A photo walk around Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent
Cobridge: A Victorian Suburb


Pottery Works in Cobridge:

When Bailey’s Directory was issued in 1784 there were seven potteries in Cobridge occupied by John Blackwell, Joseph Blackwell, Robert Bucknall (another Roman Catholic potter), Thomas & Benjamin Godwin, the partnership of Hales & Adams, Robinson & Smith, and Jacob Warburton.

Just over half a century later when John Ward was writing his book (1843) (The Borough of Stoke-upon-Trent) the number of factories had increased to ten: “Wood and Brownfield, (at the large works formerly Stevenson and Bucknall, afterwards R & J Clews); John and George Alcock (late R Stevenson’s works); Francis Dillon (Cobridge); Elijah Jones (Cobridge Villa); Stephen Hughes and Co; Benjamin Endon Godwin; John Mayer Godwin and James Godwin; John and Robert Godwin; George and Ralph Leigh; Coxon, Harding and Co. (these all in Cobridge).”  

Samuel Scriven interviewed employees from six of these concerns for the Royal Commission on Children’s Employment in 1841. The evidence taken at two of these Benjamin Godwin’s factory and Messrs Wood and Brownfield’s works — is reproduced below:-


more on Scriven's report


Mr. BENJAMIN GODWIN’s Earthenware Factory, Cobridge.  

No. 202. Joseph Booth aged 9:

I turn jigger for Wm. Lowe ; I cannot read, I cannot write ; I never went to day- school ; I do go to Sunday-school and learn to read in spelling book ; have been to work two years; drove gin at Walsall one year ; Bessey Boother, my mother, balls at Blackbank ; have two brothers, two sisters ; one brother runs moulds ; I get 2s. 3d. a-week ; brother gets 1s. ; don’t know what mother gets—oh, yes, I do, she gets between 10 and 11s:. I bring breakfast with me, it is stir pudding ; go home to dinner and get stir pudding, and stir pudding for supper; get home between eight and nine ; come at six. I got a jacket at home, and a shirt for Sundays ; no better trousers ; would sooner work 13 hours than 15 ; if I only worked ‘till four o’clock I should get home, sit me down, and learn to say my catechism.

This Child was literally in rags.  


No. 203. William Mumford, aged 12:

I brush ware and attend the dipper ; I cannot read or ‘write ; my father is an engine man, he works at pit ; his name is Maller, and so is my mother’s ; her name was Mumford ; her does nothing ; I have gotten three sisters, no brothers ; they does nothing ; I get 4s. a-week ; the dip has never hurt me yet ; don’t know how long I have been there ; don’t know how many months there are in the year ; went to a school by day some time ; go to a Sunday-school now, and to church ; I go home at four or five ; I said I had but 4s. a week, master says I had 5:. ; I did not count it ; gave it to mother ; don’t know how much it may have been; I arn’t no scholar!


Messrs. WOOD and BROWNFIELD's Earthenware Factory, Cobridge.  

 No. 208. Sarah Morris, aged 28, and Ann Bradbury, aged 35:

We are the superintendents of’ the apprentice girl’s painting department, and have 24 females of all ages in the same room ; out of that number there are 10 children under 13 years of age. Most of them can read, but few write. They come at seven in the morning, and leave at six; they - are allowed half an hour for breakfast one hour for dinner. Some that live away off stay to get their dinners in the work-rooms ; they cook them on the stove-pots; ; always take their hour, and sometimes play before they begin work. Some live pretty well,—others but middling. Their general conduct is tolerably good. We keep our eyes upon them, and check anything like misconduct. They get their regular holidays at wake times. We have no other rewards except that of putting them forward in their trade. Have no punishments by making them paint extra pieces, because they do piece-work, and all try to do as much as they can. They get here half the price of journeywomen for the first five years. We think that taking an equal number of girls from the painting-room and from other occupations in the same sphere of life, in point of moral conduct the painters would prove superior.  

No. 209 Robert Humphries, aged 8 :

I turn jigger for William Massey. Have been to work about six months. Can read a little, not much—cannot write. Went to Catholic day school ; go now to Sunday school ; go to the Methodist Chapel every Sunday. My father has been dead four years. My mother lives at home ; her does nothing. I have a brother six years old ; he goes to school. I get 10 1/2d. a week ; only work three days a week. I get for breakfast milk-meat and dry bread ; gravy and tatees for dinner, - sometimes onions. I come at hafe-past six ; go home at hafe-past six ; get my supper, and go to bed very tired.

 These premises are extensive, rooms better than common.  

 February 11th. (1841)


Brownfield Terrace 1889
Brownfield Terrace 1889

The Brownfield's works was located at the top of Waterloo Road, most of which has been demolished. Currently (2001) the site is occupied by Churchill Pottery. Evidence of the existence of Brownfield's is found in the plaque on the terraced houses opposite where the factory stood.