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Swan Inn, Hanley 
This inn was the main centre of Hanley's civic activity in the early part of the 19th century

The Swan Inn, Hanley c.1835
The Swan Inn, Hanley c.1835
from 'The Ancient Corporation of Hanley
a record of its proceedings from 1783 to 1900'
published 1901

This inn was the main centre of Hanley's civic activity in the early part of the 19th century


There was a spring in Swan Meadow which took its name from the old Swan Inn, on Hanley Green (Market Square). The meadow stretched down from the present Stafford Street and towards Bryan Street.

The Swan Inn was closed some time betwen 1831 & 1841 and in 1849 a large indoor market hall was opened on the site of the Swan Inn - the only renment of the name was the 'Swan Passage' which ran down the side of the market.  

In the 1980's the market was demolished to make way for the Potteries Shopping Centre. 


It was in the Swan Inn that Hanley  Corporation was first formed in 1783

"Hanley was making great advance in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Many of her potters had become men of wealth, and the town had grown into considerable importance. 

But the men of Hanley felt humbled, because their town was looked upon as a child, a mere baby, by reason of its having no local government, institution, nor feast day—nothing that entitled it to the distinction it was seeking to claim, of being the head of the Pottery district. Burslem joined Tunstall in the celebration of their Court-leet, while Newcastle looked down upon all with a pride that only ancient dignity can give; and Stoke, Fenton and Lane End were quietly left out of the pale. 

But Hanley was made of different material to the latter; and could not submit to cold obscurity, but was determined to assume a virtue if it had it not. 

All corporations, and corporate honours, are but the work of men's hands, and why should not Hanley, if she had not a royal charter, right loyally make one for herself?

So Hanley made its own charter of corporation, and municipal honours became as clay in the hands of the potter. There were Ephraim Chatterley, John Yates, John Baddeley, and a host of other good men and true, not forgetting that eloquent veteran of the Church, the Rev. John Middleton, who resolved that Hanley should make its own charter, and have its own mayor, and all the civic honours attached thereto.


1783 to 1805.

It was in the year of grace 1783, and the month of September, when the inaugural feast was held. The Marquis of Stafford added to the dignity and good cheer by furnishing venison, which has been supplied from Trentham or Dunrobin at each festival down to the present time, and the host was that good fellow, John Mare, of the Swan Inn. "A fine turtle for dinner," the records state. Ephraim Chatterley was the first mayor.

One good feature of the Corporation should be mentioned. There was nothing said about property qualification, and the secret of England's greatness -a good stomach - was the best passport to admittance. Entrance to the council chamber was won by the candidate drinking a yard of ale. We regret that the name of the noble inventor of the yard glass has not come down to us. How we should have delighted to honour our historic pages by the record of it.

At the second festival, held on the 30th of September, 1784, the following assembled at the Swan Inn :-

Mr. Ephraim Chatterley, Mayor 

Mr. William Smallwood, Recorder

* Rev. Thomas Middlelon (sic)

Mr. Thomas Adams, Newcastle 

Mr. John Heath, Hanky

Rev. Mr. Tomlinson, Newcastle

Mr. Horwood, Trentham 

Mr. Thomas Twemlow, Shelton 

Mr. Thomas Hales, Cobridge 

Mr. William Fowler, Newcastle 

Mr. John Yates, Shelton 

Mr. Ralph Baddeley, Shelton 

Mr. Samuel Hollins, Shelton 

Mr. John Baddeley, Shelton 

Mr. John Mare, Hanley 

Mr. John Beckett, Newcastle 

M.r Robert Griffin, New Inn Mill

Rev. Mr. Ferneyhough, Stoke

Rev. Benjamin Adams, Newcastle

Mr. Clowes, Long port

Mr. Ralph Bagnall, Leek

Mr. Joshua Heath, Hanley

Mr. Hugh Booth, Stoke

Mr. John Hollins, Newcastle

Mr. Charles Cotton, Burslem

Mr. William Brittain, Hanley

Mr. Joseph Adams, Newcastle

Mr. Daintry, Leek

Mr. Richard Heath, Newcastle

Mr. John Emery, Newcastle

Mr. George Taylor, Hanley

Mr. Thomas Payne, Newcastle

Mr. — Payne, Hanley

Mr. Samuel Perry, Hanley

Mr. John Massey, Newcastle

Mr. Wilson, Roebuck, Newcastle

* Evidently an error for John"


Hanley market Hall c.1974
the market hall was built in 1849 on the site of the former Swan Inn  


"This interesting facade is Hanley Market Hall, probably built in the mid-19th century. Many people will be familiar with the indoor market, especially its cockloft displaying a wide range of live poultry and pets. One great event in its history was the introduction of gas lighting on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1887, but this was short-lived, because, in 1896, the hall was completely wired for electricity; it was one of the first public buildings in the City to boast such a system.

The old Swan Inn that had previously occupied this site was a popular meeting place, and many of the conferences held there played a decisive role in the development of the City. 

  • In 1825, under the patronage of the Duke of Sutherland, a few friends met and founded the Potteries Mechanics' Institute. By 1835, membership had increased to such a degree that it was able to subscribe to a building of its own, in Frederick Street, Shelton, now known as Gitana Street, Hanley.
  • The North Staffs. Infirmary had its origins at the Swan when local surgeons and prominent businessmen held a meeting and proposed that a dispensary and ward be founded. It was built in Etruria Vale in 1804 and called the Home of Recovery. 
  • The first Petty Sessions in the Potteries were held at the Swan. The first meeting in 1824 swore in 40 townsfolk as Special Constables, who, armed with a truncheon and candle lantern, had the unenviable job of patrolling Hanley and Shelton. 
  • From about 1813 the inn was also an important coaching stop.

Market Square, then known as Hanley Green, possessed one of the vital springs for the town. The Square was used for a variety of activities, including the annual August Wakes, which were held there until 1922 when forced to move to a new site in Regent Road.'

Neville Malkin 12th June 1974



contents: 2010 photos



Related pages..

Photos of Hanley indoor Market
The Swan Inn was closed some time betwen 1831 & 1841 and in 1849 a large indoor market hall was opened on the site of the Swan Inn.

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