Hartshill Cemetery (reflecting the values of Victorian Society)



 Introduction to the walk around Hartshill Cemetery


These notes accompany a history "walk" around the Stoke-upon-Trent Municipal cemetery at Hartshill. The purpose of the walk is to show how the construction, organisation and management of the cemetery reflected the values of Victorian society. 

The actual walk was conducted in June 2000 by Andrew Dobraszczyc (Keele University). Photos & web production by Steve Birks.


1st edition six inch Ordnance Survey Map
shows the location of the proposed cemetery (blue) and its relationship with
Hartshill, North Staffs Infirmary and Penkhull (red),
Spode home (The Mount) and factory (green),
and Minton's tile works (purple).


The decision to provide a new municipal cemetery for the borough of Stoke-upon-Trent was made at the following meeting recorded in the Cemetery Committee Minute Book in 1881:

“At a meeting of a special committee appointed by the Borough Council to consider the advisability of taking steps to provide a public cemetery held at the Town Hall, Stoke, on Monday, 30 May 1881:

Present: Colin Minton Campbell, Mayor, Chairman, and Aldermen Keary, Lynam and Minton, councillors Faram, Smith, Buckley and Leason.

Your Committee have considered the question of providing a pubic cemetery and finding that the grave­yards at Hartshill and Penkhull are almost fully occupied and that the Stoke Burial Ground is rapidly filling they have come to the conclusion that steps should be taken by the Council with a view to ascertain what sites are available within the borough suitable for a cemetery and instruct the Clerk to insert an advertisement in local papers inviting offers of about 15 acres.”


It took 3˝ years to select a site and to build the new cemetery. The site chosen was not a popular one because it was so far away from the town between the villages of Hartshill and Penkhull There was also public disquiet about the choice of architect and the number of chapels built. 

In spite of these problems the project was successfully completed because it was supported by Colin Minton Campbell, mayor of the borough between 1880 and 1883, and the largest pottery manufacturer in the town. He made his support for the project clear at a banquet held in his honour at the North Stafford Hotel in November 1881. 

The Staffordshire Sentinel reported “With regard to the cemetery, he thought it was the greatest effort of his Mayorality. He proposed to give a sum of money in order that the cemetery might be laid out in a more ornamental way than others in the district were with a view of making it such a resort that it might be called a public park for the town.” 

The extract from the first edition six inch Ordnance Survey Map above shows the proposed site for the new cemetery.



Next: starts the tour outside the cemetery gates 

questions/comments/contributions? email: Steve Birks