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Neville Malkin's "Grand Tour" of the Potteries

buildings South of the Potteries


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previous: St. John's Church, Barlaston
contents: index of buildings south of the Potteries

 

No 9 - Barlaston Hall

Barlaston Hall and Grounds
Barlaston Hall and Grounds

Barlaston Hall stands on a hill, overlooking the Trent Valley. It was built in 1756 for Thomas Mills, an attorney from Leek. The design is attributed to Sir Robert Taylor.

In 1774 Barlaston Hall featured on one of the dishes of a dinner service produced by Josiah Wedgwood for Empress Catherine II of Russia. Barlaston Hall and estate was later purchased by the Wedgwood family in 1937; they developed a modern factory and village there.

[Reproduced by permission of the
Trustees of the William Salt Library, Stafford]

 

 

Barlaston Hall
Barlaston Hall
pen drawing by Neville Malkin - April 1974

 

"This delightful mid-18th century hall, of high architectural merit, is currently the subject of a lively controversy. It stands high on a hill overlooking the Trent valley and enjoys extensive views to the west. The excellence and simplicity of the facade make an ideal background for the very rare round windows. Barlaston Hall was built as the new manor house in 1756 by Thomas Mills, an attorney from Leek, the new Lord of the ancient Manor of Barlaston. The brick building is tall for its size and has five bays, the middle three of which project and carry a pediment.

As early as 1774 a lithograph of Barlaston Hall was featured on one of the dishes of a dinner and dessert service specially commissioned by Empress Catherine II of Russia and produced by Josiah Wedgwood at his new Etruria works. The service consisted of 925 pieces in the famous creamware. Etruria Hall, the newly-built residence of Josiah Wedgwood, was also depicted, and an amazing similarity exists between the scenes of these two halls. Little did he know that a future generation of his family would acquire Barlaston Hall and its estate of 380 acres in 1937 for the development of a modern factory and village.

After the war Barlaston Hall became the first home of the Wedgwood Memorial College,- a residential adult education centre, but discovery of dry rot led to its closure in 1949; the following year it reopened in a large house in the village, where it has remained ever since.

Although Barlaston Hall is a Listed Building, it is neglected, empty and in a very bad state of repair; it needs much restoration work. Nevertheless, it still retains many good features - fine cornices, plaster decoration and doorways, and a cantilevered staircase topped by an arched gallery. It should be preserved."

Neville Malkin 10th April 1974

 


Barlaston Hall
Barlaston Hall

photo: Peter Vardy  June 2008
 

Barlaston Hall is an English Palladian country house in the village of Barlaston in Staffordshire, overlooking the valley of the River Trent 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Stoke-on-Trent.

It was built by architect Sir Robert Taylor for Thomas Mills in 1756-8, to replace the existing manor house that he had acquired through marriage. The hall has a red-brick exterior. It is one of a few of Taylor's buildings which retain his trademark octagonal and diamond glazing in the sash windows.

"It has been subject to major restoration by Save Britain's Heritage's in the 1990s. As a consequence of extensive coal mining the area was subject to subsidence and considerable work was needed to stabilise the hall. It's said that when the house was seen for the first time by the nearby lady of Trentham Hall, she asked "Who owns that vulgar red house?" It was then covered in stucco and the scoring of the bricks necessary for securing this are still visible.

In 1937 Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Ltd purchased the 380 acre Barlaston Hall Estate. A new all electric pottery and model village for employees was established and opened in 1940 with railway sidings and a new station, Wedgwood Halt. The coming of Wedgwood did not mar the rural aspect of Barlaston, largely because of the firm deliberately preserved the parkland setting of the works. To this day the approach down to Wedgwood's from all directions and in particular the route passed Barlaston Hall are simply beautiful."

 



In the late 1940s the hall became the Wedgwood Memorial College but, due to dry rot, the college was forced to move to 'The Limes' in 1949. The hall was neglected and fell into disrepair, but was renovated in the 1980s.

Photograph by Save Britain's Heritage

Staffordshire Past Tracks


next: Sutherland Monument
previous: St. John's Church, Barlaston
contents: index of buildings south of the Potteries


 

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