Stoke-on-Trent Local History





Federation of the six towns
31st March 1910 saw the federation of the
six towns to form the County Borough of Stoke-on-Trent



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previous: the battle for the civic centre
contents: Index page for Federation

Frederick Geen

Frederick Geen - a "bitter anti-federationist"

Frederick Geen worked in the financial audit department at the North Staffordshire Railway Company (who were against federation). He later worked at a number of pottery companies and then in 1884 set up his own accounting firm. The company still exists today (2009) as Geens Accountants in Liverpool Road, Stoke.

Although Geen proposed and supported the federation of the towns of Stoke, Fenton and Longton - he did not want it to be extended to the other towns - he thought that such an extension would be taken over by the much bigger town of Hanley, because of this fear he became a "bitter anti-federationist".

1889 Geen stood for election as the Stoke borough auditor, which he won.
1890 Stood for election to Stoke borough council, he lost.
1891 Again stood for election to Stoke borough council, this time he won and was appointed.
1897-9 Was mayor for Stoke for the three years 1897, 98, 99.
1903 Alderman Geen made a report on the financial implications of federation of the six towns, this report killed off such discussions.
Geen supported proposals for the federation of the three towns of Stoke-upon-Trent, Fenton and Longton - this proposal came to nothing.
1907 A similar scheme to the 1903 one was made and Geen supported this, (this scheme eventually helped in the progress of the federation of the six towns).
1907 A local inquiry was held in Stoke, by Major C. E. Norton, the Local Government Board's Inspector. The Board expressed the opinion that federation should embrace a larger area and urged that six areas should be included in the interests of economy and efficiency.

Financial adjustment between the towns was
the main stumbling block to federation. In the end, the generally accepted scheme was that known as Alderman Geen's scheme—a proposal that each town be a separate rating area for twenty years.
1910 An anti-federationist to the end - however when federation of the six towns came about he sought to get a good deal for the town of Stoke.
1910-11 Geen secured the building of the King's Hall (behind the Stoke town hall in Glebe Street, which was the largest and most imposing municipal building in the six towns).
These buildings became the headquarters of the new county borough council - much to the disappointment of Burslem who had started to build a new town hall
(later to be the Queen's Hall) in anticipation that they (as the 'Mother Town') would host the the headquarters of the new council.

see the battle for the town hall

1910 Major Cecil Wedgwood, a director of the Wedgwood pottery company and a supporter of federation became the first mayor of the new county borough.
Geen was appointed deputy mayor - it was said that his anti-federation stance cost him the position of mayor.
1913 In 1913 King George V and Queen Mary formally opened the Kings Hall. Geen (who had now become Mayor) entertained them to lunch at his home Cliff Ville (on Hartshill Road).
1913 During a serious coal strike Geen set up a national fund (he had for 25 years been the secretary to the North Staffordshire Miners' Relief Fund).
1915 Genn continued to operate the fund and apparently some of the money was spent on improving the churchyard in Stoke town.
On 28th January, at a meeting in the council chambers, Geen was about to give an explanation, at the request of the Labour members, about this use of the fund - when he collapsed in the chamber and died.


Cliff Ville - the home and gardens of Frederick Geen
Cliff Ville - the home and gardens of Frederick Geen
on Hartshill Road

from an 1898 OS map

The mansion known as Cliffe Ville (or Cliff Ville) was built by John Tomlinson, a solicitor, in 1808. It became Geen's home where, in 1913, he entertained King George V and Queen Mary when they formally opened the Kings Hall in Stoke. In 1922 the house was acquired by the nuns at the nearby Dominican Convent and became St. Dominic's High School.

St. Dominic's School, Hartshill Road, Stoke
St. Dominic's School, Hartshill Road, Stoke
This two storey school building has a large drive and surrounding gardens. Some windows and doors have been modified and various later buildings have been attached. It stood on Hartshill Road which was previously named Stoke Road.

photo: © The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
Staffordshire Past Tracks


Later a new school was built neared the convent and in 1988 the house was demolished. Now a small housing estate sits on the site of the house. Much of the grounds and some of the ponds are still in existence as Hartshill Park. 

"The area designated as Hartshill Park has a varied history of land use. During the Domesday period it formed part of a vast deer park, Cliff Hay, mentioned in 1204. Hart is the name of a male deer and these were bred for the King to hunt in mediaeval times. Hartshill as a place name is recorded in the 16th century.

The park was also known as Castle Cliff because it was part of the royal manor of Newcastle and its oak trees were used to repair the castle there. It still existed in the 15th century because the hedges and posts which enclosed it were repaired then. The area the present park occupies is formed from the remains of two estates - Cliff Vale and Hartshill Farm."

"The mansion known as Cliff Ville was built by John Tomlinson, a solicitor, in 1808. John Tomlinson died in 1838. In April 1864, F.W. Tomlinson is registered as owning 13 acres of freehold. Cliffeville then passed to the Stamer family. In 1892 the sale of Cliffeville was authorised under the act of 1889. See p.186 'A History of the County of Stafford vol. VIII J.G. Jenkins' for sources." 

"A grotto where a statue of Our Lady was placed during religious festivals and processions still stands in a commanding position at the top of the pools.
Many features of the garden area are waiting to be rediscovered, including a stone capped wall with a gateway leading to a hidden garden. There is also the use of local materials to build hard landscaped features, and a possible seating or viewpoint which has lost its view."

The same area in 2008 - from Google Maps

more on Frederick Geen

next: Sydney Malkin
previous: the battle for the civic centre
contents: Index page for Federation