Burslem - one of the Six Towns of Stoke-on-Trent
Tunstall Burslem  Hanley  Stoke-upon-Trent Fenton  Longton



"In front, on a little hill in the vast valley, was spread out the Indian-red architecture of Bursley - tall chimneys and rounded ovens, schools, the new scarlet market, the grey tower of the old church, the high spire of the evangelical church, the low spire of the church of genuflexions, and the crimson chapels, and rows of little red with amber chimney-pots, and the gold angel of the blackened town hall topping the whole. The sedate reddish browns and reds of the composition, all netted in flowing scarves of smoke, harmonised exquisitely with the chill blues of the chequered sky. Beauty was achieved, and none saw it."

 Arnold Bennett
| Arnold Bennett's Burslem

Maddock's earthenware manufacturers at Newcastle Street, Dale Hall, Burslem

The firm of John Maddock  was founded in the 1830's in premises in Newcastle Street, Burslem. 
John Maddock was in partnership with Seddon from 1839 to1842. 
The firm made granite ware for the American market.

Burslem, an ancient town.... the mother, as it is the metropolis, of the Staffordshire Potteries.

BURSLEM, a town, a township, a parish, and a subdistrict in the district of Wolstanton, and within the borough of Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire. The town stands on the side of a hill, adjacent to the Grand Trunk canal and the North Stafford railway, 3 miles NNE of Newcastle-under-Lyne.

To Burslem belongs the proud title of the "mother of the potteries." As early as the 17th century this town was noted above all others for the production of the best classes of pottery made in this country. Here, too, was born the greatest exponent of the potters' art whom the world has known - Josiah Wedgwood - who was born at Burslem in July, 1730

Burslem is a populous and well built market town, and holds a healthy and elevated situation in the northern division of that extensive and celebrated seat of the china and earthenware manufactures, being seated between Hanley and Tunstall.

John Wesley frequently visited Burslem.

Lord of the Manor Walter Sneyd, Esq. of Keel, was lord of the manor.

"BURSLEM, an ancient town, with a market held for a long period by custom, and subsequently sanctioned by an act of parliament, is about three miles from Newcastle and two from Hanley, entitled to the precedence of other towns in this district, as claiming to be the mother, as it is the metropolis, of the Staffordshire Potteries." 
1828 journal

"In the Doomsday Survey - for even in that early date Burslem was a place of some importance - the town appears, as "Burwardeslyn;" and frequent mention is made of it in ancient documents during the Middle Ages."
1893 journal

Dates in the history of Burslem

1448 - Richard Adams and his brother William were fined for 'digging clay by the road' between Burslem and Sneyd.
1563 - Thomas Adams of Burslem left his 'best yron chymney' to his son William and his other chimney to his daughter Ellen.
1662 -  Act of Parliament called upon Burslem butter-pot makers to to restrict the weight of the pots to about six pounds, to that a twenty-pound load could contain a stone of butter.
1748 - The burial of the so-called 'Burslem Witch' Margaret Leigh (Peggy Lee).
1759 - Josiah Wedgwood I rented the Ivy House Pottery Works, Burslem, from his uncles John and Thomas Wedgwood.
1764 - Josiah Wedgwood I transferred his rapidly expanding business from Ivy House Works to the Brick House Works (also known as the Bell Works) in Church Street, Burslem.
1761 - Burslem's first Town Hall Built.
1801 - Burslem's population: 6,578
1817 - Waterloo Road from Burslem, through Cobridge to Hanley finished, named after the famous battle of 1815.
1854 - A new Town Hall built in Burslem's Market Square on the site of the original 1761 Town Hall. Completed in 1857 and designed by G. T. Robinson.
1860's - Parkers Brewery founded.
1871 - Burslem created a borough.
1911 - Burslem's third Town Hall completed. It houses the Queen's Theatre. Designed by Russel & Cooper of London.
1958 - Burslem's old  Meat Market demolished.

Dates in the history of Stoke-on-Trent

Facts about Burslem from old journals

Burslem is the place where the first clod of that great national undertaking the Trent and Mersey canal, was cut, by the late Josiah Wedgwood, Esq.
The town is pleasantly situate on a rising ground, and contains many admirably arranged manufactories, numerous dwellings for the workmen employed therein, many good houses for the superintendents of the works, and some handsome edifices for the proprietors


"Walks" and articles on Burslem
and the surrounding area

Burslem: The Wedgwood Family & Enoch Wood
The changes in the town from George I to accession of Queen Victoria (1714-1837).


Packhorse Lane
Burslem - 'Packhorse Lane - the lifeline of the Potteries'

Packhorse & Turnpikes
The eighteenth century saw the development of the North Staffordshire pottery industry from a cottage industry to a major exporting industry.
The connection was the packhorse road from the Fountain Place works of Enoch Wood in Burslem, though Longbridge (now Longport) and onto to Newcastle.
Longport: John Davenport & Longport
The creation of Longport (by the Trent & Mersey canal) between 1760-mid 19thC.

Middleport: Burgess & Leigh - the 'Model' Victorian Potworks
A tour of a working Victorian potworks - opened in 1888, famous world over for Burleigh ware. A listed building and rescued from the receiver in 1999.

'Major gateway provides a glimpse into cities past'

Trubshaw Cross in detail
Trubshaw Cross is the upper part of Longport, situated on the junction of Newcastle Street and Davenport Road - it was an important point on the packhorse lanes from Newcastle-under-Lyme to Burslem and Tunstall.

  Cobridge: A Victorian Suburb
Rushton Grange, the development of Cobridge as a community, the churches and potworks - also the home of the novelist Arnold Bennett.

 Cobridge  'the changing face of Cobridge'
Cobridge 'the Victorian suburb en-route to Burslem'
Cobridge in detail The Road from Hanley to Burslem
 Bournes Bank in detail
Bournes Bank was originally named 'Church Street' as it was the main route from Burslem to the parish church of St. John. Waterloo Road was not built until 1817 and originally Bournes Bank was also the road travelled to get to Hanley.

  Dalehall in detail
Dalehall - a district of Burslem, arranged either side of Newcastle Street. Nowadays Dalehall, although preceding it in antiquity has been subsumed into the general area known as Middleport.
The Burslem family were living at Burslem by the end of the 13th century. By the end of the 16th century their Burslem house was Dale Hall.
  Hulton Abbey to Ruston Grange
This walk examines Hulton Abbey, the trackway along Sneyd Street and the monks farmland at Ruston Grange.
  A walk around Burslem Cemetery
Burslem Cemetery opened in 1879 and covers approximately 11.4 hectares (about 28 acres) when it was opened it was intended to be a "a recreation park, to be used for walking, riding and driving" as well as a cemetery and at least a third of the land was taken up with the lodges, chapel, walks & drives. Only about five and a half acres was laid out for burials.

Old Roads 'walks' around Burslem area:-

| Bournes Bank | Dale Hall |

| Burslem Cemetery |

A walk along the Potteries Loop Line :-

Burslem on the loop line

Burslem in depth
On the loop line between Tunstall and Hanley were the stations at Burslem and Cobridge. Both of these stations were alongside or in the respective parks.
On Thursday, July 21st, 1870, the ceremony of the cutting of the first sod took place in a very unostentatious manner at Burslem.

Cobridge in depth
In Bennett's novel Cobridge was referred to as "Bleakridge"
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."


Famous potters located in the town have been  Price and Kensington, Dunn Bennett, Burgess and Leigh, Enoch Wood.

List of potters who were located in Burslem

Burslem from W. Yates' A Map of the County of Stafford, 1775
from W. Yates'
A Map of the County of Stafford,
- click for bigger map -

maps on Burslem


Burslem Town Hall
Burslem has had three Town Halls The original was built as early as 1761.
There are still two standing.

on Burslem's Town Halls

Bottle Kilns:

Kilns at Acme Marls
There are 12 bottle & calcining kilns left in Burslem.

Arnold Bennett
Arnold Bennett called the town "Bursley"
on Bennett

on Burslem's arms

Parrott & Co
See how pottery was made at a Burslem works

Trade gazetteer entries on Burslem 

Burslem cemetery was opened in 1879 as a cemetery and recreation park. 

Relics One of the most historically significant routes in the Potteries is Westport Road  which links to Liverpool.

Listed buildings in Burslem

"Burslem is the only one of the six towns which has a centre, it may not be up to much, but it is undeniably a centre, even in spite of the fact that the parish church is outside it."

Pevsner and the buildings of Burslem

Historical Burslem
Burslem Churches
Burslem Pubs
Burslem Streets

Postcards of Burslem...

Swan Square c.1910

Burslem: - birthplace of.......
Josiah Wedwgood
Sir Fred Hayward

"The Big House"

Wedgwood Institute