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Stoke-on-Trent Districts: Etruria


next: Denis O’Connor’s sculpture ‘Privilege’

Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

Why Etruria?

"This name merits individual entry because of its unusual, and possibly unique, origins. Etruria is a comparatively modern name, under 250 years old. Josiah Wedgwood's house, built here in 1760, was named Etruria Hall, taken from an ancient region of Italy, roughly modern Tuscany, where superb artistic statues, pottery and friezes were uncovered dating from the 8th century BC. Wedgwood's designs were based on these findings and, quite understandably, he adopted the name. When the village for his work-force was erected it also took the name of Etruria. As a purpose-built town it is no surprise that one public house is known as the Rendezvous, an invitation to all.

Not only the town name has Italian origins, Garibaldi Street remembers Giuseppe Garibaldi (1802-82), Italian patriot and guerrilla general who helped bring about the unification of Italy. The local blacksmith could be found in Forge Lane; Salem Street is the site of Salem Chapel.

from "Staffordshire Placenames"


Allbut (the map and newspaper publisher), described the new estate in the Staffordshire Pottery Directory, 1802, as follows: 

"Etruria is situated on the turn-pike road leading from Cobridge to Newcastle. It belongs solely to Josiah Wedgwood, Esq. who has here a very extensive earthenware manufactory, a handsome seat, and complete grounds. 

His manufactory is built with great taste, and admirably disposed for the business for which it is designed, in a beautiful valley by the side of the Grand Trunk Canal, which is here purposely widened, and forms a fine sheet of water. From the side of the canal, opposite the works, on an eminence stands the dwelling house which commands a charming prospect of the vale below; through which the canal, in many windings, carries through the kingdom the productions of various countries. 

The view closes by Harecastle, and the hills which separate Staffordshire from Cheshire. The name of this place was given to it by Mr Wedgwood, in memory of an ancient state in Italy, once celebrated for the exquisite taste of its Pottery; the remaining specimens of which have served greatly to improve the beauty of the modern articles. Near the manufactory is the village; built by Mr Wedgwood, for the accommodation of his workmen, who chiefly reside here. It forms a neat and regular street, about the middle of which is a free school, where the children resident in Etruria and its vicinity are educated in the rudiments of useful knowledge.”

Etruria in 1775:

Etruria & the Ridge House in 1775
Extract from William Yates 1775 Map of Staffordshire 
- showing Etruria & the Ridge House -
The Trent & Mersey Canal can be seen running through Etruria
the Caldon Canal is not built & now shown on this map
- click map for larger area of map -

Etruria in the Township of Shelton:

Although nowadays Etruria is recognised as a distinct area in its own right, originally Etruria lay in the Township of Shelton (see the 1842 map below) - hence the name of the iron and steel works which grew up there - "Shelton Bar"


Shelton in 1842 - Etruria was in the Township of Shelton
Shelton in 1842 - Etruria was in the Township of Shelton
both the Trent & Mersey & Caldon Canals are
shown in this map

- click map for larger view -

next: Denis O’Connor’s sculpture ‘Privilege’  


questions / comments / contributions? email: Steve Birks

20 January 2008