the making of Cobridge.....
The introduction of steam
trams and then in 1873 the opening of the Loop Line with a station at
Cobridge made the area accessible and it became a desirable residential
had also been predicted that even Hanbridge [Hanley] men would come to
live at Bleakridge [Cobridge] now."
land on the east side of Waterloo Road between The Limes, No 183 and the
was the property of
Henry Meakin, of The Grove, Burslem.
1878 he engaged George Beardmore Ford, architect and surveyor, to prepare
a building plan for his estate.The estate building plan produced by George
Ford for Henry Meakin shows the four streets laid out between Waterloo
Road and Elder Road:
(now Elm Street) which led to the Villa Pottery originally built by the
Station Road (now Rushton Road) which led to Cobridge Station on
the Loop Railway line;
Derby Street (now Kirby Street); and
Meakin's architect -George Ford 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”
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.
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.
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