Stoke-on-Trent - photo of the week

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Postcards of Trentham Gardens Swimming Pool & Railway 


The Trentham Park estate was home and pleasure gardens to the Dukes of Sutherland, the biggest property owners in Britain, from the seventeenth to early twentieth century.

  • In 1540 the property had come into the hands of the Leveson family, who in time, with the help of tactical marriages, grew to be marquesses of Stafford and eventually dukes of Sutherland.

    They developed their houses at Trentham to match their growing status....

In 1630, a manor with moat and drawbridge; 

1707 Lord Gower commissions architect William Smith of Warwick to redesign the old hall into something which should be 'larger, higher and handsomer than it was before'; 

Between 1759 and 1780 there was a further development of the estate, involving Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, who fashioned a fitting garden and enlarged the lake. 

In 1833, the Marquess of Stafford, on being promoted to duke, called in Sir Charles Barry to remodel his house and gardens. Barry transformed the house into an Italianate mansion with a noble semi-circular frontage and laid out a sequence of terraces running down to the lake.

  • Even before the development of the estate as a public pleasure park, after the Sutherlands had left, the pottery factory works enjoyed access to the park and woodlands. Charles Shaw in his autobiography  'When I was a Child' recalls once such outing in the 1840's.   

  • In 1905, due to pollution of the River Trent from the sewerage and industrial polution, the Sutherland family abandond the estate and most of the Hall was demolished in 1911.

  • A company 'Trentham Gardens Ltd' was established to develop and open the gardens to the public. 

  • The swimming pool was built in the late 1920's in the art deco style.

  • In the early 1960's there was seating capacity for 1,000 people. 

  • The pool closed in the mid 1970's and was demolished in 1986. 

  • 1996 the estate was purchased by St. Modwen and a German Investor Willi Reitz.

  • In 2003 planning permission was given to develop the gardens and estate. 




Postcard of Trentham Open Air Swimming Pool
Postcard of Trentham Open Air Swimming Pool 
in the background is Trentham Lake



Advert for Trentham Gardens 'The Beauty Spot of the Midlands'
Advert for Trentham Gardens 
'The Beauty Spot of the Midlands'
advert from the Sutherland Collection

By the time of this advert the Sutherland family had left and their home, Trentham Hall had been demolished but the gardens remained and were opened to the public the miniature railway, swimming pool and ballrrom were all key attractions. 





This Postcard shows the art deco style of the buildings
This Postcard shows the art deco style of the buildings  


Postcard of Trentham Swimming Pool - there was seating for a thousand people around the pool
Postcard of Trentham Swimming Pool 
there was seating for a thousand people around the pool 





Postcard of Trentham Miniature Railway
Postcard of Trentham Miniature Railway 

The two trains ran on a single track with a passing point - when each train reached the end the seats were reversed for the return journey and the engine changed ends.

The two engines were called Golspie and Dunrobin which are areas in Sutherland. The Sutherland's ancestral Home was Dunrobin Castle at Golspie. 


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Related links...

Trentham Park and Hall - The client was the second Duke of Sutherland, of the Leveson-Gower family. He inherited in 1833 and at once began to make plans for a conversion and vast enlargement of the house existing on the site.
'An Out' to Trentham at Tunstall Wakes - Charles Shaw describes a day trip to Trentham park and woods in the 1840's.