A photo walk across Stoke Fields to Winton's Wood, Stoke-on-Trent
- the parish of St. Simon and St. Jude

St. Jude's Church and Town


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By 1860 Stoke Road was becoming quite built up with new houses for  professional men and commercial premises, conveniently between Hanley and Stoke, and nearer to the railway than either. The railway now had over 113 miles of track with connections to all the major cities, and a local network serving the whole district. The old  Toll  Gate  cottage  had ceased to collect tolls, as its function  had  been  taken  over  by  the  new  Municipal Borough  of  Hanley,  previously part of  the Borough of Stoke-upon-Trent. Down  towards  the  railway bridge a  speculative  builder  had  laid  out  Queen  Anne  Street, which with the adjacent Panton Villa was convenient for railway workers.

Over in Stoke Fields, Victoria Place near Shelton Church had been extended over the farm land, across  Winton's Wood Glebe land to Station Road, and was now called Victoria Road. Similarly Stoke Road had been linked to Leek Road by the new Cauldon Road. At the other end of  Station  Road,  a  triangular  area  of  streets had been laid out near Winton Terrace, with modest dwellings for artisans and workingmen. Inglis, Lawrence, Havelock, Clyde, Wilson and Mayo Streets were centred on the new Roebuck Public House, a favourite haunt with railwaymen and carters.

The Leek Road level crossing had long been superseded by a new bridge under the railway into Glebe Street. This had been made necessary by the increasing conflict between rail and road traffic, even before the appearance of motor vehicles. The old level crossing route had been diverted down towards the Trent at the Seven Arches Viaduct to by-pass Stoke. Leek Road now had its row of terraced houses and the Terrace Public House, looking east  beyond  the  river,  over  Squire  Broade's. The first house on Leek Road was named aptly enough "Manor View", and still is.

Building development:
The next 30 years would see an unprecedented building boom all over the industrial towns, as workers flocked in for the work that the land could no longer provide. Lower infant mortality and better health meant that they came in increasing numbers. Landowners and farmers realised that there was more income per acre of new houses than crops  and  livestock, and  there  was a  ready market for homes.

The land immediately adjacent to  Stoke Road was the first to be developed, at Aynsley Road, Haywood, Newlands, Northcote and Elgin  Streets on Shelton Hall Estate land, and Cauldon Road, Beresford, Seaford and Ashford Streets on Stoke Parish Glebe Land. Meanwhile Victoria  Road  was  sporting  a  row  of  commercial premises  towards  the  Station  Road end, and  a  cricket ground for railwaymen  was established on  land  behind the  North  Stafford  Hotel.  In  1879  the Rector of Stoke built a Mission Church at the corner of Beresford Street and Victoria Road, anticipating the spiritual needs of the growing population, although there had been a Mission Chapel at St Anthony's Row, Newlands Street for some years earlier. The Rector of Stoke, John Herbert Crump appointed Rev. Edmund Spink as Curate of the new Mission Church of St Simon and St Jude in the centre of the new suburb.

Mission Church of St Simon and St Jude
at the corner of Beresford Street and Victoria Road

foundation stone
28th Oct 1879


For the next fifteen years the whole area must have resembled one endless building site. The noted architect George B. Ford, designer of schools, churches and hospitals was retained to oversee the "ford" streets. Ford, Guildford and Watford were  added to the extensions of Beresford, Seaford and Ashford Streets, which all included a reference to his name for posterity. On the other side of the fields behind Leek Road, Boughey Terrace was built, its name reflecting the owners of the land - the  Fenton-Boughey  family, and  the wall plaque shows the date 1882 for provenance. Ashford Street connected with Boughey Road, as it became, with the side streets of Carlton, Thornton, Spencer, Conway and Darnley Streets completing the pattern. The south side of Cauldon Road was similarly developed in part. The rows of terraced houses were interspersed with shop premises and gaps reserved for future specialist development.

The pavements would have been surfaced with blue bricks, and the carriageways channelled and sewered, but not made-up; they would have been termed "Private Streets", not being the responsibility of the Local Authority. In later years, Acts would be passed to enforce the frontagers to pay for their making-up, after which the streets would be taken over by the Authority. Towards the end of the century, when the introduction of motor vehicles demanded even better roads, the top layer of water-bound macadam gave way to a mixture of coal gas tar and gravel or even the natural asphalt which was being discovered throughout Europe. The asphalt lake in Trinidad was also becoming a prime source of supply.

Public services:
In these early days of Municipal Authority it is easy to imagine that public services and amenities would be primitive. On the contrary, water supply, sewerage and sewage disposal, gas and electricity, public transport and even   telephones  were   all  readily  available,  as  were schools, libraries and theatres: advances seen during  the last seventy years. 
In 1892 work began on the creation of Hanley  Park on the  remaining  Stoke  Fields land,  from  the Estate of Shelton Hall in Cemetery Road, and other land from the Rector of Stoke and the Fenton-Boughey Family. The Park and the smaller  associated  Flower (or Little)  Park took  five  years  to  create  at  a cost of 70,000. Seldom was public money better spent as later generations could testify.

Hanley Park Gates looking towards the Flower Park
The view out of Hanley park through two sets of wrought iron gates,
the road in between the two park areas is Victoria (now College) Road. 


On 11th of May 1895,  Queen Victoria in Council at Windsor decreed "... a separate district for spiritual purposes in that particular part of Stoke-on-Trent..." Here the Order in Council went on to define precisely to the last linear foot, the bounds of the new parish of St Simon and St Jude,

"...all that part of the Parish of Stoke-on-Trent in the County of Stafford in the Diocese of Lichfield, bounded in the west by the New Parish of Holy Trinity, Hartshill, in the north by the New Parish of Etruria, and the Parish of Shelton, and the New Parish of Wellington, the Parish of  Bucknall and   Bagnall, in  the  east by the  Parish of Caverswall, in the  south-east by   the  Parish of St  John  the  Baptist,  Lane  End and the  Parish of  Christchurch, Fenton and in the south west by......"

here the description resorts to roads, railways, natural and man-made features with precise distances in chains and feet.

The new church was to be built on land set aside from the housing development in Seaford Street, Cauldon Road and Beresford Street, and a further plot was reserved on adjacent land in Seaford Street, for a new parsonage at a cost of 135. The Shelton architects, Scrivenors were retained to design and build the new church with 800 seats, at a cost of 10,000.

Interior of St. Jude's


St Jude's was consecrated in 1901, the living being in the gift of the Rector of Stoke. The capable and loyal curate Edmund Spink was appointed to the living and in 1902 became rector in his own right.
The Church is now well established and will continue to serve the Parish for the next eighty years or more, but now is the time to insert some characters to add the human touch.

next: the 'incomers'
previous: railways and chartists

John Alcock - (c) Copyright 2006