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Mitchell Memorial - Youth Centre, Hanley - opened on 28 October 1957

The youth centre was built in Broad Street, Hanley on the site of The White House at a cost of £50,000.

It was opened in October 1957 by Group- Captain Douglas Bader, to the memory of Reginald Mitchell. 


Original proposal for the City Youth Centre - to be called the Mitchell Memorial
Original Architect's Impression for the City Youth Centre - to be called the Mitchell Memorial



Lord Mayor, Alderman Annie Longsdon Barker laying the foundation stone - 16th May 1955
Lord Mayor, Alderman Annie Longsdon Barker laying the foundation stone - 16th May 1955 



line up of dignatories following the laying of the foundation stones
line up of dignatories following the laying of the foundation stones 
the pottery works in the background was Mason's Ironestone Works

- left to right (front row only) -
Charles Austin Brook, Mrs. Brook, unknown lady, Alderman Mrs. B.E. Meakin (Lady Mayoress 1954-55), Alderman Mrs. Annie Longsdon Barker

the land was conveyanced on the 20th January 1952
the land was conveyanced on the 20th January 1952
by the 
Trustees of the Spitfire Mitchell Memorial (Stoke-on-Trent) Fund
to the
Lord Mayor, Alderman and Citizens of the City of Stoke-on-Trent 



History of the Site

The principal owners / occupants were:-

Ralph Baddeley Master Potter c1772 -1800
Richard Hicks Master Potter c1807 -1856
John Sugden Crapper Dentist c1856 - 1907
Barnett Stross Doctor c1928 -1945

The building which stood on the site was referred to as The White House in the obituary for Richard Hicks. 

A picture of The White House taken in 1950 is held in the Warrilow collection, Keele University Library.

Dr Barnett Stross became a city councillor for a Shelton Ward in 1938 and Member of Parliament for Hanley from 1945 until after 1963.

The White House was demolished and the Mitchell Memorial Youth Centre was built on the site for £50,000.


1940 - agreed to set up a fund in memory of Reginald J Mitchell 1943 - public fund appeal was launched by Lord Mayor
1948 - site purchased
1949 - building plans put on display
1955 - Foundation Stone laid
1957 - 28 October Group-Captain Douglas Bader opened the building [17 years since the idea to commemorate Reginald J Mitchell].


Reginald J Mitchell
1895 born
1937 died aged 42 years of cancer


Mitchell Memorial Youth Centre opening ceremony in 1957
Mitchell Memorial Youth Centre opening ceremony in 1957 


Mitchell Memorial Youth Centre in Feb 2008, shortly before closing for refurbishment
Mitchell Memorial Youth Centre in Feb 2008, shortly before closing for refurbishment



This building, erected by Public Subscription, commemorates R. J. Mitchell
This building, erected by Public Subscription, 
commemorates R. J. Mitchell  CBE AMICE FRAeS
1895 0 1937
a Son of this City
Designer of the 'Spitfire' Fighter Aircraft 
used in the Battle of Britain, September 1940
opened on 28 October 1957
Group-Captain D.R.S. Bader


Evening Sentinel Supplement, October 28th 1957
Evening Sentinel Supplement, October 28th 1957 





Mitchell Memorial Youth Theatre 50th Anniversary
Mitchell Memorial Youth Theatre 
50th Anniversary 



Reginald J. Mitchell - Centenary Celebrations - 14th -21st May, 1995
Reginald J. Mitchell - Centenary Celebrations 
14th -21st May, 1995 

there was a Spitfire Flypast at 15.35 hrs. on Sunday 21st May 1995


Reginald Joseph Mitchell was born on the 20th May at 115 Congleton Road, Butt Lane, Stoke-on-Trent. His father, Herbert, was a headmaster at Longton and, within a few months of Reginald's birth, moved to 87 Chaplin Road, Normacot, near Longton. The father soon gave up teaching, became a master printer, and eventually, Managing Director of a printing company.

Reginald went to Queensberry Road Higher Elementary School at Normacot - the same year the Wright Brothers made their first successful areoplane flights (of under one minute duration). He then went to Hanley High School.

When he was sixteen, he was apprenticed to the locomotive engineering firm, Kerr, Stewart and Co., Fenton, and attended evening classes at the Wedgwood Burslem Technical School in engineering drawing, mathematics and mechanics. He was awarded a special prize, one of three, presented by the Midland Counties Union.

When his apprenticeship was completed, he made two attempts to join the armed forces but his engineering skills were considered to be more useful in civilian life. He undertook some part-time teaching at Fenton Technical School but his interest in flight was such that in 1917 he applied, suc¬cessfully, for the post of Personal Assistant to the Managing Director of the newly created Supermarine Aviation Works at Southampton.

Within a year of his appointment he was promoted to Assistant Works Manager and felt financia able to marry Florence Dayson, headmistress of Dresden Infant's School. The wedding took place at Meir Church.

A year later, Mitchell was appointed Cheif Designer (at the age of 24) and was also made Chief Engineer in the following year.

He designed the Sea Lion II flying-boat which won the 1922 International Schneider Trophy competition and which also set world records for marine aircraft in duration, distance and speed (130 mph).

In this year, he designed the very successful RAF standard marine reconnaissance aircraft, the Southampton. A total of 83 were built and formed the basis of Southampton's economic stability and prosperity for the next decade.

In 1928 Vickers (Aviation) Limited acquired Supermarine but retained Mitchell and the entire design team he had built up around him. Mitchell was appointed a Director, as well as Chief Designer, of what had now become Supermarine Aviation Works (Vickers) Limited.

Mitchell was elected Fellow of Royal Aeronautical Society and Associate Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers. These awards followed Supermarines success in the 1927 and 1929 Schneider Trophy competition. Two years later, the Supermarine aircraft won the Schneider Trophy for the third consecutive time and so Britain became the outright winner. The same machine also improved on the company's 1929 world absolute air speed record with a figure of 407.5 mph.

Subsequent to the Schneider Trophy wins, Mitchell was awarded the CBE. His design team was also responsible for some very successful military designs at the time; orders for 17 Scapa flying-boats were followed by contracts for 58 Stranraers.

Mitchell underwent an operation for cancer in 1933. Afterwards he took flying lessons and gained his pilots licence less than a year later. 1933 also saw the first flight of the prototype which became the Walrus; by the end of the Second World War, 746 had been built.

The prototype of the Spitfire, for which Mitchell is best remembered, first flew on March 5th of this year and its chief designer had the satisfaction of seeing the largest initial order placed for any Supermarine aircraft - 310. However his developing illness did not allow him to see the aircraft go into squadron service and, in its various forms, eventually reach a total of nearly 23,000 built.

He Died on June 11th 1937, aged 42.

The Spitfires

The prototype Spitfire flew from Eastleigh Airport, Southampton on 5th March 1936. So successful were the advanced areodynamics and construction techniques stemming from the Schneider Trophy racing aircraft, incorporated in the Spitfire's design by R. J. Mitchell, that developments the aircraft were to establish and maintain the air superiority so vital to the defence of the United Kingdom and ultimate victory throughout the war that followed. 

The first service ancratt was delivered to the Royal Air Force in August 1938 and, by the beginning of the Battle of Britain, 19 squadrons were equipped with Spitfires. Produced and developed at an unprecedented rate in shadow factories dispersed throughout the United Kingdom, the total number built exceeded 22,000 in 36 separate marks. 

Such was the vision of the designer and potential of the aircraft that it progressed from the prototype, weighing 5400 lbs with a 1050 horse power Merlin engine, to the Seafire Mk 47, weighing 12,500 lbs with a 2350 horse power Griffon. 

All this was accomplished in essentially the same airframe with relatively minor modifications. Truly a remarkable aeroplane which well deserves its place as the most famous and charismatic of all time.


The famous Battle of Britain pilot Air Commodore Alan Deere DSO, OBE, DFC, writes "There
can be no doubt that victory in the Battle of Britain was made possible by the Spitfire." In his conclusion A. Deere mentioned that, in all probability, without the Spitfire we would have been defeated in the Battle of Britain, and a distinct possiblity was that we would had to sue for peace in 1941. 

The total number of Spitfires built during the five years of the was 20,334.



contents: 2010 photos


related pages

Mitchell Memorial - refurbished in 2011

Mitchell statue and the Spitfire

Reginald Mitchell's Birthplace 

also see..

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Potworks of the Week