A descriptive account of The
1893 advertising and trade journal.
Although one of the smallest of six chief towns of the Potteries, to which our introductory remarks especially allude, Longton is still a borough of considerable industrial and commercial importance, and boasts a population that would, in many less concentrated parts of the country, raise it to the first rank among towns. As it is, all who take an interest in the great pottery industries, will always remember that it was at Longton Hall that the earliest attempts to manufacture porcelain in this country were made. As early as 1756, a manufactory of English porcelain was established here, and ware of great lightness and beauty was produced, fully equaling that for which Chelsea was famous. It will thus be seen that Longton deserves to rank with Burslem as one of the historic towns of the Potteries. Longton, which is situated in the extreme south of the district, is connected by the Stoke and Derby branch of the North Staffordshire Railway with the great trunk lines of England, and so enjoys excellent facilities for transport purposes. An Act of Parliament was passed in 1839 for lighting, watching and improving the town, and under the powers thus given Longton was well supplied both with gas and water. A charter of Incorporation was obtained April 3rd, 1865, and during the year 1883 and 1884, the Corporation obtained Acts of Parliament, extending the Municipal area so as to include the outlying districts of Dresden, East Vale, Florence and Normacott. Under its Charter of Incorporation, Longton is governed by a Mayor, nine aldermen and thirty Councillors.
Parish church of St. James the Less
Parish church of St. James the Less: The town is well paved, and the streets are broad and well kept. There are several buildings that will arrest the attention of the visitor. the first of these is the parish church of St. James the Less, which was made the head of an ecclesiastical district in 1833, and consecrated June 20, 1834, by Bishop Ryden of Lichfield. It is a handsome building of stone in the Perpendicular style, consisting of a pentagonal chancel, clerestoried nave, aisles, north and south porches, and an embattled western tower, ninety feet in height, with pinnacles. In June, 1878, a very fine organ, one of the best in the Potteries, was introduced, and in 1887 a memorial window was placed at the east end, to the late Rev. Adam-Clarke, vicar, by his parishioners and friends. The church has 1,500 sittings.
The Church of St. John the Baptist was made the head of an ecclesiastical parish in 1866. The church, which is in Church Street, was begun in 1763, and completed and consecrated in 1764. In 1792 an Act was obtained for rebuilding it upon the same site, the right of presentation being vested in thirty-four trustees and their heirs. The church, which was enlarged in 1827-8, is a spacious structure of brick, in the Early English style, consisting of nave, aisles, transepts, south porch, and an embattled western tower, with pinnacles, containing eight bells and a clock, purchased by subscription in 1816. The church contains a memorial window to Thomas Plant of this parish, erected by his family. The interior of the church is very commodious, having sittings for 2,000 persons, half of which are free. The churchyard is now closed for ordinary interments.
St. Paul's Edensor, was formed into an ecclesiastical parish in 1846. The church is a plain building of stone in the Gothic style, comprising a chancel, nave, aisles, south porch, and a turret at the north end. There are 900 sittings. There are also mission rooms connected with the various district churches.
Interior of St. Gregory's Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, dedicated to St. Gregory, in Heathcote Road was erected in 1869. It is an edifice of brick in the Gothic style, consisting of a chancel, nave and aisles. The Old Chapel, in connection with the Catholic community, is now used as a schoolroom.
Other denominations: The Baptists, Congregationalists, Wesleyan, New Connection and Primitive Methodists, and other Nonconformists bodies, have all places of worship in the town, liberally supported by their respective congregations.
The Borough Cemetery, which is prettily situated between Longton and Dresden, was consecrated in 1878. It covers an area of ten acres, and is under the control of the Corporation, acting as the Burial Board.
Municipal buildings: Chief among the Municipal buildings of the town is the Town Hall and covered Market, which is situated near the railway station. The building, which is a very handsome structure, faced with stone and ornamented with suitable devices, was opened in 1863. The Corporation has also a court house and police station in Commerce Street; while the Public Baths, erected by the authorities in 1881, at a cost of £10,500, are among the handsomest buildings in the town, as well as the most popular. The Queen's Theatre, which is situated in Commerce Street, is a fine brick building, erected in 1888, at a cost of about £8,000, and redecorated and upholstered in 1890 at a further cost of £4,000. It is now one of the best in Staffordshire, and is visited by all the best dramatic companies on tour. There is in the town a flourishing Mechanics' Institute, while the Free Library Act has been recently adopted, and arrangements are being speedily made for establishing a library suitable to the requirements of the town.
Education: As in all the towns in the Pottery district, special attention is devoted to education in Longton. At the head of the educational establishments of the town stands the Longton Endowed School, which was erected in 1885 in Trentham Road. This admirable institution is supported chiefly by funds arising from Bourne's charity and the Dillhorn endowment. The school will accommodate 200 boys, who receive both a classical and commercial education. A thoroughly competent teaching staff is employed, the head-master being Mr. E. Haigh, M.A., B.Sc. A School Board, of nine members, was founded 30th January, 1871, and there are five elementary schools in connection with it in various parts of the district. There are also national and secular schools, all conducted upon the most improved principles.
Industry: As we stated in opening these brief remarks, Longton has from a very early date enjoyed a large amount of celebrity among the Pottery towns for the excellence of its productions in this important branch of industrial activity. But although the manufacture of china and earthenware forms the staple industry, it is by no means the only one associated with town. There are in the vicinity a considerable number of collieries and ironstone mines, which give employment to a large number of hands; and there are also breweries, maltings, and brick-making factories, all in the most flourishing condition. Beyond these, many find profitable occupation in the minor craft, while, as the following pages will show, all the usual branches of commerce are followed with great enterprise in the district. If one of the smallest, Longton is still, for its size, one of the most prosperous towns in the Pottery district, and one, too, that is capable of great development in the near future.
Suburbs: Dresden, Florence and Normscott are suburbs of Longton, and are all flourishing industrial centres, surrounded by beautiful scenery. Normscott is especially noted for its picturesqueness, and in its neighbourhood rise several streams of pure water, from which many of the Pottery towns are supplied.