Railways of Stoke-on-Trent - Potteries Loop Line



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Potteries Loop Line

next: Cobridge and Bennett
previous: Cobridge Station
[contents: Burslem & Cobridge]

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 area "It had also been predicted that even Hanbridge [Hanley] men would come to live at Bleakridge [Cobridge] now."

Henry Meakin's Estate, Cobridge:

The land on the east side of Waterloo Road between The Limes, No 183 and the Soho Pottery was the property of Henry Meakin, of The Grove, Burslem. 

In 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: 

Warburton Place (now Elm Street) which led to the Villa Pottery originally built by the Warburton family, 
Station Road (now Rushton Road) which led to Cobridge Station on the Loop Railway line; 
Derby Street (now Kirby Street); and 
Grove Street


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” (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


next: Cobridge and Bennett
previous: Cobridge Station
[contents: Burslem & Cobridge]