, the son of William Edward and Myra Elizabeth Boot. In 1901, he was living with his grandmother in Hanley, Staffordshire, and was working as a furnaceman for an ironworks. He was still in Hanley by 1911, with his widowed mother and brothers Samuel and Harry. He was now a bricklayer.

On 6 November 1915, Joseph enlisted in the North Staffordshire Regiment (number 19293). He was posted to France in July 1916, but was reported missing, and later presumed dead, on 18 November 1916. He is remembered at the Thieval Memorial.

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News from Hanley Park

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Take a walk to the Cauldon Grounds to see the amazing transformation

The first area of the park to be complete is the Cauldon Grounds next to Stoke-on-Trent College. The Hammersley Fountain is working and the flowerbeds are blooming. The gates have been fully restored, the paths replaced, the lodge painted and new benches installed to create a tranquil and beautiful place to sit and contemplate.


Constructing the bandstand

Restoration update

We are now really starting to see the amazing improvements taking place in the park.

 The boathouse is nearing completion with the finishing touches being made to the balcony overlooking the lake and work is due to start soon to raise the path up to the door to allow access for wheelchairs.

The restoration of the terracotta balustrade in the terrace garden overlooking the canal is nearing completion.

 The restored bandstand has returned to the park this week following restoration and is slowing being put back together on site piece by piece.

 After many months, the main pavilion roof covering is finally being put back on, and the foundations are being put in for the new veranda posts to create a lovely outdoor seating area around the building.

Royal Music Hall in the Theatre Royal

Memories of the Theatre Royal Hanley

The Royal Music Hall is opening in the auditorium area of the building that housed the Theatre Royal, Hanley. With a standing capacity of around 900 it plans to feature a wide range of events, including Sankeys club nights, live music from up-and-coming bands and indie student nights

There will be an exhibition of memorabilia from the Theatre Royal at the Royal Music Hall during July.

Royal Music Hall Facebook page

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Spotlight on Hanley: Woolies Buildings

7-9 Upper Market Square, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs ST1 1PY In 1915, World War One did not stop Woolworth expanding and they opened their 55th store on Upper Market Square in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. As with many war-time stores, it had a similar design to Kingston-upon-Thames (Store 43), with an open pediment and a Venetian window. Source: […]

via Hanley – Store 55 — Woolies Buildings – Then and Now

Newcastle and The Potteries in 1750

 

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A SMALL POT BANK WITH A CONE SHAPED KILN

In July 1750, the Rev. Richard Pococke visited Newcastle-under-Lyme and The Potteries.

Richard who kept a journal of his travels described North Staffordshire as an area where pottery manufacturers used local clay to make unglazed earthenware, bricks, tiles water pipes and plant pots. Some manufacturers mixed white pipeclay from Poole in Dorset with calcinated flintstone from Lincolnshire and other places to make salt-glazed stoneware pottery and ornaments.

All the ware made in the district was baked “in kilns built in the shape of a cone” which Richard said gave the area “a pretty appearance”. He went on to say that there were “great numbers” of these kilns in the Pottery villages to the east of Newcastle-under-Lyme.

In this edited extract from his journal, Richard describes Newcastle-under-Lyme and The Potteries as they were in 1750. He wrote:

“Newcastle is a small, well-built market town situated on the slope of a hill overlooking a lake. It has a handsome church and a market hall. Although Newcastle is the capital of the neighbouring Pottery villages, there are only a few potters working in the town.

“I left Newcastle on July 6th went to see the Pottery villages. I rode two miles to Stoke where stoneware is made. On leaving Stoke, I visited Shelton where red chinaware is produced and then went to Hanley were all kinds of pottery are manufactured. I visited Burslem where the best white and other types of pottery are made. The last place I went to was Tunstall. Although all kinds of pottery are made there, Tunstall is famous for making the best bricks and tiles.”

Potteries criminals feared Wright’s Law

Law (Wright)

A barrister whose attempts to pursue a political career in Parliament were unsuccessful, Harold Wright became The Potteries Stipendiary Magistrate in 1893.

A man who sympathised with the victims of domestic violence, Harold was determined to stamp out wife beating and child abuse in the six towns. Drunken men who had attacked their wives could expect no mercy when they appeared before his court. Even first offenders were sent to prison, and the sentences he imposed made him the most feared magistrate in the district.

Unlike the Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrates in London who sat alone, Harold sat with Justices of the Peace.

Sitting in Kidsgrove and The Potteries, his court committed indictable offences for trial to the Assizes or to Quarter Sessions. It heard matrimonial disputes and tried summary offences.

Burslem and Longton, which were boroughs, and Hanley, which was a county borough, had their own Magistrates’ Courts presided over by borough magistrates. The borough Magistrates’ Courts shared jurisdiction with the Stipendiary Magistrate’s Court, and local police decided whether summary cases were tried by borough magistrates or by the stipendiary court. Knowing that Harold would impose more severe sentences than the borough magistrates, the police always prosecuted professional criminals and habitual offenders before his court.

Harold lived at Aston Hall, a mansion near Stone. His hobbies included hunting, fishing, painting and drawing. Under the pseudonym Snuff, he drew caricatures for Vanity Fair and made sketches of the lawyers who argued cases before his court.

A man who liked animals, Harold supported the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He helped to organise Hanley’s Annual Horse Parade and launched a successful campaign against cruelty to animals in The Potteries – an area where every week between 30 and 40 people stood in the dock charged with ill-treating dogs and horses.

Robert Scrivener (1812-1878)

Mechanics InstituteRobert Scrivener, the architect who changed the face of Hanley, was born in Ipswich on March 29th, 1812.

In the late 1840s or early 1850s, Robert and his wife, Elizabeth, came to live in The Potteries. He established a practice in Shelton and quickly became one of North Staffordshire’s leading architects.

Robert and Elizabeth had eight children – four boys and four girls.

The Scriveners were members of the Methodist New Connexion. They worshipped at Bethesda Church in Hanley, where Robert was a Sunday school teacher. He played a major role in church affairs and was made a trustee of Bethesda Girls’ School. In 1856, he designed a new pulpit and a communion rail for the church.

Robert designed the new Mechanics Institution* in Pall Mall whose foundation stone was laid by the mayor, William Brownfield, on October 28th, 1859.

Towards the end of 1859, Robert regenerated Bethesda Church, replacing its old window panes with frosted glass, installing gas lighting and redecorating the interior. He gave the front elevation in Albion Street a Classical façade with Corinthian columns and a Venetian window surmounted by a cornice.

When pottery manufacturer John Ridgway died in December 1860, the Methodist New Connection in The Potteries lost its most generous benefactor. John who owned Cauldon Place Pottery in Shelton worshipped at Bethesda Church. He built a chapel for his employees and gave money to help build churches in Tunstall, Burslem and Fenton.

A radical local politician with progressive views, John refused a knighthood. He became Hanley’s first mayor when it was made a borough in 1857.

The Methodist New Connexion built a chapel to commemorate John’s life. Called the Ridgway Memorial Chapel, it was designed by Robert and erected in Havelock Place, Shelton. A white brick Gothic style building, the chapel cost £2,600. It was 60 feet long by 37 feet wide and had a tower with a spire 61 feet high.

Hanley’s finest building is the town hall in Albion Street. The building, which started life as the Queen’s Hotel, was designed by Robert. It cost over £20,000 and opened on New Year’s Eve, December 31st, 1869.

Built to compete with the North Stafford Hotel, the Queen’s was a modified Italian Renaissance style building with white brick corners and Hollington stone dressings. Too far away from Stoke Station to attract visitors, the Queen’s never made a profit. The hotel closed and the borough council bought the premises for £10,800.

Workmen transformed the Queen’s into a town hall. They converted the commercial room into a council chamber and the smoke room became the town clerk’s office. The dining room became a Magistrates’ Court and the billiard room was made into a police station.

Robert died aged 67 on April 19th, 1878. He was buried in Bethesda churchyard.

*The illustration shows the Mechanics Institution in Pall Mall, Hanley, which has been demolished.

Copyright Betty Cooper – The Phoenix Trust 2013.

Bringing the mail to The Potteries

MailcoachWhen it was established in 1635, the Royal Mail used despatch riders, who were mounted on fast horses, to carry letters between major towns and cities.

Post offices were opened at Stafford, Stone, Leek, Lichfield and Newcastle-under-Lyme, which were on the main post routes from London to Chester, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston and Carlisle.

By 1734, Newcastle’s post office was at the Swan Inn, and everyday post-boys delivered letters to The Potteries and the surrounding villages.

Black, maroon and red painted mail coaches, whose average speed was six or seven miles an hour, replaced despatch riders in 1784. Protected by scarlet-coated guards armed with blunderbusses, pistols and cutlasses, these coaches became familiar sights in Tunstall and Burslem, where the postmaster was the landlord of the Legs of Man Inn.

After the Grand Junction Railway opened in 1837, letters were brought by train to Whitmore and taken by horse-drawn waggon to a central post office at Newcastle for distribution throughout the district.

Mail coaches were phased out, and in 1854 a new central post office was opened at Stoke Station.

Until 1840, when the prepaid penny post was introduced by Rowland Hill, postal charges averaging sixpence a letter were paid by the recipient, not by the sender.

The penny post increased the number of messages sent, and the Post Office developed new services including a special cheap rate “book post”. Towards the end of the 1850s, pillar boxes where letters could be posted were erected in Hanley, Longton and Stoke.

Small sub-post offices were opened at Chell, Kidsgrove, Chesterton, Norton and Wolstanton.

At Silverdale, where Mr J. H. Wrench was the postmaster, the post office in Church Street was open between 9.00am and 8.00pm six days a week. It was closed on Sundays, although there was a telegraph service for two hours in the morning. When the post office was open, letters were delivered twice daily at 7.00am and 5.00pm, and the mail was collected three times a day at 9.45am, 7.00pm and 8.45pm.

Very few post offices were purpose built, and many postmasters had other occupations. Tunstall’s postmaster, Benjamin Griffiths was a watch and clock maker who had a shop in the Market Place (Tower Square). When he retired, newsagent Samuel Adams, who was also the parish registrar and the church clerk, became the postmaster.

Hanley whose population was 32,000 had a small post office in Fountain Square. When the borough council asked the government for a second post office, the Postmaster General said that it was not usual to have two post offices in a village.

Copyright Betty Cooper – The Phoenix Trust 2013

The illustration shows an artist’s impression of a mail coach caught in a thunderstorm.

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

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