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Stoke - The Town Hall

Stoke-on-Trent Federation

Scenes in the Six Towns

"It is natural that to some extent the six towns now federated as the city of Stoke-on-Trent should have their independent lives and local associations existing side by side with their corporate life and wider civic associations. Here then is a short special reference to each Pottery-town."

1947 City of Stoke-on-Trent Official Handbook


Stoke - The Town Hall c.1947

more on Stoke Town Hall



"The stranger might be pardoned for assuming that Stoke-on-Trent and Stoke-upon-Trent are one and the same; however, the two slightly different forms of name serve conveniently to-distinguish between the city as a whole and that member of it which has given its name to the combined area. Stoke-on-Trent, therefore, is the name of the city and Stoke-upon-Trent indicates that part of it which was formerly the borough of Stoke-upon-Trent. It became a municipal borough in 1874, and on the federation of the Potteries towns in 1910, it became the centre of local government, although some departments of administration, owing to the large amount of accommodation required, have their headquarters in Hanley. These are notably Education, Police, and Weights and Measures departments.

Stoke Town Hall, in Glebe Street, one of the finest buildings in North Staffordshire, comprises the Municipal Offices, Police Court, King's Hall, Jubilee Hall, and the City Council Chamber. The old portion of the building was erected in 1834-36. Close to the entrance to the King's Hall from Kingsway—one of the two streets down which the extensive buildings stretch—is the Stoke War Memorial, a simple, dignified cenotaph of similar design to that in Whitehall, London. The Assembly Hall was reconstructed and refurnished in 1935 at a cost of £10,000, to commemorate the Jubilee of the late King George, and was renamed the Jubilee Hall. A handsome modern public building at Stoke is the North Staffordshire Technical College in Victoria Road. The Public Library in London Road houses also the Stoke Museum, and adjoining it is the School of Art. Some particulars of these institutions are given under their respective headings elsewhere in this book. The art school building was erected in 1856 to commemorate Herbert Minton, the famous potter, who had rendered great public services to Stoke. The chief objects of interest in the town for visitors are the museum and the pottery works. The potter's wheel, that extremely ancient device still in use for certain classes of article, is a never-failing source of interest to those unfamiliar with it. Stoke has recreation grounds at Cliff Bank, Hartshill, Field Place, Flash Lane, Harpfields and Hanford, and the bowling green and tennis courts at Boothen allotments are also Corporation property.

The North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary stands on a hill west of the town, and was built at a cost of £37,000. An additional ward for incurables was presented by Sir Smith Child, and a Nurses' Home has been added. In 1910 a scheme was formulated for a new Out-Patients' Department as a memorial to King Edward VII. His late Majesty King George V consented to this plan on condition that the building should be opened free of debt, and North Staffordshire nobly rose to the occasion and provided the necessary funds.

A further extension consisting of a new X-ray and Orthopaedic Department and two Wards was inaugurated by King George V and Queen Mary in 1925, and opened by H.R.H. Prince Henry (now Duke of Gloucester) in 1927. The cost of these extensions was approximately £180,000, most of which had been raised by the time the buildings were completed.

A new medical block, with all ancillary services, was the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Enoch Haughton of Stoke-on-Trent.

The Parish Church of St. Peter, in Glebe Street, though of no great age, displays some interesting features. It is built in immediate neighbourhood to the site of an ancient church, probably a thousand years old, which church has been partially rebuilt by an archaeologist in the district, who discovered a great heap of stones supposedly belonging to the old structure. These he utilized in re-erecting two arches and piers, and also partially restored a Norman gateway. St. Peter's itself boasts a peculiarity in mural decoration, consisting of a long line, sometimes double, of encaustic tiles, inserted at various dates as memorials, and running the whole length of the north, south and west walls. This idea was originated by the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Shrewsbury, formerly Rector of Stoke-upon-Trent. A tablet to the memory of Josiah Wedgwood is worthy of note, also a beautiful stained-glass window in the chancel, purchased for about £700 by a former rector soon after the erection of the church.

Notable public monuments at Stoke are the bronze statue of Josiah Wedgwood facing the entrance to Stoke railway station and the statue of Colin Minton Campbell, a former mayor and M.P. for Stoke, in Kingsway, near to the King's Hall. The large covered Market Hall in Church Street dates from 1883 ; Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are market days."


1947 City of Stoke-on-Trent Official Handbook


Stoke in 1828 

"STOKE-UPON-TRENT, as its name implies, is pleasantly situated upon that river, in an extensive and populous parish, to which it gives name, about one mile and a half east of Newcastle, upon the sides of the Grand Trunk canal. The town contains many handsome houses, wharfs, warehouses and earthenware manufactories, and is deemed the parish town of the potteries. 

The church, which is and ancient building of stone, will be taken down when the new edifice, which is erecting under the auspices of the parliamentary commissioners, shall be perfected. The church contains a handsome monument to the memory of the late Josiah Wedgwood who was interred here in 1795. In 1815 a very handsomer and commodious national school, for the education of five hundred children was erected at this place, at the cost of nearly £1,000, chiefly raised by subscription. Here are also two meeting houses for dissenters. 

The first steam engine for grinding burned flint for the use of the potters was established here.

About mid-way between Stoke and Newcastle is 'Cliffe vill' the seat of John Tomlinson, Esq; and at Penkhull is 'the Mount,' the seat of Josiah Spode, Esq.

The market is Saturday and a wake is held the first Sunday in August annually. 

The whole parish of Stoke, by the returns for 1821, contained 29,223 inhabitants; and the parish, exclusive of its several extensive dependencies, 3,969 of that number."

Pigot & Co's 1828/9 Directory of Staffordshire


Stoke in 1907 (3 years before federation) 

"Though its population does not exceed 35,000, Stoke-on-Trent is known by name all over the world, and it is a town of -considerable importance in the Potteries. It owes its wide reputation principally to- the fact that some of the finest pottery obtainable is made within its borders.

Its local importance is due to many circumstances. It is the railway centre of the whole North Staffordshire district. The N.S. Railway Company have here their headquarters, and while all local trains radiate from Stoke, the London and North Western expresses from London to Manchester call at its busy station. Then it is also the centre of the extensive postal district of Stoke-on-Trent. It gives its name to the Parliamentary borough which also embraces Longton and Fenton; and to the Poor Law Union in which Hanley and the two towns already mentioned are comprised; while organisations covering the whole of North Staffordshire, such as the Chamber of  Commerce, the Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, &c, generally meet at the N.S. Hotel, which is probably the principal hotel in the Potteries.

Again, Stoke is a place of prominence in connection with ecclesiastical matters, and in this respect has an interesting history. It formed the centre of a huge parish which embraced practically all North Staffordshire and out of which a very large number of parishes have been created. The parish church is an imposing building standing in a spacious churchyard (which is no longer used for burials, and forms a valuable open space). It was erected in the reign of Geo. IV. at an expense of £14,000. Contributions to this large sum were received from all classes, from the Sovereign down to the workingman. The living is a rectory, and has been held by some noble churchmen, to whom Preb. H. V. Stuart, the present holder, is a worthy successor.

The business part of Stoke is very compact, but can only be reached from the Railway Station by rather circuitous routes. There is direct tramway communication from this part of the borough with Hanley in one direction; Fenton and Longton in another; Newcastle in another; and Trentham in another. At the spot where these lines meet – Campbell Place - there is a statue of Colin Minton Campbell, who was a honoured citizen of Stoke; and the town possesses two other monuments - a statue in the Station Square of Josiah Wedgwood, the great potter, whose remains are buried in Stoke Churchyard; and a monument on the canal side down London Road to the memory of a tramway employee who lost his life in attempting to rescue a child from drowning.

Stoke has pleasant suburbs. Hartshill, Basford and Penkhull (all within the borough) have lofty situations and are residential districts; Oakhill is rapidly assuming the same character. At Hartshill the N.S. Infirmary and The Mount Blind and Deaf School are located.

Amongst the possessions of the Corporation are an excellent Town Hall, where the municipal business is conducted; several elementary schools, a Science and Art Institute, and education offices; a Free Library and Museum; Public Baths; a couple of Recreation Grounds (not yet laid out); a beautiful Cemetery; remunerative Markets (where business is principally done on Saturdays); valuable Gas Works; and an Electrical Undertaking which is worked in conjunction with a Refuse Destructor and promises to become a very valuable property.

Stoke is the sports centre of the Potteries. It runs a, First League football team; the Staffordshire County Cricket ground is to all intents and purposes within the borough; while the principal athletic organisation of the district – the Victoria Athletic Club - holds its meetings at Stoke. The Hippodrome is a pretty and cosy music-hall. Captain Goss commands the Stoke Volunteers."


1907 Staffordshire Sentinel 'Business Reference Guide to The Potteries, Newcastle & District'




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