Tag Archives: Kidsgrove

Focus on Goldenhill: St. John’s Church

St John's Goldenhill 163488_db9ff3b2At the beginning of 1840, the Rev. Charles Wade, the curate in charge of St. Thomas’s Church in Kidsgrove, launched a public appeal to build a church at Goldenhill, a mining village on the North Staffordshire Coalfield.

Wade asked North Staffordshire’s leading philanthropist, Smith Child, to help him raise money to build the church.

Smith Child agreed to support the project and became chair of the appeal committee. He donated £200 to the building fund and gave £1,000 to endow the living.

Miss Sparrow and her sister, Mrs Moreton, gave the committee a site where Elgood Lane joins High Street to erect a church, build a school and lay out a cemetery. After four months, the committee had raised enough money to start building the church whose foundation stone was laid by Smith Child’s wife, Sarah, on August 3rd, 1840.

Dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, the church was a plain Norman-style brick building. Designed by Shelton architect Thomas Stanley, the church cost £2,000. St. Johns had a square tower that was surmounted by a stone spire. The church, which could accommodate more than 550 worshippers, was consecrated on August 11th, 1841 by James Bowstead, the Bishop of Lichfield.

The church closed in 2014. If you worshipped at St. John’s and have memories of the church which you would like to share with other Spotlight readers, please email us at spotlightstoke@talktalk.net   

Photograph of St. John’s © Copyright Steve Lewin and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 

Focus on Kidsgrove – The Kitcrew Bugget

Brindley's Harecastle Tunnel (Chatterley)

The Rev. Frederick George  Llewellin, who was the Vicar of Kidsgrove from 1922 until his death in 1941, wrote a book “The Lighter Side of a Parson’s Life” about his ministry in the town.

In this edited extract from the chapter which looks at the lives of the boat people who worked on the Trent & Mersey Canal, he tells the story of the Kitcrew Bugget – a ghost that haunts the Brindley Tunnel which runs under Harecastle Hill.

The Kitcrew Bugget 

“Lor, bless yer, lad, don’t yer know? Did yer never hear tell o’ it? Well, gaffer, years ago, in the very middle o’ the tunnel right atween Tunstall on the one side and Kitcrew (Kidsgrove) junction on the other, two men murdered a woman and threw her body inter the tunnel and because it wor a deed o’ violence and her life wor taken from her before it wor asked for, that there ‘oman have never lain quiet.

“But years ago as it wor, she’d appear, sometimes in the form o’ a white horse, sometimes like a female without a head, but whenever her comes, trouble’s sure to foller. Never wor there an accident at the collieries but the Kitcrew Bugget wor sure to come to tell o’ it. Somebody ‘ll die, or be murdered or drowned in the cut (canal) or coal mine when that there ghost appears.”

Edited by Betty Cooper and David Martin

The photograph taken in 2012 shows the Chatterley entrance to the Brindley Tunnel – the home of the Kitcrew Bugget

The Caldon Canal

Springs Bridge

THE CALDON CANAL

A major tourist attraction, the Caldon Canal, which passes through Hanley Park, links The Potteries with Leek and Froghall.

Branching from the Trent and Mersey Canal at Etruria’s Summit Lock, the Caldon Canal was constructed by Scottish civil engineer John Rennie.

John, who designed London Bridge, Southwark Bridge and Waterloo Bridge, was born at Phantassie near Edinburgh on June 7th, 1761. He began his career building flour mills and constructing drainage systems on the Solway Firth. Moving to England, he worked on projects to drain East Anglia’s fens and built roads, bridges and canals, including the Kennet and Avon Canal, the Lancaster Canal and the Rochdale Canal.

Opened in 1779, the Caldon Canal meanders for 17 miles through the Trent and Churnet valleys.

Boats brought coal from Kidsgrove to forges in the Churnet Valley and flint stones to flint mills where they were ground, bake-dried and turned into slop, which the pottery industry used to make earthenware more durable.

The canal terminates at Froghall Wharf, where a tramway had been laid to limestone quarries at Cauldon Lowe.

Between 1779 and 1797  two thousand boats were loaded with 40,000 tons of limestone which was used as a flux to smelt iron ore, to make fertiliser or to build houses, town halls and churches.

Towards the end of the 18th century, the Trent & Mersey Canal Company, which owned the Caldon Canal, decided to build a reservoir at Rudyard and construct branch canals to Leek and Uttoxeter.

The Leek branch opened in 1802 but work stopped on the Uttoxeter branch in 1809 when the company ran out of money. It borrowed £30,000 to complete the branch which opened on September 3rd, 1811 when six or seven boats took the directors and their guests from Uttoxeter to Crump Wood Weir (between Denstone and Alton) for a picnic lunch.

Large wharfs and dry docks were constructed at Uttoxeter where boats were built and repaired.

The branch, which carried coal, copper and brass from Alton, Kingsley and Oakamoor, was not a commercial success. It closed in 1847 The bed was drained and used by engineers constructing the section of the Churnet Valley Railway that ran between Uttoxeter and Froghall.

Like the Uttoxeter branch, the Leek branch was not economically viable although it continued to carry coal until the late 1930s.

Copyright Betty Cooper – The Phoenix Trust 2012