A descriptive account of The
1893 advertising and trade journal.
If Burslem can claim to be the mother of the Potteries, and Hanley the capital, Stoke-on-Trent has certainly the right to be considered the parent of the civil and political divisions into which this busy and populous region is now portioned. In fact, in all relating to Municipal and Parliamentary matters, Stoke has always shown the way to the whole of North Staffordshire, and would, no doubt, in the opinion of the outside world, be ranked before these towns, which, in the immediate district, are regarded as standing at the head of the Potteries.
Under the Reform Act of 1832 the Parliamentary Borough of Stoke was made to embrace the townships of Burslem, Hanley, Fenton, Tunstall, and Longton, as well as many others; and, although at the Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885, the district, coveted by its representation, was considerably curtailed, Stoke still exercises a very widespread influence upon the political opinion of the neighbourhood. As a seat of the pottery industry also, the town, as we shall see, enjoys a reputation second to none in the district; while, for general commercial importance, it may certainly claim to be at the head of the north division of the county.
North Staffordshire Railway Company: The admirable railway facilities possessed by the town have, no doubt, contributed largely to the development of the neighbourhood. Here are situated the principal station and head offices of the North Staffordshire Railway Company, which comprise a long range of buildings, including a spacious hotel, all in the Elizabethan style, and forming an attractive feature of architectural interest to the town. By various branch lines the town is brought into communication with the leading railway systems of England, and is in the centre of a network of lines connecting all the town of the pottery district. Steam tramways ply between the town and Longton, Hanley, and Burslem, a total distance of five and three-quarter miles; while a branch line has been laid down to Oak Hill, a distance of one mile.
Utilities: In 1874, Stoke-on-Trent, whose parish includes nearly the whole of the pottery district, was made a municipal borough by Royal Charter, and is now governed by a Corporation consisting of the Mayor, six Aldermen, and eighteen councilors. This body also acts as the Urban Sanitary Authority and the Burial Board. The Corporation has done much to improve the district under its control, and few towns in the kingdom of its size contain so many wide and well-paved streets and handsome public buildings as Stoke-on-Trent. The town is admirably lighted by gas, from works the property of the Corporation; while there is also a copious supply of excellent water by a private company.
Stoke Parish Church
Parish establishment of St. Peter: First among the public buildings, which will attract the attention of the visitor are the churches, at the head of which stands the parish establishment of St. Peter. The old parish church of Stoke was situated in the immediate vicinity of Rykenield Street; and the present church, which was rebuilt in 1826-29, stands on glebe land, formerly attached to the old churchyard. It is a very handsome structure in stone, in the Early English style, built from designs by Messrs. Trubshaw and Johnson, of Haywood. It consists of chancel with vestries, rectangular nave, with quasi aisles, and an embattled western tower of four stages, with crocheted pinnacles, and containing a fine peal of eight bells. There are porches on either side of the tower and the interior is surrounded on three sides by galleries. The east window and four others in the chancel are beautifully stained.
The interior of the church is interesting from its many monuments, many of which were removed from the old church, erected to the memory of notable people connected with district. Chief among these is the monument to the memory of Josiah Wedgwood, F.R.S., F.S.A., with a bust by his friend, and former employee, Flaxman. Others commemorate the Very Rev. John C. Woodhouse, D.D., Dean of Lichfield, seventeen years rector of Stoke, and a great benefactor to the town and the church, d. 1833; John Tomlinson, patron of the living, d. 1838; Josiah Spode, Esq., d. 1827, and his son Josiah, d. 1839, with emblematic sculpture by William Behnes; John Poulson, twenty-two years sacrit, d. 1691, and Joan his wife, d. 1688, and to the family of Fenton, 1782-92, and many others.
In the churchyard are two stones which bear ample testimony to the salubrity of the neighbourhood. They are to the memory of Sibil Clarke, d. 1684, aged 112 years, and Henry Clark, also 112 years old. The registers of the church date back to 1630. Stoke enjoy the honour of having given its first suffragan-bishop to Shrewsbury, the right Rev. Sir Lovelace Tomlinson Stamer, Bart., D.D., of Trinity College, Cambridge, having been rector of Stoke since 1858. There are also in the neighbourhood other handsome churches, which have been made heads of ecclesiastical parishes by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
The Catholic Church, was erected in 1857, and dedicated to Our Lady of the Angels and St. Peter ad Vincula, with girls' schools attached, controlled by the Sisters on the Third Order of St. Domini, and there is also connected with the convent a hospital for incurables, available for thirty patients.
Other denominations: The Baptists, Congregationalists, New Connexion and Wesleyan Methodists, and other nonconformist bodies have places of worship in the town, all liberally supported by their respective congregations. The borough cemetery, which was laid out in 1883 at a cost of over £10,000, covers an area of twenty-one acres, and is very beautifully arranged.