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



BURSLEM

The Borough Cemetery is one of the most beautiful in the country. It was consecrated in 1879, and cost 20,500. It is under the control of the Corporation, which acts as the Burial Board. The Cemetery occupies a splendid situation upon a hill known as Nettle Bank, and covers an area of thirty-two acres. It contains many beautiful walks and shrubberies, and has a fine avenue of trees leading up to the mortuary chapel, which stands in the middle of the grounds.

Burslem Town Hall
Burslem Town Hall

 

Town Hall: Chief among the municipal buildings of the borough, we must mention the Town Hall, which was erected in 1854 from plans by Mr. T. G. Robinson. It is a handsome stone building of two stories, with balustraded parapet, and central turret, containing a clock with four dials. The interior embraces a magistrates' room, a large apartment used for entertainments and public meetings, the mayor's parlour, and offices.

The markets: which was erected in 1835-6, is a spacious stone structure, with fine classical portico. The market here was established in 1825 by Act of Parliament. The market days are Mondays and Saturdays. St. John's Market, erected in 1879, at a cost of 20,000, covers an area of 2,100 square yards. It is build of red brick with stone dressings, in the Gothic style. It has a magnificent facade, 125 feet in length, occupied by shops, while the rooms above are let as offices.

Haywood Charity Hospital: Until the death of Mr. Howard Haywood in 1876, the parochial charities of Burslem only amounted to 30 per annum, but the prosperity and independence of the town's people rendered this quite sufficient for their necessities. But at the death of the gentleman above-named the town became possessed of the magnificent sum of 30,000, left by Mr. Haywood, "for the deserving poor and sick of Burslem and neighbourhood." One of the purposes to which this splendid legacy was devoted was the establishment of the Haywood Charity Hospital, which was erected in 1887 at a cost of 8,200. The building, which is in Moorland Road, is a handsome structure of red brick with stone facings, and has accommodation for twenty-four in-patients. The income of the institution is derived partly from the legacy of Mr. Howard Haywood, and partly from money left by his brother, the late Mr. Richard Haywood. 

Mayor of Burslem: A prominent inhabitant of Burslem is Mr. James Maddock, J.P., who is vice-chairman of the Staffordshire Potteries Waterworks Company, also a Commissioner of Taxes. He has been Mayor of Burslem for two years, and during his Mayoralty he presented Burslem with the handsome drinking fountain, which stands in the centre of St. John's Square. He is a large subscriber to the funds of the Wedgwood Institute, and the Burnt wards of the Haywood Hospital were built entirely at his own expense. His family have also made munificent gifts to the town, including the mayoral chain.

Education: In our introductory remarks we referred to the excellence of the educational facilities in all the pottery towns, and it is not to be supposed that Burslem is behind the others in this most important particular. The town can boast excellent educational establishments for all grades, while there are also most successful are schools, conducted with a view to giving the younger members of the community a thorough technical training in the art of designing. We also referred in our opening pages to the fact that Burslem leads all the towns of the district in the fascinating art of music. The various societies devoted to harmonic purposes are all admirably supported, and the concerts given by them during the winter months attract the attention of critics and lovers of music from all the towns in the Midlands. 

Wedgwood Memorial Institute: In connection with education in Burslem, we must refer to the noble establishment known as the Wedgwood Memorial Institute. The idea, of which this splendid institution is the outcome, was first projected in 1859, when at a large public meeting it was decided to perpetuate in some fitting manner, the memory of Josiah Wedgwood's eminent services to the pottery trade. The first stone of the Institute was laid in 1863 by the right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, and the building was declared open, in April, 1869, by the Marques of Ripon (the Earl de Grey and Ripon). The structure, which is of imposing appearance, is in the pointed style, from design by Mr. R. Edgar. It is very extensively decorated with local terra cotta, the external details including twelve panels modelled by Mr. R. J. Morris, illustrating various processes of pottery manufacture, while above are life-size figures emblematical of the months of the year. These are surmounted by the signs of the zodiac. The porch contains three bas-reliefs, representing Flaxman (who began life as a modeller at Etruria Works), Bentley and Priestley, while a fine statue of Wedgwood himself forms the central feature of the elaborate facade. The interior of the building embraces a handsome entrance hall, a free library, reading room, and spacious lecture hall, with rooms for science and art classes, and others for meetings of friendly and industrial societies. The Institute is governed by the Corporation under the provisions of the Public Libraries Act. A wing, the upper floor of which is used as a museum, principally for ancient pottery, has since been erected at the cost of W. Woodall, Esq., M.P. The reading room was also enlarged in 1891, at a cost of 3,000.

Pottery manufacture: We have already referred more than once to the importance of Burslem, at a very remote period, as the chief seat of pottery manufacture in the district, and there can be no doubt that at a very early date the clays and marls of the neighbourhood had gained a reputation extending even to the continent of Europe, for in 1688, when Elers, from Holland, settled in the district, it was at Dimsdale, near Burslem, that they set up their establishment on account of its peculiar geological foundation, information of which they had evidently previously secured. At the present time, in addition to local clays, china clay from Cornwall, and other clays from Dorsetshire are largely used in the various factories. The ceramic productions of the town and neighbourhood embrace china and earthenware, Parian porcelain, white ware, graniteware, black ware, and ironstone china. In all these branches very beautiful specimens of work are produced, and Burslem war finds its way to every quarter of the globe, and is everywhere appreciated for its beauty of form and colour. There are also extensive coal and ironstone works in the vicinity, giving employment to a large number of workmen. Among other factories in the neighbourhood we may mention colour works, glass works, flint mills, tileries, brickyards and foundries. At the same time, as the following pages will show, the town also boasts able representatives of all the minor crafts that minister to the requirements of civilized life, while every branch of commercial activity finds prosperous and enterprising exponents. In fact, Burslem may be said to be completely self-contained, and its inhabitants may obtain in the emporiums, which line the various busy thoroughfares, every article that necessity of luxury can demand.

The population of Burslem at the last census was 30,862.