Josiah Spode II (1754-1827) and The Mount Estate (Penkhull)
Josiah Spode II and the Village of Penkhull
In the late l8th and early 19th centuries Penkhull village was transformed largely as a result of the growth of the adjacent town of Stoke. During that period the centre of the village was built up with new terrace houses which largely replaced the medieval cottages. In 1834 it was described as "a populous suburb of the town (of Stoke), having many modern houses erected chiefly for the accommodation of the working classes."
A leading role in this development was played by Josiah Spode II who was responsible for the construction of a new road from the village to Stoke. This was originally known as Commercial Street or Road, later Penkhull New Road. He built a row of 10 houses, known as "Ten Row" at the top end of this road. Another row of 6 houses was built at the end of Garden Street below the present Greyhound Inn (see 1877 map).
Perhaps his most famous development was the building of Penkhull Square on the south side of the village (see 1832 map in the introduction). The square contained 20 houses built in about 1802-3. The main entrance was through an archway on the east side by Trent Valley Road. There was a small archway on the west side leading to a block of communal privies constructed as a result of a report by the inspector of nuisances in 1865:
"There are 21 houses in this square with 7 privies, 6 of them connected, and placed in some gardens behind the houses. The contents discharge into open receptacles in the adjoining field. The large ashpit is full and there are no back doors to these houses."
He also noted that the square was conspicuous by "the number of deaths from typhus and other most fatal forms of fever which had occurred in that locality." The picture below is a view of the courtyard in Penkhull Square taken in 1964. In the right hand of the rear row is the small archway which led to the back of the buildings. A plan of Penkhull Square can be found here. It shows that each dwelling contained a living-room and a small scullery with two corresponding bedrooms above, one of them apparently too small for a full-sized bed. The houses were demolished in the 1960s and the site is now occupied by the houses in Jeremy Close.
View of the courtyard in Penkhull Square - 1964
more photos of Penkhull Square
Samuel Doncaster, an engraver, was also involved in the development of land in the vicinity of Penkhull. At the auction in the Marquis of Granby in 1802 he bought land on the west side of what was then known as Swynerton's Lane.
In 1805 and 1806 he advertised this as building land "for small houses that are much wanted in this truly increasing and populous neighbourhood". By 1810 "Doncaster Buildings" had been erected at the end of the lane and they ultimately gave their name to the "spacious and large street" laid out in front of them. The houses and land offered for sale in Doncaster Lane were all bought by Josiah Spode in 1810.
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