Tag Archives: Newcastle-under-Lyme

Making a difference in Plymouth, Newcastle Under Lyme and Bradford

This next couple of blog posts are some very early musings on the current relationship between towns and cities and highlights some learning and thinking I’ve been doing about this. As an adult I’ve always lived in big cities (Sheffield, Leeds and now Manchester – sometimes considered the Core Cities ). But increasingly I’ve become interested […]

via Making a difference in Plymouth, Newcastle Under Lyme, Bradford — Waymarking The Sketchbook

The World Beyond My Doorstep – Vinci Jenssen

In retrospect, my time at university has given me incredible opportunities for discovery. Living off campus in my second year, I have been able to truly experience the delights of moving somewhere and discovering the beauty surrounding my new everyday life and commute – with the help of sunshine of course. The quiet town of […]

via 004: The World Beyond My Doorstep — Vinci Jenssen

Tunstall in the 1820s

In his book, the “History of the Staffordshire Potteries” published in 1829, Simeon Shaw describes Tunstall as it was in the 1820s.

In this edited* extract from the book Simeon writes:

“Tunstall is pleasantly situated on a declivity of considerable eminence, allowing most of it to be seen (at a distance of two miles) from the new turnpike road from Lawton to Newcastle-under-Lyme.

“The town is about four miles away from Newcastle-under-Lyme. It is on the high-road from Bosley to Newcastle and on the road from Burslem to Lawton.

“Tunstall is the chief liberty in the Parish of Wolstanton.

“There are many respectable tradespeople in the town, whose pottery manufacturers are both talented and opulent.

“Pottery manufacturers John Meir, Thomas Goodfellow and Ralph Hall have elegant mansions adjacent to large factories. It may be justly stated that Ralph Hall’s modesty and unaffected piety are exceeded only by his philanthropy.

“Other pottery manufacturers include S & J Rathbone, Breeze & Co and Burrows & Co.

“Smith Child has recently established a large chemical works at Clay Hills. The works overlook the Chatterley Valley where high-quality blue tiles, floor quarries and bricks are made.

“All three branches of Methodism have Chapels and Sunday Schools in Tunstall. These Chapels, which have libraries attached to them, promote the moral improvement of the people. The town possesses a very respectable Literary Society that is unassuming in character but assiduous in research.”

*Edited by David Martin (June 2018)

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.”

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.

Newcastle-under-Lyme’s Terracotta Trail

Last summer, I sketched a Victorian building in Newcastle-under-Lyme. This was a fine example with plenty of details , especially the terracotta tiles. Terracotta means ‘fired earth’ -and describes a form of moulded clay masonry of a finer quality than standard bricks. Sketching the building as a whole meant losing some of the finer details […]

(Posted December 7th, 2016)

To read the full post visit Terracotta Trail — Drawing the Street

Alexander Scrivener (1852-1921)

Albert Square - Fenton

Albert Square, Fenton

Alexander Scrivener, the architect who designed Fenton town hall, was born in Shelton on April 19th, 1852.

His father, Robert, and his elder brother, Edward, were architects. During 1868, Robert and Edward went into partnership and formed Robert Scrivener and Son whose offices were in Howard Place, Shelton. The firm designed the Mechanics Institution in Pall Mall and the Queen’s Hotel in Albion Street which later became Hanley Town Hall.

Alexander was educated at Hanley Art School. He became an architect and joined the firm. When their father died in 1878, Edward and Alexander acquired the practice.

Alexander married Anne Twyford. They had five children. The family lived in Endon where they worshipped at the parish church.

Alexander’s hobbies were music and archaeology. He conducted the Endon Choral Society and was choirmaster at the parish church.

A member of the North Staffordshire Field Club, he took part in archaeological digs and led field trips to historic buildings. The club made him its president for the year 1895-96. He undertook historical research and wrote articles for its journal.  In 1904, the Field Club awarded him the Garner Medal for services to archaeology and made him its president again a year later. During 1914, he excavated Castle Hill, at Audley proving conclusively that the de Audley family had built a castle there in the Middle Ages.

Politically, the Scriveners were Conservatives. They designed Hanley’s Conservative Club in Trinity Street which opened on February 25th, 1878.

Edward and Alexander were astute businessmen who used their professional skill and expertise to make Robert Scrivener and Son the area’s leading architects.

Sanitary ware manufacturer, Thomas Twyford employed the firm to design his Cliffe Vale factory. The practice built churches and schools throughout The Potteries and designed The Sentinel’s office in Foundry Street, Hanley. It designed numerous buildings in the town including the Roman Catholic Church in Jasper Street, the Higher Grade Elementary School, the Freemasons Hall in Cheapside and the telephone exchange in Marsh Street.

The buildings in Fenton which the firm designed included Queen Street Board Schools, the Cemetery Chapels and the Temperance Coffee Tavern in City Road. It built shops and offices in Christchurch Street, laid out Albert Square and designed the town hall.

Alexander designed St. Paul’s Church in Victoria Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme whose foundation Stone was laid by Sir Lovelace Stamer, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, on June 15th, 1905. Edward died while the church was being constructed and Alexander became the senior partner in the firm.

Consecrated by the Bishop of Lichfield in 1908, St. Paul’s was built of stone. A perpendicular style building, the church cost almost £700. The building, which could accommodate over 500 worshippers, had an octagonal spire. It had central heating and was lit by gas lights.

Alexander remained in practice until his death. Taken ill suddenly, he died aged 69 on December 17th, 1921 and was buried in Endon churchyard.

Copyright Betty Cooper – The Phoenix Trust 2013

Stoke-on-Trent’s First Art Schools

Great Exhibition Crystal_Palace_interior (640x436)

Stoke-on-Trent’s first art school, The Potteries School of Design, was opened on January 25th, 1847. It held evening classes in Hanley, Stoke and Longton. Students were taught elementary drawing, basic design, freehand painting and modelling.

The school’s first headmaster, John Murdock, and his successor, John Charles Robinson, made it a centre of excellence. Students won national prizes and were awarded scholarships enabling them to continue their studies at the Government School of Design in London.

During 1851, pottery designed by students from North Staffordshire was exhibited at the Great Exhibition, held at the Crystal Palace* in Hyde Park. Their designs impressed Prince Albert who had helped to organise the exhibition. He persuaded the government to devise a scheme to build a regional College of Art and Technology in Hanley which would have university status and branch schools in Tunstall, Burslem, Longton and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

The government’s proposal to build a regional college in Hanley was made public at a meeting held at the Wesleyan School in Burslem on January 19th, 1853.

During the meeting, Smith Child, who was North Staffordshire’s most generous philanthropist, and leading pottery manufacturer Herbert Minton offered to help finance the college. The scheme was rejected by civic leaders and pottery manufacturers who wanted each town to have its own art school. Prince Albert’s attempt to bring higher education to The Potteries had failed.

Shortly afterwards, small design schools were established in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Burslem.

Monthly fees for students attending classes at the Burslem school were 1/9d (9p) for men and 1/6d (7.5p) for women. The school’s headmaster was William Jabez Mückley, an artist whose work had been exhibited at the Royal Academy. It held classes in the assembly room at the Legs of Man, an old coaching inn frequented by thieves and prostitutes. Despite the venue, William was a popular teacher who attracted and retained students. Although the school gave Burslem well-trained pottery designers and skilled crafts persons, local firms refused to help it find more suitable premises.

The school closed when William left Burslem in 1858.

*The illustration shows The Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace

Copyright Betty Cooper – The Phoenix Trust, September 2010

DM/BC 2017

Staffordshire’s First Newspaper

Mailcoach

MAIL COACHES BROUGHT THE ADVERTISER TO THE POTTERIES

Staffordshire’s first newspaper, the Staffordshire Advertiser, was founded by Stafford printer Joshua Drury.

The first edition was published on January 3rd, 1795. It cost four pence (2p) and had four pages. Each page was divided into five columns containing news, features, poems and advertisements printed in small type without illustrations. Mail coaches brought the paper to inns and taverns in Newcastle and the Potteries where workmen gathered to have the news read to them.

England and her allies had been at war with France for two years, and the paper carried news of the campaigns in Europe. It informed readers that Royal Navy warships were setting sail from Portsmouth to intercept the French fleet which was cruising in the English Channel. A dispatch from Poland told them the Russians had captured Warsaw and massacred 20,000 men, women and children. Reports from Holland showed that the Dutch disliked the British troops sent to defend them and were hoping to make peace with the French.

Home news included George III’s announcement that the Prince of Wales was going to marry Princess Caroline of Brunswick. There was a detailed account of the state opening of Parliament and the debates following the King’s speech.

Surprisingly, very little local news was reported. Readers were told that Wolverhampton magistrate Edward Hickman had sent a rogue and vagabond, Benjamin Smith, to the House of Correction but neither Newcastle nor the Potteries were mentioned.

(Betty Cooper – The Phoenix Trust, September 2010)

Postal services in North Staffordshire

Established in 1635, the Royal Mail used despatch riders, mounted on fast horses, to carry letters between major towns and cities.

Post offices were opened at Stafford, Stone, Leek, Lichfield and Newcastle, which was on the main post road linking London with Chester, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston and Carlisle.

By 1734, Newcastle’s post office was in the Swan Inn and everyday post boys delivered letters to The Potteries and neighbouring 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.

When the Grand Junction Railway opened in 1837, the post was brought by train to Whitmore and taken by horse-drawn wagon to the main post office at Newcastle for distribution throughout the district. Mail coaches ceased to run and in 1854 the main post office was moved from Newcastle to Stoke Station.

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

The penny post increased the number of letters sent and the Post Office developed new services including a special cheap rate “book post” and the Post Office Savings Bank. 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 closed on Sundays, although the telegraph service opened 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 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: “It was not usual to have two post offices in a village.”

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

Copyright Betty Cooper – The Phoenix Trust 2013

PH/BC

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