Victoria Square, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent

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Victoria Square, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent
[on some maps called 'Victoria Place']


Victoria Square c.1915
On the left are the houses W.M.B built - the public urinal in front.
In the centre of the picture is a drinking fountain presented by  William Baker
[this in now in Fenton Park]

tramlines can be seen in the foreground

the pottery works on the right was established in 1825 by the Mason brothers for the manufacture of their famous Ironstone China.
In 1849 the works were taken over by Samuel Boyle and in 1862 by E & C Challinor


on the maps below note 'Challinor's Square'
so named because of the nearby potworks

1878 OS map
[click for larger map]
Note the large pool opposite the potworks


1924 OS map - showing 'Victoria Place'
[click for larger map]



In the mid 1880s William Meath Baker demolished the cottages on the east side of his factory fronting High Street (now City Road) and what later became Victoria Square. Here in 1885 he constructed 30 houses with ornate frontages decorated with moulded brickwork and terracotta tiles. The houses were of various sizes, some double fronted and some with passage halls, but most had a two storied rear wing containing a third bedroom, as well as a water closet at the end of the yard. The area in front of the new houses at the junction of High Street and Victoria Road was occupied by a large pool, the property of Messrs C Challinor & Co. 

Fenton Local Board of Health paid Mr C Challinor £250 for the pool which they filled in and converted into a square which was named ‘Victoria Square” [or Victoria Place] in 1891. In the following year the Board approved plans submitted by the North Staffs Tramways Company for a tram shelter in the centre of the square and instructed the surveyor to provide a suitable gas lamp for the structure. Four years later the Board built public urinals in the Square. 

In the meantime William Meath Baker submitted plans for a new street off Victoria Road in December 1889 which was named Hitchman Street. Here on a triangular site which also faced Victoria Road he built 12 houses and a shop in the same style as the houses fronting High Street and Victoria Square. They were completed in 1890  - the event commemorated by a date stone in the façade facing Victoria Road which also featured the monogram “WMB”. The plots on the south side of Hitchman Street were sold to local builders who constructed 16 terrace houses in a much plainer style typical of terrace developments elsewhere in Fenton. 

Houses in Hitchman Street
Houses in Hitchman Street
[Hitchman was the name of William Meath Baker's aunt]

photo: July 2000


At the beginning of 1900 Mr Scrivenor, acting on behalf of Mr Baker proposed that a new road should be constructed through the middle of the old pottery factory facing the end of Station Road 50 feet wide and that the council should make a contribution towards the costs of construction. Fenton Urban District Council subsequently paid William Meath Baker £150 towards the cost of the new road which was named Fountain Road and in 1909 built a new fire station at the end of the street. 

Firestation built 1909 in Fountain Road

photo: Sept 1999


These changes can be seen on the two Ordnance Survey maps above. The new houses constructed by William Meath Baker have been identified by a dotted line on the lower map.

Houses on the corner of City road and Victoria Road
 The row of 14 houses fronting City Road (Nos 17-43) 
(in the gap to the extreme left of the photo)
were demolished in 1997 because they were in a very poor state of repair. 
The remaining houses are still the property of a descendant of William Meath Baker. 

Houses on the corner of Hitchman Street (left) and Victoria Road (right)

photos: Sept 1999

you can go on a 'walk' of Fenton



Listed Buildings

Did you live in this street or area? 
questions/comments/contributions? email: Steve Birks

1st Feb 2003