history of the Borough of Stoke-upon-Trent
|Growth from 1762....|
Growth from 1762..... Source: "The Borough of Stoke-upon-Trent" John Ward, 1843
Growth of the potworks:
The general state of the trade in 1762, is well described in the petition quoted in the previous page, "pack-horses, as well as waggons, wee then employed in carrying goods and raw materials to and from the Potteries.
How limited the extent of business must have been at that time, (though it is said, there were nearly 150 pot-works existing), in comparison with its present magnitude, we may not feel much difficulty in estimating; and, though there is no great increase in the number of establishments, yet the immense augmentation of many of them will account for and well explain the great and rapid extension of buildings and population, since the Grand Trunk Canal was completed in the year 1777; from which period the commercial importance of the District may, with great propriety, be dated.
Decline of salt-glaze:
Previous to that time, it appears by the document quoted that salt was principally employed for glazing the ware; and no foreign material was used in the manufacture. The change, in this respect, is remarkable - there being now no salt whatever used, and the glazes being mostly compounded of foreign productions. The fumes arising from the ancient process of glazing with salt, filled the atmosphere with dense clouds of smoke, and gave he District, in those days, a most dismal and uninviting aspect.
Housing & Shops:
The houses of the towns or villages were mean and poor (with very few exceptions), scattered up and down, and mostly covered with thatch.
The manner of the inhabitants were not superior to their habitations; and their pleasures and amusements at their wakes and holidays were gross and brutal; such as bull-baiting, cock-throwing, goose-riding and the like.
There were no respectable, or regular shopkeepers; but all the groceries, drapery goods, and most of the butcher's meat, obtained from Newcastle, which had, therefore, a manifest interest, and appears to have felt a corresponding disposition to prevent that rivalry, which the increased facilities of good roads and better communication through the Potteries would naturally produce."
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