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Stoke-on-Trent Districts: Lane Delph


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Lane Delph, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

Lane Delph was one of the earliest populated areas in Fenton and home to s number of early pottery works and families...

As a result of the growth of the pottery and mining industries, there were by 1775 three main centres of population: Great Fenton, formerly Fenton Culvert; Little Fenton and Lower Lane; Lane Delph.
By the 1830's Lower Lane and Lane Delph were still the largest centres of population and contained two chapels, the only places of worship in the area.
Lane Delph increased rapidly in buildings and population during the early 19th century, presumably in connexion with the many potworks there, and was described in 1834 as the most populous part of the district. Most of the houses at Lane Delph lay along the main road and in the area around Duke Street and China Street.

As early as 1710 Thomas Heath of Lane Delph was producing a good durable ware, light grey in colour and made from a mixture of clay and 'a species obtained from the coal mines'; he apparently made dipped ware also. 
One of his daughters married a Mr. Pratt of Fenton,  and the William Pratt (of the famous 'Pratt Ware') who was working at Lane Delph in what is now Fenpark Road from at least the early 1780's until his death in 1799 may well have been a descendant of Heath.


Where is Lane Delph?

Lane Delph lay along the Newcastle-Uttoxeter road (now King Street) as it passed from Longton through Fenton.

In 1775 Lane Delph and Lower Lane were among the most populated parts of the area.

1775 map of Lane Delph of Fenton
Extract from William Yates 1775 Map of Staffordshire 
- showing the Lane Delph of Fenton area
- click map for larger area of map -

The map above, is an extract from William Yates’s Map of Staffordshire, shows the town of Fenton, recorded on the map as Lane Delph, in 1775. 
The road running diagonally across the map was the road from Newcastle-under-Lyme to Uttoxeter turnpiked in 1759. This road is now known as King Street.

Most of the land north of the road was in the township of Fenton Vivian; the land south of the road in the township of Fenton Culvert. Initially the main settlements were at Great Fenton and at Fenton Park but by the middle of the eighteenth century most of the population lived in houses built along the main road. 

What does Lane Delph mean?

The name "Delph" means a digging, such as a claypit or quarry. 'Drowned in a delph' appears as a cause of death in Staffordshire parish registers.

The Lane Delph area:

Lane Delph area on a 2007 map

By 1802 a post-office had been opened at Lane Delph and the area was served by a horse-post from Newcastle from 1835 until 1854.
Lane Delph increased rapidly in buildings and population during the 19th century, presumably in connexion with the many potworks there, and was described in 1834 as the most populous part of the district. Most of the houses lay along the main road (Market & King Street) and in the area around Duke Street and China Street.


"Lane Delph" - an area of Fenton
what used to be called "Lane Delph" - an area of Fenton
situated on the main road from Stoke to Longton
from a 1895 OS map


1829 account of Lane Delph:

“The number of old houses in LANE DELPH, shew it to have  been  long  one  seat  of the  manufacture. There are now a large number of new houses, of a very convenient size and plan for the working classes. And within the last year, the enterprising spirit of a private person, Charles Mason, Esq., has established a regular Market, with Stalls and Shambles, to accommodate tins part; which doubtless will be duly appreciated by all those for whose convenience the speculation was undertaken. 

At the bottom of Ark Lane, niqh Mr. Pratt's, is a Chapel for the Calvinists; and in the New Road is one, commodious and handsome, (with a good school room connected, for the gratuitous instruction of children on the Sabbath;) owned by the Methodists of the New Connection, formed in 1797. 

In Lane Delph also are entitled to notice,  the  House and  Manufactory,  of Thomas Carey, Esq. also of S. Ginders, Esq., and of J. Pratt, Esq.   The manufactory of Messrs. G. & C. Mason, for Patent Iron-stone China, is commodious. Here is a Steam Engine of some peculiarity in its construction, by Holford of Hanley; but we never could get from him, an explicit statement of the nature of the improvement, certainly with a cylinder only the size  of a six-horse power engine,  this has always done the work of others rated as equal to sixteen horses.  The front Warehouse is four stories high is fire proof, and has the most beautiful facade of any in the  district.   The  manufactory where Messrs. Barker pursued their avocation, is now converted into cottages and a tavern called the Dog and Partridge.”

"About 1725, Mr. Thomas Astbury, a son of the person already mentioned, commenced business at Lane Delph; first using a different kind of marl with the flint, which so varied the teint of this improved pottery, that he named it Cream coloured stone ware; and this was further improved by using only the whitest native clay, and flint ground at Mothersall mill. The specimens seem merely thrown on the wheel, and finished to a polish by the dexterity of the workman. Some are of a red body, with white ornaments, and glazed with a lead ore; and a flour mug, dated 1730, has on it a tulip, rose, and auricula, fairly designed and executed.

The information we have received is, that the first factory was where Lane Delph Market-Place now is. -  The old hovel, whose outside was almost covered by grass, was removed in 1823. It is also stated that the younger Mr. Astbury erected part of the premises now the property of Mr. S. Ginders."

"History of the Staffordshire Potteries" Simon Shaw 1829

1843 account of Lane Delph:

“In proceeding through the Fentons we next arrive at what we must designate " MIDDLE-FENTON," in substitution for its ancient but now discarded and inelegant name of " Lane Delph." 
Here some of the most ancient potteries were seated, which have been of late years removed or altered  in their character.   The works  of CHARLES JAMES MASON &: Co., standing obliquely to the turnpike-road, and on the line of the Canal Company's Railway,present an extensive front of four stories in height, inscribed in large letters, " Patent Ironstone China Manufactory."  For this article of trade, which Messrs. G. and C. J. Mason introduced some years ago, they obtained extensive public favour, and an almost exclusive sale, on account of its resemblance to Porcelain, and its very superior hardness and durability.   A steam-engine is employed here in aid of manual labour, and for the other uses of the trade.

Two earthenware manufactories of THOMAS and JOHN CARY, another of JOHN and WILLIAM PRATT, another occupied by – GINDER & Co., and the China Manufactory of GREEN and RICHARDS are also seated at Middle-Fenton.

The Messrs. Mason, who are owners of a good deal of property here, have, within a few years past, set on foot a market on Saturdays, and erected a small but neat market-house, to which the police-station, another new erection, adjoins.   The Canning Inn and some shops, also adjacent or near, give to Middle Fenton the character of a respectable small town.

A great improvement is in course of accomplishment here, by the making of an entirely new road from Messrs. Mason's manufactory in a direct line to Hanley, which goes over Fenton-low, crosses the Trent a little above a farm called Trent-hay,  passes near Joiner's-square,  by Eastwood-house, and goes by the Albion Inn into the middle of Hanley.  This road will reduce the present circuitous course through Stoke (measuring about 2¾ miles,) to less than two miles, and  will afford  very important facilities  of  communication  between  the  northern  and southern parts of the Borough.”

"The Borough of Stoke-upon-Trent" John Ward 1843

NOTE: The new road from Middle Fenton to Hanley referred to by Ward is Victoria Road and Lichfield Street.

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questions / comments / contributions? email: Steve Birks

December 2007