The Geography of the Potteries (Stoke-on-Trent)




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Evidence of Subsidence in Stoke-on-Trent
1844 court case on mining subsidence

next: newspaper article on the mining subsidence



Lord Granville owned coal mines which extended under, among many other areas, Shelton. When mining for coal supports were left to try to prevent collapse of the mine.  

Around 1833 Granville stared to mine for iron-ore. The method and economics of iron-ore mining meant that no support was left and consequently large scale damage was done to houses above some of the workings.

In 1844 a Mr. Hilton, who lived in Union Street, Shelton, brought an action for compensation (he was supported by others in the same predicament) against Lord Granville.

Granville admitted that his mine works had caused the damage but claimed that custom gave him a right to work the mines, without control, as near to the surface as he needed and without giving compensation.

On the following page is a condensed article from the Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper about the case.


next: newspaper article on the mining subsidence


"In the 1840s, in Hanley and Shelton, several houses in the district cracked, tottered and collapsed due to subsidence, with upwards of 60 damaged by 1842 and over 160 uninhabited by 1847; hence a long-running court case (Hilton v Granville) scrutinising the accountability of Granville and his agents and the right of local copyholders to be compensated.

The "Staffordshire Mercury" of June 26 1847 concludes its report on matters as they stood at the time, by paying lip-service to the plight of the copyholders, but averring: "We would not underestimate the vast importance of Earl Granville's works to the labouring population, and the tradesmen of the neighbourhood. They afford a source of of constant and lucrative employment to great numbers of persons, and constitute leading element in the prosperity of Hanley and Shelton". Four years later, the "Lever", a radical periodical, lamented that the copyholders had not succeeded in their claim for compensation, "as the lawyers argued with equal wisdom and propriety [that] the Earl was lord of the Manor and was entitled therefore to get coal from under the houses - if the houses tumbled down in consequence that was no business fault of his". The "Lever" adds, pointedly, that "His Lordship is regarded with ill favour in the Potteries".

From: "Potters in Pits", Mervyn Edwards, p.14.




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