A descriptive account of The
1893 advertising and trade journal.
Stoke Town Hall: Coming to the municipal buildings of the town, the first to attract our attention will be the Town Hall, which is a structure worthy of the town and its Corporation. It consists of a centre and two wings, and includes a large hall, used as an assembly room and theatre, enlarged in 1880 so as to hold 1,400 persons. At the same time, a council chamber, with Mayor's parlour and municipal offices were constructed on the ground floor. In the south are the county court offices; while the north wing is assigned to the county constabulary, and contains also a large room for the weekly sittings of the stipendiary magistrates' court, and the Keary Law Library.
Stoke Town Hall
The Market Hall, which was erected in 1883 at a cost of £5,085, stands in the centre of the town. It is an imposing building of red brick and red terracotta dressings, in the Late Tudor style, surrounding three sides of a square, and has on the south side a tower with clock, and Cambridge quarter chimes. The quadrangle, thus formed, is covered with a glass rood, forming an outside market. The Corporation, to whom the market belongs, has spared no expense to make the whole of the premises convenient to the stallholders and the public.
North Staffordshire Infirmary and Eye Hospital:
The noblest foundation associated with Stoke-on-Trent, is, however, the North Staffordshire Infirmary and Eye Hospital. This splendid institution was founded at Etruria in 1815, and was removed to its present site at Hartshill - a suburb of Stoke - in 1869. The foundation stone of the present building was laid on 25th June, 1866, by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, and the hospital was formally opened by the duchess of Sutherland, 16th December 1869. The total cost, including the site of ten acres, was nearly £39,000. In the main building, which is erected upon the detached block plan, there is provision for 131 patients, and there are also two detached blocks, known as the "Victoria and Albert Wards." The former, which contains four beds, is used for the treatment of female cases requiring operations; and the latter, containing twenty beds, as an overflow ward. Near to the hospital is another detached building, erected at the sole cost of Sir Charles Child, Bart., of Stallington Hall, and used as a children's hospital for sixteen patients. The annual cost of conducting the children's hospital is estimated at about £600. The total cost of the North Staffordshire Infirmary in 1889-90, arising from invested capital, was £10,118 14s. 10d. At Hartshill also is situated an independent institution for nurses.
Before quitting the public edifices of the town, we should draw the visitor's attention to the bronze statue of the late Josiah Wedgwood, which faces the railway station, and was erected in 1863. It is considered to be a very faithful likeness of the "Father of English Pottery."
In the High Street is a monument to Colin Minton Campbell, Esq., bearing the following inscription: -
COLIN MINTON CAMPBELL,
BORN AUGUST 27th, 1827.
DIED FEBRUARY 8th, 1885,
HIGH SHERIFF, 1869,
M.P. FOR NORTH STAFFORD, 1874 TO 1880,
THRICE MAYOR STOKE, 1880 TO 1883,
A LEADING TOWNSMAN,
A GENEROUS FRIEND.
High Street and Campbell Statue
Education: As will be readily supposed from our introductory remarks upon the pottery district, generally, so important a component community as that of Stoke-on-Trent is well to the front in the matter of education. For the purposes of elementary instruction a School Board of nine members was formed March 20th, 1871, and these authorities have now five handsome schools in various parts of the district. There are also several national schools, and also schools belonging to the various sectarian bodies. Here, as in all the chief towns of the Potteries, special attention is devoted to instruction in science and art. The Stoke School of Science and Art in Eldon Place, London Road, was erected in 1856 as a memorial to the late Herbert Minton, Esq., a gentleman whose name has become almost as well known in connection with pottery as that of the great Wedgwood himself. In this school thoroughly competent teachers are employed, and the instruction imparted is both sound and practical, being of the greatest service to those engaged in the staple industry of the district.
In connection with the educational facilities of the town mention must not be omitted of the splendid institution, known as the Free Library and Museum, situated in the London Road. This fine establishment, which was opened in 1878, comprises a library of 9,061 volumes, including the former Athenaeum Library. There is also an extensive museum, rich in entomological and geological specimens, and including also a valuable collection of ancient and modern pottery, the bulk of which was formerly in the possession of the late Mr. Enoch Wood. There is a large reading room supplied with London and provincial newspapers and magazines; and there is also a loan collection form the South Kensington Museum, changed annually, and comprising oil paintings, photographs of works of art, European and Oriental pottery, and other objects of interest. the institution has also a permanent loan from the National Art Gallery, consisting of oil paintings by turner, Sidney Cooper, Pickersgill, Williams, and smith, valued at £2,400.
It will thus be seen that the district under notice is well supplied, as far as outward appearance goes, with those buildings and institutions that show the existence of a healthy public spirit, and a desire to improve the lot of all the members of the community. But, however anxious a town may be for social advancement, such public works as those, which have been carried out by Stoke, are only possible in a prosperous district, where work is plenty and wages are high. In this latter respect Stoke is probably more favourably situated even than any of the other flourishing towns, which constitute the Potteries.
Pottery manufacture: The influence of Josiah Wedgwood is probably more apparent here than in any other part of the district; and the factories in the neighbourhood of Stoke are given up almost exclusively to the production of specimens of the potter's art, not to be excelled in any other part of the world. It will thus be seen that Stoke has every need for the existence of those excellent art schools to which we have referred; for the industry here depends in no small measure upon the exercise of individual taste and skill. Most of the materials used in the factories in and around Stoke are brought from a distance. China clay and Cornish stone, or decomposed granite are imported from Cornwall, clay from Dorset, and bones, borax, &c., from other parts of the country; the only necessary found in abundance upon the spot being the coal. The hovel, or oven, in which the wares are fired, is a conspicuous feature of the various works.
The neighbourhood of Stoke boasts many of the largest and most important china and earthenware manufactories in the Potteries, and include world-famed establishments for the production of china, earthenware and porcelain statuary, and art tiles of the highest quality and character. At the same time the humbler, and none the less useful, branches of the art are not neglected. The town also contains able representatives of other crafts and the various departments of other commercial activity, being in every way self contained, and dependent upon no other district for the supply of either the necessaries or luxuries of life, which are found in abundance in the handsome warehouses and shops which line the chief thoroughfares of the town. In the following pages we give our readers some account of those leaders of commerce and industry, to whose enterprise and energy the district owes much of the importance it has attained.