Category Archives: Stoke

Spotlight on Stoke – The Penkhull Wassail 

Christine Mallaband-Brown posted an account of The Penkhull Wassail on her website.

She tells us that:

“There are not many places in Britain where you can wander round with flaming torches (but no pitchforks). But today we did just that round Penkhull Village. From Penkhull village hall we…”

To read more about the Penkhull Wassail visit Penkhull Wassail – Art by Christine Mallaband-Brown

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.

Festival Stoke’s Werburgh Project visits The Potteries Museum

A new project for Festival Stoke in 2019

Things That Matter Most: Breakfast Cups

Francis Pryor - In the Long Run

A few years ago we made a Time Team film in an 1870s railway navvy camp high in the Yorkshire Dales, on the Settle-Carlisle railway. Navvies, like archaeologists, were known for their boozy lifestyle and we fully expected to find massive evidence for drinking. And we did! There were trayfuls of sherds, but they weren’t glass. No, they were mostly pieces of blue-on-white china, usually from teacups and saucers. Tea, it would appear, was the hard-bitten navvies’ tipple of choice. And I have to confess that as I get older I find tea and coffee are getting more and more inviting. Which is why I’m writing this rather unusual, for me, blog post. Time for another memory.

Sometime in the mid-1990s I went with English Heritage (now Historic England) on a trip to Stoke-on-Trent to look round a rare working pottery. During the late 20th century many manufacturers…

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Spode site progress?

Mallaband-Brown

Spode site in Stoke is continuing to change,  the area up by the new hotel and visitor centre remain the same and work is almost completed on the hotel itself which is housed in one of the old Spode buildings.

Half of the site has been sold to a developer, this is the side closest to the A500 road. You can see the civic centre in Stoke across the cleared land.

The other half which is nearest stoke town centre will soon have more (larger) units for artists and creative’s to rent from Acava and the City council. The China halls that have been used for putting on the British Ceramic Biennial and also performances of plays, is still there but some of the more modern ancillary buildings have been demolished. As a studio holder its a strange experience walking through the site. It’s a bit of an excuse not…

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Newcastle and The Potteries in 1750

 

17th-century-pottery-e1523612338894.jpg

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.”

Focus on Stoke: My new sewing studio

Earlier in the summer I had the opportunity to move from my lovely studio 27 at ACAVA Studios: Spode Works to a bigger space (2.5 times as big!) in the same Studio complex. Although it’s a scary prospect (2.5 times bigger means 2.5 times the rent!) I feel increasingly sure that I want to focus on […]

(First posted on August 1st, 2017)

To read the full post visit Introducing my new sewing studio — Very Berry Handmade

Stoke Station – The Train Leaving Platform One

Having a sketch book means waiting for anything is a pleasure, especially somewhere like Stoke Station where there are plenty of subjects to draw. This letterbox on Platform One caught my eye, marked with the initials GR, for George VI (reigned 1936 to 1952). The evening sunlight was pouring all over it and it was […]

(First posted June 6th, 2017)

To read the full post visit Train leaving Platform One — Drawing the Street

The first passenger train from Stoke

Stone Station

Isolated from the main railway network that was constructed in the 1830s, North Staffordshire’s pottery industry had to rely on canals for raw materials and to distribute its products.

During 1835, leading industrialists made plans to build a railway linking The Potteries to the national network.

These plans were forgotten when North Staffordshire was hit by a recession. Factories and mines closed. There were strikes and lockouts culminating in the Chartist Riots and the Battle of Burslem in 1842.

Two years later, pottery manufacturer William Copeland, who was a Member of Parliament, called a series of meetings to discuss building railway links to Manchester, Liverpool and Birkenhead.

The North Staffordshire Railway Company was formed to construct the Churnet Valley Line and lines running from Macclesfield and Crewe through The Potteries to Norton Bridge, Colwich and Burton-on-Trent.

The company’s first line ran from Stoke to Norton Bridge. Opened for goods traffic on April 3rd, 1848, the line started carrying passengers shortly afterwards.

Between 7.30am and 8.00am on Monday, April 17th about 80 people made their way, by carriage and horse-drawn omnibus, to the 18th-century mansion in Fenton built by Thomas Whieldon which had been turned into a temporary railway station.

They entered the building and bought tickets to travel on the first passenger train from Stoke-on-Trent to Norton Bridge which stopped at Trentham and Stone.

Just before 8.00am, a bell rang. The passengers got on the train. The engine driver blew the locomotive’s whistle. He opened the throttle. Clouds of steam engulfed the platform. Smoke poured out of the locomotive’s funnel and the train began to move slowly. It quickly gathered speed and was soon travelling at 25 miles an hour, terrifying cattle and sheep grazing in trackside pastures.

A temporary station had been built at Stone, where the train stopped for several minutes enabling passengers to get out and view the construction work taking place there. They saw men constructing a line from Stone to the Trent Valley Railway’s mainline at Colwich that would provide a direct route for express trains running between Stoke and London. At the junction, where the Colwich line joined the Norton Bridge line, an Elizabethan style station, with corn and cheese warehouses, coal yards and cattle pens, was being built.

A bell rang and the passengers rejoined the train. The train left Stone and arrived at Norton Bridge just half an hour after it had left Fenton. Passengers got off and caught a mail train that took them to Stafford which they reached before 9.00am.

Copyright Betty Cooper – The Phoenix Trust 2012

Photograph © Copyright Maurice Pullin and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

PH/BC

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