Discovering Local History
Housing in Stoke-on-Trent
Like most towns in the nineteenth century, there were marked differences in the housing conditions of people in the Potteries broken down according to their social class.
Moreover, because different social groups tended to live close to one another in different areas, the population was also socially segregated according social class, occupation and ethnicity. Thus, miners tended to live together in rows of terraced houses situated close to the mines where they worked, the middle classes often lived in their own (often suburban) estates and the Irish often lived close to one another in the poorer parts of towns.
Housing in Hanley in the 1880s
To examine residential segregation in Hanley details of 933 houses from the census enumerators' books (CEBs) for Hanley in 1881 were examined. To make up for the deficiencies inherent in the CEBs for this period, an of the attempt was made to match each household with their corresponding entry in Hanley's rate book for that year.
The results of this exercise revealed marked differences in the households of working-class and middle-class households:
Middle-class households were more likely to own their homes (18.8%) than both the skilled (9.1%) and other (5.5%) working classes.
The middle-class lived in expensive housing as measured by their rateable values (£22.81) than the skilled (£8.81) and other (£8.21) working classes.
Middle-class households were more likely to include stables, retail premises, workshops and outbuildings than working-class households.
The Irish tended to live in houses with low rateable values.
The houses of the Master Potters were built to reflect their position in society and to enhance their businesses:
The houses were built where they could be surrounded by woods and parks.
They selected locations away from the potworks and the some and grime.
Often the estates they built had good views and visitors could see the grandeur from a good distance away.
The estates were on the high and dry ground - the workers cottages were often on the low and damp ground by the canals and streams.
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