Northwood Park



Stoke-on-Trent Parks

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The 'battle' over Northwood Park

Although not opened until 1907 there were discussion about a park in Northwood as early as 1890 (long before Hanley park opened in 1894).

There were two sites proposed - one on the edge of the built up area of Northwood, a field called Udall's field and a smaller area more in the centre of Northwood called Hall Field. 

[in 1890] a resolution was passed that "This meeting of ratepayers of the East Ward respectfully requests the Town Council to purchase 20 acres of land lying at the back of Hammersley-street, Oak-street, and Prime-street, Northwood, which forms the south part of The Birches Farm, for the provision of a public park, to be dealt with and laid out at the same time as the proposed Shelton park". This land was known as Udall's Fields.

However, there were two sites suggested as being suitable for Northwood's park, the other being (the Old) Hall Fields.

the East Ward Parks Committee by G.P. Bradford (its Chairman) [statement] was accompanied by the statement that it was nonsense to suggest that the Hallfields location was "the only possible site". It was declared that .......

"the disparity in the price of the respective sites is so great as to call for the special attention of every ratepayer. To buy 20 ACRES IN UDALL'S FIELDS, AND LAY IT OUT, WOULD COST 4,600; WHILE 10 ACRES IN HALLFIELDS, AND LAYING OUT, WILL COST 7,000. This shews that the first cost of the small site will be NEARLY TWICE as much as the larger one, in addition to the extra cost of keeping up".

The economic argument, here, was supported by the environmental consideration that Udall's Fields incorporated a 600 yards long wood teeming with pretty wild flowers and a running stream which might be turned to the advantage of park users. "Now compare this with with Hallfields! Smoke everywhere, pit mounds, the exhalations from the town's refuse, no trees, no stream....."

Advocates of the Hall Fields site, overlooking Bucknall Old Road, argued that the adjacent part of Northwood had so rapidly been developed for housing that Hall Fields, as a still-available open area, was desperately needed as a park by the surrounding residents -before it, too, came to be covered by properties, creating......

 "an unbroken block of houses nearly two miles in extent reaching from the boundaries of Northwood to Shelton".

Those inhabitants living near Udall's Fields, it was pointed out, already had open country on their doorstep, and were therefore less in need of a "lung".

from: 'Potters in Parks' - Mervyn Edwards
Staffordshire Advertiser, 29 November 1890


In the end it was the Hall Field site that won the day.........

map c.1890 of the Northwood area
map c.1890 of the Northwood area

The red line is Keelings Lane. In blue is the 20 acre Udall's field and in pink is the 8 acre Hall field site. The location of the Hallfield Brick Works is marked in green.


The same area on Google Maps 2008
The same area on Google Maps 2008

Even today the area of Udall's Field has proven to be unsuitable for building on - it is partly allotments and the main part is still uncultivated fields.



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previous: maps of Northwood Park