Category Archives: Staffordshire

Spotlight on Stafford: Memories of a Volunteer at St. George’s Hospital

Staffordshire's Asylums

By Vicky Wood

St. George’s Hospital c.1975 (staffspasttrack.org.uk)

In the early 1980s, I became a volunteer at St. Georges Hospital, which had started life as the County Asylum. So, every Wednesday morning, Hilda and I would set off round the hospital with our laden trolley, which was loaded with sweets and chocolates, as well as other small items, to see what the morning would bring. The patient population was fairly static so we soon got to know our regular customers. 

There were many more women patients than men in a population of almost 1,000. This was, according to staff, because in the past, women suffering from post-natal depression were often placed in the hospital and in some cases, never left. A number of patients were attached to objects which reminded them of their children, and one I remember in particular lived in a world of fantasy where they had never…

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STAFFORDSHIRE’S HISTORIC CHURCHES: NEWS – Autumn 2019

Staffordshire Historic Churches

Welcome to our Autumn posting. Here we have some news-items which will be of interest to anyone who supports the preservation & heritage of Staffordshire’s historic churches.
To be alerted to more posts from us, click ‘Get Updates From This Site’ on the right hand side of this page.
You can also join our Facebook page for more topical items.

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Prince Charles’ support
The Norman alabaster archway at St Mary’s Priory Church in Tutbury in East Staffordshire was in dire need of repair, and a campaign was mounted to secure funding of £80,000 to complete the project – which was concluded over the summer. The Staffordshire Historic Churches Trust was able to make a donation out of its funds, as well as a number of other organisations.
No less a personage than Prince Charles himself also backed this campaign. See: full story.

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Rarely used elaborate church
The

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Spotlight on Stone: Family History Guide

Stone is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Staffordshire. Other places in the parish include: Normacot, Moddershall, Meaford, Kibblestone with Oulton, Kibbleston, Little Acton, Darlaston, Burston, Blurton, Beech, Walton, Tittensor, Stoke, Stallington, Oulton, and Normacott. Parish church: Parish registers begin: Parish registers: 1568 Bishop’s Transcripts: 1668 Nonconformists include: Church of […]

Stone Staffordshire Family History Guide — Parishmouse

Daily Routine of a Patient, Part One — Staffordshire’s Asylums

The experience of patients in an asylum differed from individual to individual. Daily routine, however, was essential to keep the asylum running and for patients to know what was expected of them. Different groups of patients had different routines, usually determined by their mental and physical condition and their age and sex. By the late […]

Daily Routine of a Patient, Part One — Staffordshire’s Asylums

Daily Routine of a Patient, Part Two — Staffordshire’s Asylums

The day of a late Victorian asylum patient continued as a working day until lunchtime, which was the main interruption for most patients, and was served around 12-1 o’clock. It was the main meal of the day, and usually consisted of bread, potatoes, meat and vegetables. A fairly bland diet was considered suitable for patients, […]

Daily Routine of a Patient, Part Two — Staffordshire’s Asylums

Are heritage railways coming to the end of the line?

The dwindling supply of British coal may force many heritage railways to close. Stocks are low and will run out in two years.

An all-party Parliamentary group on heritage rail blames the government. It says government plans to invest in alternative fuels and ban traditional coal-fired power stations will make coal mining in the UK uneconomic.

Most of Britain’s 158 heritage railways are run by volunteers. Many railways can’t afford to buy foreign coal and will be forced to close.

Heritage railways are a vital part of Britain’s tourism industry. They attract about 13million visitors a year and bring in an income of more than £400million.

Spotlight on Biddulph Grange – Orchids, Ferns, Fossils and the Great Flood

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Biddulph Grange

We often hear that grand gardens cost money: it’s as true as the old cliché which says “money talks.” But there is a world of difference between a grand garden and a great one. Great gardens develop when that money meets vision, enthusiasm, knowledge – and a gardener. In the garden I’m going to talk about […]

To read more visit Orchids, Ferns, Fossils and the Great Flood — The Gardens Trust

Trentham Hall could have been Staffordshire’s first University

Trentham Hall

TRENTHAM HALL

Not many students and staff who attend Staffordshire University’s award ceremonies on the Trentham Estate know that Trentham Hall could have been home to a leading Russell Group university like Manchester or Birmingham.

On February 12th, 1890, Francis Elliot Kitchener, the headmaster of Newcastle High School, attended the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner at the North Stafford Hotel.

While proposing the toast to “the staple trades of Staffordshire”, he suggested establishing a University College in Hanley which specialised in chemistry and engineering. Both the Sentinel and Thomas Turner (Staffordshire County Council’s director of technical education) supported the idea.

However, nothing was done until 1900 when a Council for the Extension of Higher Education in North Staffordshire was set up to help finance Oxford University’s Extension Courses in the district.

Taking up Kitchener’s idea, the council launched a public appeal to build a North Staffordshire College in The Potteries.

The proposed college, which would have had University status, was going to run full and part-time degree courses, train teachers and provide vocational training for men and women working in industry and commerce.

Although the estimated cost of the college was £20,000, there was widespread support for the project.

By the end of 1904 pottery manufacturers, colliery owners, professional bodies and local town councils had promised to give between £10,000 and £11,000 towards the cost.

Staffordshire County Council offered to give £12,500 if matching funding could be raised. The Council for the Extension of Higher Education in North Staffordshire made plans to launch a final appeal. Before it could be launched, the Duke of Sutherland stepped in and offered to give Trentham Hall to the county council if it agreed to establish the college there.

Believing it had achieved its objective, the Council for the Extension of Higher Education disbanded, and the county council made plans to transform the hall into a regional college.

While these plans were being made, a campaign to reform local government in The Potteries by replacing its six local authorities with a county borough council was gaining momentum.

Realising change was inevitable and that responsibility for education would be taken from it and given to the new county borough, Staffordshire County Council withdrew its support for the North Staffordshire College.

Hanley, which was already a county borough, refused to take over the project and the county council erected temporary buildings to house a mining school and a pottery school on land near Stoke Station.

At the end of the First World War, another attempt to give North Staffordshire a University College failed.

The mining school and the pottery school became the Central School of Science and Technology, one of the technical schools in The Potteries from which Staffordshire University can trace its descent.

Focus on Kidsgrove: St. Saviour’s the heritage church demolished by the Church of England

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ST. SAVIOUR’S THE HISTORIC “TIN CHURCH” IN THE ROOKERY WHICH WAS DEMOLISHED BY THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND IN 2013

St. Saviour’s the historic tin church in The Rookery, near Kidsgrove, was demolished by the Church of England in 2013. Spotlight on Stoke has been asked to re-post the articles that our historical geographer Betty Cooper wrote about the church before it was demolished.

Spotlight has agreed to re-post Betty’s articles which will be posted on this site in March.

Betty Cooper and David Martin agree with the comments made by the Phoenix Trust when it heard that St. Saviour’s was going to be demolished. The Phoenix Trust said it was:

“A miners’ church, built by miners for miners, which helped to bring Christianity to an industrial village on the North Staffordshire Coalfield.

“One of the oldest tin churches in the world, its unique character and atmosphere were destroyed when the interior, shown in the photograph, was gutted.

“When St. Saviour’s is demolished North Staffordshire will lose a major heritage asset.

“An asset that could have been used to help create a heritage based tourist industry which would bring millions of pounds into our region and help to regenerate it.”

Photograph Copyright David Martin