Category Archives: History and Heritage

Stoke on Trent & The Potteries | Where to visit

A Life Well Travelled

The city of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire became the centre of ceramic production during the 17th century. Due to the availability of clay and other required materials, large numbers of potteries opened up in the area and started producing high quality ceramic wear that was exported all over the world.

There are a number of potteries to visit, some showcasing modern working factories, others offering historical tours and traditional methods, and a number of others allowing you to get stuck in and learn about ceramics whilst creating your own. All equally have their charms but depending on your taste, here are some recommendations.

For Instagrammers – World of Wedgwood

Wedgwood is an iconic English brand. Able to count Royal Families and celebrities as fans, Wedgwood has stood the test of time with over 250 years of history. World of Wedgwood allows the visitor to learn about the craft and the story of…

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Diary Date – Longton Heritage Walk

Longton Heritage Walk – Friday 7th September

Join Jane Corfield and Jon Goodwin of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Heritage Team for a walking tour of Longton Conservation Area on Friday, 7th September.

The tour will take in the key elements of the conservation area and outline its history and development.

Participants will also have the opportunity to visit the Phoenix Works and CoRE facility to see first-hand the results of heritage-led regeneration. The tour starts from the Gladstone Pottery Museum Shop at 2.00pm. This event is free. Call 01782 237777 to book your place.

Diary Date: Brown Betty Teapot Exhibition

Brown Betty Teapots

HAVE A CUP OF TEA AT THE BROWN BETTY TEAPOT EXHIBITION

You are welcome to come and have a cup of tea at the Brown Betty Teapot exhibition between 12noon and 2.00pm on Thursday, 30th August at Cherished Chimneys, 34 Station Street, Longport, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4NA

The exhibition introduces visitors to Brown Betty Teapots which “have the perfect pour”.

They will learn about the factories where Brown Betty Teapots were made and enjoy drinking a cup of loose leaf tea like Grandma used to make.

Admission Free

Diary Date: Little Longton Bottle Oven Bus Tour

Bottle Oven (Longton)

ONE OF LONGTON’S REMAINING BOTTLE OVENS

On Saturday, 25 August the Gladstone Pottery Museum is running the Little Longton Bottle Oven Bus Tour.

The tour through the town on a 1978 PMT double-decker bus is part of the museum’s Festival of Bottle Ovens.

Passengers on the bus will be taken to see most of the remaining bottle ovens in Longton and other historic buildings in the town.

Tours start at the Gladstone Pottery Museum and passengers can join the bus at 10.30am, 12noon, 2.00pm and 3.30pm. The tours are free although there will be a conductor on board who will act as your tour guide and introduce you to Longton’s heritage.

Pottering in the Potteries

Yūgen

When writing my travel recommendations, I also wanted to shine some light on my local area of Staffordshire Moorlands, Stoke-on-Trent and the beautiful Peak District which can often be overlooked. So without further ado, let’s start with my favourite places in the city of Stoke-on-Trent!

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Stoke-on-Trent (known as ‘The Potteries’) is rooted in creative history and craftsmanship. Made up of six towns, Stoke-on-Trent is known for its production of ceramics, and particularly its quality and beauty of fine bone china and earthenware pottery.

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My favourite spot without a doubt is Middleport Pottery, located in the town of Burslem. With its picturesque buildings set next to the canal with passing barges, it really is a beautiful spot and one I always take our friends to.

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Walking through the entrance leads you into a beautiful shop selling Burleigh pottery where you can also buy tickets for the factory tour. You are able…

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Tv nostalgia. — Art by Christine Mallaband-Brown

old fashioned tv

Writing about toys from the 1960’s made me remember the TV from then and the following decades. I realised that young people would not have a clue about old fashioned tv, how expensive TV sets were, how rare they were, how big they were…. I remember us getting a tv, but I could not remember […]

To read more visit  Tv nostalgia. — Art by Christine Mallaband-Brown

A BOOK ABOUT TUNSTALL MARKET

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TUNSTALL INDOOR MARKET CELEBRATES ITS 160th ANNIVERSARY THIS YEAR

Tunstall’s indoor market was opened in 1858. To celebrate the 160th anniversary of its openning, historical geographer, Betty Cooper and international heritage lawyer, David Martin are writing a book about the market which is being published later this year.

HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION

Tunstall’s historic Market Hall is one of the few remaining Victorian covered markets in the country.

The covered market cost £7,651 13s 1d. It was designed by Wolverhampton based architect George Thomas Robinson, who created Burslem’s old town hall. The market hall was opened by the chief bailiff, Thomas Peake on the 2 December 1858. Trading commenced there on the 4 December 1858 and customers could buy meat and fish, poultry and game, fruit and vegetables, groceries and dairy produce, clothing and manufactured goods.

In the early 1880s, one-third of the covered market, including its main entrance in High Street, was demolished to make way for a new town hall.

Built in the free Renaissance style, the town hall was designed by North Staffordshire’s leading architect, Absalom Reade Wood.

While the town hall was being constructed, Wood regenerated the remaining part of the market hall giving it a new glazed roof. New stalls were erected. The floor was relaid and the building was redecorated. Tunstall’s chief bailiff, John Nash Peake, opened the new town hall on the 29 October 1885. To celebrate its opening, a luncheon was held in the town hall. Afterwards, the band of the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards and the members of Burslem Prize Choir gave a Promenade Concert in the covered market. In the evening a football match took place in Phoenix Park and the day ended with a grand ball in the market hall.

BETTY AND DAVID NEED YOUR HELP

Many people who shop in the market today must remember the covered market before it closed for regeneration in the 1990s and the temporary market hall that was erected in Woodland Street.

If you were a child in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, your mother could have taken you to the market on Saturdays when she did the weekend shopping. You may even have had a part-time job working on one of the stalls when you were at school or college.

If you have memories or photographs of the market which you would like to share with Betty and David please contact them via Leave A Reply (below) or email them at daymar727@talktalk.net

Life was hard for Kidsgrove’s miners

A GIRL PUTTERDuring the first half of the 19th century, the life of coal miners was hard. Wages were low. Men, women and children worked long hours in semi-darkness. The work was dangerous. Accidents were frequent. Human life was cheap, and colliery owners put profits before safety.

Half naked men and women worked together at the coalface mining coal and putting it into wagons. Young children were employed to open air doors on roadways leading from the coalface to the bottom of the mine shaft.  They sat alone in the darkness and opened these doors for boys and girls who were harnessed to the wagons which they pulled along the roadway.

In the early 1840s, Samuel Scriven who was preparing a report on child labour for the government visited Kidsgrove. He interviewed several coal miners employed by colliery owner Thomas Kinnersley who lived in luxury at Clough Hall.

One of the miners, 17 years old John Vickers said:

“I have been to work for about four years; first worked at a farm for about four years. My business is to attend at the pit’s mouth and haul away the coals that come up from Delph. I get 11 shillings (55p) a week for wages; mother gets it from me; I get it from the charter master. We work by the ton; I get paid at the public-house. I went to day school for a few months before I worked at the farm; I cannot read or write; I go to church pretty regularly. I come to work at six in the morning and go home about six {in the evening}. I am too tired after work to go to school in the evening; I would rather go if I could; but as I said before, I am always too tired. My father is dead. My mother keeps a child’s’ school. I have three sisters; two of them work in the silk factories at Congleton; the eldest is 18 years; she has 5s 6d (27.5p) a week; the other is 14; she has 3s 6d (17.5p) a week; the youngest goes to the National Day School at Mr Wade’s.  I get my breakfast before I come to work and bring my second breakfast with me; I go to dinner at twelve and have ‘tatees’ and bacon. I always take my hour for dinner and get my breakfast how I can. I never do any night work.”

Tunstall – An Anglo Saxon Village

Anglo-Saxon Village

An Artist’s Impression of an Anglo-Saxon Settlement

Tunstall is one of the oldest towns in The Potteries.

The town’s “Old English” name indicates that it dates from the late 6th or the early 7th century.

“Old English” place names are descriptive. They describe the settlement and tell us the main occupation of the people who lived there. The word “Tun” means an enclosed farmstead, hamlet or village, and “Stall” is derived from the “Old English” word “Steall” which means a place with pens or sheds where cattle were kept for fattening.

Anglo-Saxon Tunstall was built on a sandstone ridge overlooking the Chatterley Valley near the spot where Green Lane (Oldcourt Street and America Street) crossed the old drove road (Roundwell Street) from the Staffordshire Moorlands to Chester. Green Lane which ran from Leicester to Warrington was an important highway that linked the East Midlands with Merseyside. All traces of Anglo-Saxon Tunstall have disappeared although historians believe it was an enclosed settlement protected by a ditch and a wooden palisade.

Two old field names, Gods Croft and Church Field, which survived until the 19th century, support the local tradition that there was a church in Tunstall many centuries before the Wesleyan Methodists erected a church in America Street. Another old field named Cross Croft near where Madison Street joins America Street indicates that there could have been a wayside cross where markets were held. Calver Street, which runs between Forster Street and Oldcourt Street, takes its name from Calver Croft a place where there were cattle pens for calves born on the journey from the Staffordshire Moorlands to Chester.

Towards the end of the 11th or the beginning of the 12th century, Tunstall became part of Staffordshire’s New Forest.

Today when we think of a forest, we picture a place covered by trees. In medieval times a forest was a large tract of land where the King and his friends hunted for deer and other beasts of the field.

Staffordshire’s New Forest, which extended from Tixall in the south to Mow Cop in the north, may have been founded by William the Conqueror. The forest was not an area of continuous woodland. It was the King’s hunting ground which included:

  • woods and grassland
  • hills and moorland
  • towns, villages and hamlets
  • farmland, open fields and rough pasture.

The forest had its own laws designed to protect the beasts of the field and the vegetation they ate. Offenders against Forest Laws were brought before special courts. The penalties imposed by these courts were brutal and savage. For killing a beast of the field, a poacher could be sent to the gallows, have his eyes torn out or have his hand cut off.

Art Deco Workshop at Gladstone

An art deco workshop that looks at the art deco style of painting used by pottery designers Susie Cooper and Clarice Cliff is taking place at the Gladstone Pottery Museum on Saturday, July 14th.

The event, which costs £12 per person, starts at 11am and ends at 12.30pm. To book your place, telephone 01782 237777. Persons attending will be able to paint their own decorative plate and take it home.

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