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A descriptive account of The Potteries (illustrated)
1893 advertising and trade journal.


Hanley, the most populous town in North Staffordshire, is generally described as the capital of the Potteries, a title to which it has certainly the greatest pretensions; for, if it cannot claim that historic association with the industry which belongs peculiarly to Burslem, it has during the present century made such strides in the art, as to overtake and pass all competitors. At the census of 1891, the population of the municipal borough reached the total of 54,846; and such is the prosperity of the district, that at the present time this number has been very largely increased. No doubt the situation of the town has had much to do with its rapid growth, for it is placed almost directly in the centre of the district, being about two miles south of Burslem, three miles north-west of Longton, and about a mile and a half due north of Stoke. It is well placed 

for transit purposes, being quite close to the Cauldon branch of the Trent and Mersey Canal, and occupies a healthy situation upon an eminence overlooking the whole district. In 1857 the townships of Hanley and Shelton, forming a portion of the parish of Stoke-upon-Trent, were incorporated, and now constitute the municipal borough of Hanley, all local authority being vested in the Corporation. The borough has a commission of the peace, and a separate Court of Quarter Sessions, granted in November 1883. By the Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885, Hanley was made a Parliamentary borough, comprising the boroughs of Hanley and Burslem, and so much of the borough of Stoke-upon-Trent as lies north of Hanley, and is not included in the local government district of Tunstall. For this district, one member is returned. Under the Local Government Act of 1888, Hanley, for certain purposes, is declared a county borough.

Crown Bank, Hanley Town Centre
Crown Bank, Hanley Town Centre

During the forty years that the town has possessed its own municipality, the borough has been very greatly improved. The streets are wide and well paved, being admirably lighted by the British Gas Light Company Limited; while there is an excellent water supply by the Staffordshire Potteries Water Works Company. The drainage system has been carried out upon the most improved principles, the configuration of the district admirably lending itself to a perfect system of sewage; and the death rate of the borough is remarkably low for an industrial town. The town is connected with Burslem, Stoke, and Longton by steam trams.

Hanley possesses many features of architectural interest, forming splendid monuments to the public spirit of its burgesses past and present. Among these the first to attract our attention will be the churches. 

St. John the Evangelist (Hanley):
The parish church of St. John the Evangelist was founded and endowed with 500 in 1737 by Mr. J. Bourne, of Newcastle-under-Lyme, the site upon which the old church was erected having been presented by Mr. Adams, of Birches Head. The church, which was afterwards enlarged by Mr. Bourne at a cost of 140, was rebuilt in 1788, when a sum of no less than 6,000 was expended upon it; and the building was consecrated in 1790. This period is the one at which ecclesiastical architecture was at its lowest ebb in this country; and Hanley parish church shared in the general depression of taste. It is a plain brick edifice in a debased style of Gothic, and comprises a chancel and nave, quasi-aisles and a western tower of three stages, with embattled parapet of pinnacles, containing a clock and eight bells hung at a cost of 500. The church was restored and reseated in 1885, at an expenditure of 1,200, and has now 1,250 seats, 500 of which are free.

The church of St. Mark (Shelton):

St. Mark's Shelton
St. Mark's Shelton

Shelton township, which constitutes the southern portion of the borough, was formed into an ecclesiastical parish in May, 1843. The church of St. Mark is a much more beautiful edifice then St. John's. It was erected in 1833-4, and cost the large sum of 11,000. It is a large stone building in the gothic style, after the designs by Messrs. Pickersgill and Tates, architects, of York. The church was consecrated on 19th June, 1834, by Bishop Ryder, of Lichfield, who presented the communion plate. The building, which has a beautiful stained-glass eastern window, consists of a chancel, nave, aisles, and an embattled western tower, in four stages, 120 feet in height, containing a clock and bells. There are sittings for 2,000 worshippers.

Holy Trinity (Northwood):
The ecclesiastical parish of Northwood was formed in 1845. The church, Holy Trinity, which was consecrated in 1849, is a handsome stone structure in the Early English style, consisting of a chancel, nave, aisles and low western tower, with spire; there are 530 sittings. At the same time that Northwood was formed into an ecclesiastical parish, similar divisions were made of Hope and Wellington. The church of the former, also dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was consecrated in 1848. the building is a very attractive one in a modern imitation of the Norman style of architecture. It consists of a chancel, nave, aisles and small embattled western tower. There are 650 seats, of which 400 are free.

St. Luke's (Wellington):
The parish church of Wellington is St. Luke's, which was erected in 1854. It is an imposing structure in the Early English style, comprising chancel, nave, north aisle, and north and west porch, the latter having been added in 1878; there is also an incomplete tower. In 1847 an organ chamber was built, and an organ introduced, the church at the same time being reseated at a cost of 900. The church contains a handsome stained glass window, erected in 1878 to the memory of Bishop Selwyn. In 1887 a new reredos was introduced. There are 800 sittings, 477 being free.

Sacred Heart, Catholic Church (Jasper St. Hanley): 
In Jasper Street is situated the Catholic Church, dedicated to the Sacred Heart. It is one of the handsomest that belongs to the Catholic body in the Midlands. The building, which was completed in 1891, at an outlay of 8,000, is of brick, with stone dressings, in the French gothic style, after designs by Messrs. R. Serivener and Sons, architects of Hanley. There is also a Catholic Chapel, dedicated to our Blessed Lady and St. Patrick, erected in 1860. The Presbyterian Church, in Trinity Street, which was taken down in 1884 owing to fire, has since been rebuilt. The present structure is a very handsome building in Gothic style, consisting of nave, aisles, transepts, and western tower. It will seat 500 people.

Other denominations:
The Congregationalists, Baptists, Wesleyan, New Connexion Methodists, and other Nonconformist bodies have places of worship in the town, all liberally supported by their respective congregations. There is also a Jews' Synagogue. The Congregationalists possess one of the finest groups of buildings in the town, known as the Tabernacle Church, to which are attached a lecture hall, schools, vestries, and class rooms. The buildings, which are situated in High Street, are in the perpendicular style of architecture, erected with red brick and stone. In the centre rises an embattled tower, with octagonal stair turret and pyramidal spire, attaining a total height of 100 feet. The lecture hall, which is a very spacious apartment, has a richly traceried window of seven lights. Below the chapel is a large hall, around which are placed the various school and class rooms, and a library. The buildings are a great credit to the local members of the body to which they belong, who subscribe most liberally to their sustenance.

Bethesda Methodist Chapel, Hanley Town Centre The Tabernacle, Hanley 
Bethesda Methodist Chapel, Hanley Town Centre The Tabernacle, Hanley