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Stoke-on-Trent Districts: Cobridge


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Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.


Cobridge is situated on and around Waterloo Road - the main thoroughfare from Burslem to Hanley. Waterloo Road climbs out of Burslem to the ridge at Cobridge Traffic lights and from there drops down to Hanley whilst Cobridge Road drops down from the traffic lights to Etruria and the Festival Park.

Waterloo Road was built in two stages. 

1) Hanley to Cobridge: A “Plan of an Intended Road from Cobridge to Hanley” dated 30 December 1811 shows that first part of the scheme was the improvement of the connection between Cobridge and Hanley. 
This section was in use by 1814. 

2) Burslem to Cobridge: The northern section from Burslem to Cobridge was built between 1815 and 1817. As a result the old narrow winding turnpike road was replaced a straight wide road. The new road immediately became a focus of a new housing development.

"as we go further from Burslem [into Cobridge] the houses become more recent and much larger. This is the first middle-class area in Burslem and contains a very good example of a mid-nineteenth century terrace in Camoys Terrace. Baron Camoys was a descendant of the Biddulphs of the Grange, and his commemorative terrace is brick mock-Tudor. "

'Portrait of the Potteries' - Bill Morland

Camoys Terrace
Numbers 184-186 Waterloo Road
Camoys Terrace


Arnold Bennett's home No 205 Waterloo Road
Arnold Bennett's home No 205 Waterloo Road

Enoch Bennett, the father of Arnold Bennett, had bought a building site on Henry Meakin’s estate for £200 in 1879 where he built a house at a cost of £900, No 205 Waterloo Road. This is a large three-storey red brick house with a façade much embellished with terra cotta. It has two bay windows at the front and six bedrooms. 

Bennett's Bleakridge

George B Ford (the architect of much of Cobridge) may have been the model for Osmond Orgreave, the architect, who featured in Arnold Bennett’s book, Clayhanger.
In his book Bennett provided a detailed and on the whole an accurate description of the process of estate development in “Bleakridge” (Cobridge): 

A house stood on a hill. And that hill was Bleakridge, the summit of the little billow of land between Bursley and Hanbridge.
Trafalgar Road passed over the crest of the billow. Bleakridge was certainly not more than a hundred feet higher than Bursley; yet people were now talking a lot about the advantages of living ‘up’ at Bleakridge, ‘above’ the smoke, and ‘out’ of the town, though it was not more than five minutes from the Duck Bank.

To hear them talking, one might have fancied that Bleakridge was away in the mountains somewhere. The new steam-cars would pull you up there in three minutes or so, every quarter of an hour.

It was really the new steam-cars that were to be the making of Bleakridge as a residential suburb. It had also been predicted that even Hanbridge men would come to live at Bleakridge now. 

Land was changing owners at Bleakridge, and rising in price. Complete streets of lobbied cottages grew at angles from the main road with the rapidity of that plant which pushes out strangling branches more quickly than a man can run. And these lobbied cottages were at once occupied. Cottage-property in the centre of the town depreciated. The land fronting the main road was destined not for cottages, but for residences, semi-detached or detached. Osmond Orgreave had a good deal of this land under his control. 

He did not own it, he hawked it. Like all provincial, and most London, architects, he was a land-broker in addition to being an architect. 
Before obtaining a commission to build a house, he frequently had to create the commission himself by selling a convenient plot, and then persuading the purchaser that if he wished to retain the respect of the community he must put on the plot a house worth of the plot.”

Arnold Bennett - Clayhanger

Bennett's name Actual name
Trafalgar Road 
Duck Bank
Waterloo Road
Swan Bank

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previous: Cobridge in the 1700's