the local history of Stoke-on-Trent, England

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Focus on - Stoke-on-Trent and Australia

  • The first British settlement in Australia was at Port Jackson (Sydney) in 1788 as a penal colony.  Norfolk Island served as a convict penal settlement from 1788 until 1794, and again from 1824 to 1847. 

  • In 1803, Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) was also settled as a penal colony and in the 1840's Chartists from Stoke-on-Trent were deported to there and there was also a massive influx of immigrants during the Australian gold rushes of the 1850's. 

  • Exports of earthenware and china from the Potteries to Australia in the first six months of 1867 was 43,962 (the equivalent worth in 2010 would be 4,100,000) 

Stoke-on-Trent provided Australia with crockery, convicts, political deportees, emigrants and a Prime Minister!

 


 


Farewell 'Tea Meeting' to celebrate three people leaving Stoke-on-Trent
for Australia in 1852
 


 

Convict Potters..

Convict Potters:

The production of pottery ware began soon after settlement in Hobart. By 1816, ex-convict James Brammer had established a pottery, using moulds to produce tobacco pipes and other items.

Port Arthur Penal Settlement also had a pottery, operated by convicts from the early 1840s until at least 1870. Its wares were displayed in exhibitions, at times supplied the government's wants in Port Arthur and Hobart, and were sold to the Hobart public.

It is known that Josiah Spode's grandson Josiah emigrated to Tasmania where he held a position as Controller of Convicts.


Jonathon Leak - a potter from Burslem - arrived in Australia as a convict in 1819. After getting a ticket-of-leave he started a business as a pot maker and by 1828 was employing over 20 free men. Jonathan Leak was the most successful potter of the early developing period of Australia.

  • In 1798 at St.John's Church, Burslem Leak had married Mary Wood, the niece of pottery manufacturer Enoch Wood - around 1805 to 1818 Leak established his own pottery works in Commercial Street, Burslem. 

Jonathan Leak's fall and subsequent rise to fame came as a result of he and two friends burgling the home of Mrs Chatterley of Shelton on the night of Sunday 20th December 1818.......The three convicted men were sentenced to hang but were reprieved but to be deported to Australia for life.......On the 31st July 1819 the three sailed in the brig Recovery for Sydney, Australia.

All the prisoners had to do useful work, and Leaks talents as a potter were quickly realised by Macquarie, the Governor of New South Wales, who immediately put him to paid work in the adjacent Government Pottery. This had been built in about 1790 on the site of a large deposit of high quality pipe and potters clay. He made many improvements to the pottery making processes and in consequence of this and his good conduct, he was granted a ticket of leave in September 1822 and permitted to do the best he could for himself. He no longer had to work as an assigned man for a master and he was able to spend the rest of his sentence working for himself wherever he pleased provided he stayed within the colony. He still had restrictions placed on him and had to ensure good behavior and the ticket of leave could be revoked at any time.

While working in the Government Pottery, Leak realised the potential for setting up his own business and this was soon granted. 

He wrote to his wife Mary suggesting that she and the children come to join him. She and four of the children, Stephen aged 14, Ann aged 11, Elijah aged 6 and Kitty aged 3 were given free passages and they arrived on the ship Mary Ann early in 1822. In April of that year, Leak wrote to the new Governor, Sir Thomas Brisbane, for permission for his other two sons to join them. 

It was not until July 1826 that Lewis, then aged 22, arrived on the ship Fairfield, the other son having died. Lewis brought with him a considerable quantity of moulds for the purpose of carrying on the Wedgewood manufacturing in the Colony.

In July 1823 Leak successfully obtained two land grants, close to the Government Pottery, which enabled him to establish his own pottery. By 1828, Leak's pottery was employing over twenty free men. He was the only potter operating in the colony and two short articles in 1828 in 'The Australian' newspaper reported the production of 40,000 bricks weekly. 

Several advertisements in the newspaper appeared offering the sale of malt kiln tiles, oven tiles, common bricks, ginger beer and other bottles, stone jars for pickling and preserving, and earthenware of all sorts. 

Unfortunately, by February 1828, his health had deteriorated and in a letter to the Governor, he wrote that he was in a very weakly state; furthermore, his wife had been for some time confined to a bed of sickness. His two sons, Lewis and Stephen, took over the day-to-day running of the pottery. That same year, Jonathan petitioned the Governor for a conditional pardon, which will enable him to support his family with credit and educate them in the paths of rectitude. The conditional pardon was granted and it gave him citizenship of the colony but no right to return to England.

Source: National Library of Australia

Also see: Jonathan Leak

This work produced in Australia was similar to a piece Leak produced at his works in Burslem
This work produced in Australia was similar to a piece 
Leak produced at his works in Burslem

 


c.1825 glazed bottle manfactured by Leak 
these bottles would typically have been made for whisky, rum or ginger ale

 The pieces featured in both these photographs are on display in the National Museum of Australian Pottery in Holbrook N.S.W. Australia. 
An archaeological dig in Sydney in 2007 led to the Museum holding the first ever exhibition of convict pottery recovered from the site of Jonathan Leak, whose origins began in Burslem

Web page www.australianpottery.net.au

 


 

Political prisoners.. 

 

 Chartists:

In 1841 a large group of Chartist miners and pottery workers were sentenced to transportation at Stoke-on-Trent.

Fifty-one (56?) miners and potters from around Stoke-on-Trent in north Staffordshire were transported to Van Diemen's Land on the John Renwick in 1843, the last English group who can be described as political prisoners. Most were tried at a special commission of assize, 11 Stafford on I October 1842 for crimes arising from large-scale rioting in Stoke and adjacent towns starting on 15 August.

 

- click for a contemporary account of the chartist transportation -


 

 

 

 

 

Emigration.. 

Emigrants: 

Until the 1870's there was only a trickle of assisted emigrants from the Midlands. The late nineteenth century saw increased emigration from the Midlands. Over 1,000  Midlanders were assisted to Queensland between 1876 and 1879, of which 431 came from largely industrial Staffordshire. Staffordshire usually made the largest contribution of assisted migrants of any Midlands county. Many from Staffordshire were coal miners. 


The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins. Migration from the Midlands.  Edited by James Jupp

The English in Australia. James Jupp

 

Migration from the Midlands

 

 


 

 


poster from 1852 - advertising a 'Tea Meeting' to send off three members
who were emigrating to Australia

poster kindly supplied by Annette Watson from Sydney, Australia

 

AUSTRALIA
the public are respectfully informed that a farewell
TEA MEETING
will be held in the
PRIMITIVE METHODIST SCHOOL ROOM
TUNSTALL

on Tuesday, September 21st 1852
as a mark of respect to three much esteemed friends

James Platt, Jnr., Isaiah Marshall, and Charles Fullwood
who are about leaving their native country

Tea on the table at five o'clock
after tea, a meeting will be held
when addresses will be delivered by several friends, interspersed with
singing, recitations, &c


Tea meetings were popular in religious (Methodist, Brethren, Unitarian) circles in the 1800's as entertainment, celbratory events and often to raise funds for building work.
"Interesting and animated addresses" were given and there was usualy singing and recitations.

  • There is no indication of the reasons the three men were 'leaving their native country' to set up home in Australia - but it could have been the allure of the gold rush of the 1850's

 

 

 


the Primitive Methodist Church in Tunstall
where
James Platt, Jnr., Isaiah Marshall, and Charles Fullwood 
set out from for their journey to Australia in 1852
 



 

Transportation.. 

 

Transportation:

More than 16,000 convicts from the industrial Midlands were transported to Australia between 1788 and 1852. Convicts transported from the Midlands were even more overrepresented among man sent to Western Australia between 1850 and 1868, of whom 15% were convicted by Midland courts. Initially the courts in Shewsbury and Worcester were particularly active in sentencing but soon the emphasis shifted to the industrial areas including the Black Country and Stoke-on-Trent. 

 

 


Transportation order in 1851 for Jacob Elson, age 16 
who was transported from Tunstall to  Tasmania for 10 years
for stealing a jacket

- click for more -

 

 

Selection of extracts from the  Stafford Assizes of people from Stoke-on-Trent area who were sentenced to be transported to Australia.  

These extracts make facinating reading: the youngest transported was a 10 year old and the oldest 60. Some were transported for stealing as little as 'a piece of cheese' or 'a hat' . 
(w = writes, r = reads)

  • Vernon ABBOTTS, 18 [b. c1804], Trial Place Stafford, 1822.1 Assize. Offence: at Stoke-on-Trent; Theft, quantity of brass metal 'from an engine'. Victim: Marquis of Stafford; Sentence: Transportation, 7 years.

  • William ASTBURY, 35 [b. c1787], Tr.p. Stafford, 1822.1 Assize. Offence, at Lane End: theft of wearing apparel and shoes from Myatt & Co;  Sentence: transportation, 7 years.

  • William BAGNALL, 27 [b. c1808], Tr.p. Stafford, 1831.1 Assize. Offence, at Stoke-upon-Trent: theft - 1 cotton handkerchief and 10 shillings in copper coin, from John Salt. Sentence: transportation, 7 years. Having been previously convicted of felony. [w; r]

  • Albert(?) BAILEY, 24 [b. c1811], Tr.p. Stafford, 1835.2 Assize. Offence, at Stoke-upon-Trent: theft - 150 pieces of china, from Thomas Gerrard and others. Sentence: transportation, 7 years. On trial for 2 offences. [w; r]

  • Arthur BALL, 27 [b. c1793], Tr.p. Stafford, 1820.3 Assize. Offence, at Lane End: theft - cloth or clothing, from William Allen. Sentence: transportation, 7 years.

  • William BANNISTER, 27 [b. c1812], Tr.p. Stafford, 1839.2 Assize. Offence, at Stoke-upon-Trent: theft - 2 quarts of whiskey, 12 lbs of tea, and other articles, from Thomas Pickford, and another. Sentence: transportation, 10 years. [w; r]

  • Jeremiah BAYLEY, 21 [b. c1801], Tr.p. Stafford, 1822.1 Assize. Offence, at Burslem: theft - 1 pair of shoes, from Ephraim Meyer. Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • Samuel BAYLEY, 22 [b. c1806], Tr.p. Stafford, 1828.4 Assize. Offence, at Stoke-upon-Trent: theft - chest of tea, from William Wayte. Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • John BENTLEY, 14 [b. c1814], Tr.p. Stafford, 1828.1 Assize. Offence, at Lane End: theft - book, from Charles Watts (shopkeeper); Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • Nathan BENTON, 10 [b. c1819], Tr.p. Stafford, 1829.1 Assize. Offence, at Burslem: theft - watch, from John Lockett. Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • Thomas BETSON, 33 [b. c1799], Tr.p. Stafford, 1832.4 Assize. Offence, at Hanley: theft - 2 frocks, from Isaac Sherwin. Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • John BIRCH, 21 [b. c1799], Tr.p. Stafford, 1820.3 Assize. Offence, at Lane End: theft - 1 pr. breeches, 1 waistcoat, 1 shirt; from William Jervis. Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • William BIRCH, 19 [b. c1800], Tr.p. Stafford, 1819.2 Assize. Offence, at Lane End: theft - tobacco and soap, from Joseph Done;  Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • Job CHATTERLEY, 24 [b. c1809], Tr.p. Stafford, 1833.4 assizes; Offence, at Stoke-upon-Trent: theft - 1 basket knife, 2 earthen salt cellars, 24 dozen plates, 30 dishes, and a quantity of other articles, from William Ridgway; Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • Thomas DAVIS, 18 [b. c1813], Tr.p. Stafford, 1831.4 assizes; Offence, at Lane End: theft of a quantity of chinaware, from William Hilditch & Co; Sentence: T, 7 yrs. 

  • Sarah EMERY, 13 [b. c1818], Tr.p. Stafford, 1831.1 assizes; offence, at Lane End: robbery - theft of 2 cheeses, from William Plant;  Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • John FALLOWS, 60 [b. c1779], Tr.p. Stafford, 1839.4 assizes; offence, at Lane End: theft of a quantity of iron, from William Hanbury Sparrow; Sentence: T, 7 yrs. [r]. After a previous conviction for felony.

  • Christopher GIANERA, 36 [b. c1784], Tr.p. Stafford, 1820.4 assizes; offence, at Etruria: theft of brass furniture, other articles, from Josiah Wedgwood;  Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • Hannah HAMBLETON, 10 [b.1818], Tr.p. Stafford, 1828.4 assizes; offence, at Hanley: theft of 1 handkerchief, ribbon, and a net collar, from Edith Stevenson; Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • Henry HEATH, 26 [b.1812], Tr.p. Stafford, 1838.3 assizes; offence, at Bucknall: theft of malt, and other articles, from Jeremiah Beardmore; Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • John KENT, 19 [b. c1812], Tr.p. Stafford, 1831.4 assizes; offence, at Lane End: theft - quantity of chinaware, from William Hilditch & Co; Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • John KNIGHT, 18 [b. c1809], Tr.p. Stafford, 1827.1 assizes; offence, at Burslem: theft - hat, from John Tilston (market stallholder); Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • James LITTLEWOOD, 19, [b. c1806], Tr.p. Stafford, 1825.1 assizes; offence, at Burslem: theft - 5 silk handkerchiefs, from Samuel Tunnicliffe; Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • George LOWE, 29 [b. c1810], Tr. p. Stafford, 1839.4 assizes; offence, at Lane End: theft - 1 basket, 1 bag, 91lbs of flour, from John Britton; Sentence: T, 14 yrs. [r].

  • William MARTIN, 18 [b. c1801], Tr.p. Stafford, 1819.2 assizes; offence, at Lane End: theft - tobacco and soap, from Joseph Done; Sentence: T, 7 yrs;

  • James NIND, 28 [b. c1802], Tr.p. Stafford, 1830.3 assizes; offence, at Stoke-upon-Trent: theft - 19 hen fowls & 1 cock fowl, from John Smith; Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • John PRITCHARD, 14 [b. c1812], Tr.p. Stafford, 1826.4 assizes; offence, at Hanley: theft - money (5/-), from Jabez Wilson (shopkeeper); Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • John ROBERTS, 22 [b. c1808], Tr.p. Stafford, 1830.2 assizes; offence, at Burslem: theft - 300lbs of lead, fixed to a slip house, from John Riley Marsh and others; Sentence: T, 14 yrs.

  • John ROBINSON, 19 [b. c1800], Tr.p. Stafford, 1819.3 assizes; offence, at Newcastle: theft - 1 piece of printed cotton, from George Barnes; Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • Joseph SALT, 17 [b. c1816], Tr.p. Stafford, 1833.4 assizes; offence, at Stoke-upon-Trent: theft - 1 silk pocket handkerchief, from James Lindop; Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • Henry SAVERY, 29 [b. c1808], Tr.p. Stafford, 1837.3 assizes; offence, at Stoke-upon-Trent: theft - quantity of iron, from William Hanbury Sparrow; Sentence: T, 7 yrs. [ww; rw].

  • Alfred SHENTON, 18 [b. c1813], Tr.p. Stafford, 1831.4 assizes; offence, at Lane End: theft - quantity of chinaware, from William Hilditch & Co; Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • James SMITH, 14 [b. c1819], Tr.p. Stafford, 1833.1 assizes; offence, at Stoke-upon-Trent: theft - piece of leather, from John Tabbiner (master); Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • Felix STOKES, 19 [b. c1810], Tr.p. Stafford, 1829.4 assizes; offence, at Stoke-upon-Trent: theft - 12 china teacups, 12 china saucers, 2 china tea pots, and 16 china plates, from Thomas Drewry; Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • John TUNNICLIFFE, 20 [b. c1812], Tr.p. Stafford; 1832.1 assizes; offence, at Burslem: theft- 2 fowls, from George Frederick Bowers; Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • George TWIGG, 23 [b. c1808], Tr.p. Stafford, 1831.1. assizes; offence, at Stoke-upon-Trent: theft - 10 china tea cups, 10 china tea saucers, 1 china tea pot, 1 china sugar bowl, 2 china plates; from Richard Hicks & Partners; Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • John WALTON, 23 [b. c1804], Tr.p. Stafford, 1827.1 assizes; offence, at Hanley: theft of a coat, from John Hancock; Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • Richard WHITEHURST, 21 [b. c1814], Tr.p. Stafford, 1835.1 assizes; offence, at Stoke-upon-Trent: theft of 1 jug, 1lb and a half of treacle, half a pound of soap, 1lb of sugar, 1 basket, and other articles, from Richard Bloor; Sentence: T, 7  yrs. [w; r]. Having been previously convicted of felony.

  • James WOLFE, 20 [b. c1812], Tr.p. Stafford, 1832.4 assizes; offence, at Lane End: theft - a piece of cheese, from Ralph Baker; Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

  • Samuel YOXALL, 18 [b. c1810], Tr.p. Stafford, 1828.4 assizes; offence, at Wolstanton: theft - 1 bridle bit and other articles, from Charles Davenport; Sentence: T, 7 yrs.

 


 

and a Prime Minister.. 

 

 


Joseph Cook 
6th Prime Minister of Australia
Born 1860, Silverdale

 

 

 

 


Joseph Cooke (b.1860 d.1947), from his humble beginnings in Silverdale, amazingly become the Prime Minister of Australia on 24th June 1913 at the age of 52

  • Cook lived in Silverdale, Staffordshire and worked in the local coal mines during his early life.

  • The son of William Cooke, coalminer, and his wife Margaret. He grew up in poverty.

  • He had no formal education and worked in the coal mines from the age of nine. But as a result of the Elementary Education act of 1870 he was compelled to return to school until the age of 12 when he left school for the second time and he returned to the pit.

The pit he worked at was known locally as the "Big Pit" situated on the north side of Scott Hay road. Conditions at the pit were bad, with some long steep gradients and a hot atmosphere. Miners referred to it as the "Hell Hole".

In 1873 his father was killed in a pit accident and he became the family wage-earner, a responsibility which developed in him a high degree of self-confidence and a strong sense of obligation.

During his teens he embraced Primitive Methodism, and is sais to have marked his conversion by dropping the "e" from his surname.

Joseph married Mary Turner (whose brother was one of a number of Silverdale miners already settled at Lithgow, New South Wales) in August 1885 at Wolstanton Primitive Methodist Chapel, Stoke-on-Trent. The couple had 5 sons and 3 daughters.

Cook became a lay preacher and a successful public speaker. He also became involved in trade union affairs: before he was 25 he had been elected successively to all the executive positions in his union lodge, and had also become interested in political issues; he supported tariff protection as a method of improving working conditions in the coalmining industry. By the early 1880s Cook had fulfilled his obligations to his family and, after being several times unemployed, he decided to migrate.

Following the example of his brother-in-Law Jpseph and his family emigrated to New South Wales, Australia during the late 1880s.

  • Cook continued with his union activities and eventually became General-Secretary of the Western Miners Association in 1887.

  • A founding member of the Australian Labor Party, Cook was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as Member for Hartley on 3 July 1891.

  • Later Cook switched to the Free Trade Party, and was a minister in the cabinet of Premier George Reid from 1894 to 1899.

  • Cook was Postmaster-General 3 August 1894 to 27 August 1898.

Elected MP for Parramatta, NSW from 19011921 and as leader of the Liberal Party, Cook became Prime Minister for just over a year following the 1913 elections.

Cook resigned from Parliament in 1921 and was appointed Australian High Commissioner in London, where he served until 1927. During 1928 and 1929, he headed the Royal Commission into South Australia as affected by Federation. He died in Sydney in 1947, aged 86.

 

 


 

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