STAFFORDSHIRE is situated near the centre of the kingdom; bounded on the north and north-west by Cheshire, from which county it is separated by the river Dane; on the north and north-east by Derbyshire, the Dove dividing it from that county; on the south by Worcestershire; on the south-east by Warwickshire; and on the west by Shropshire. It is fifty-five miles in length, at it extreme points from north to south-west; its greatest breadth is about thirty-three miles, and its circumference about one hundred and fifty: its area contains about one thousand one hundred and forty-eight (1,148) square miles, or 734,720 statute acres. In size it ranks as the eighteenth English county, and in population as the seventh.
SOIL and CLIMATE, PRODUCE and MANUFACTURES. - The northern part, called 'the Moorlands' is hilly, much resembling the adjacent districts of Derbyshire; and is a bleak, and dreary tract - the soil thin, and yielding but a scanty pasture. The valley along the Trent is mostly very fertile, adorned with seats and plantations, and affords a variety of beautiful prospects. The middle and southern parts of this county are generally level, and have a depth of rich loamy soil. The great forest of Cannock, near the centre, once covered with oaks, has been dismantled of its wood to a considerable extent, and part of it is now intersected by roads and neat villages: at the southern extremity the Clent Hills, and Hagley and its neighbourhood, are well known for the romantic beauties they possess. The CLIMATE of Staffordshire is considered not unhealthy, though inclining to wet, especially in the northern part - probably arising from a ridge of mountainous land, lying to the west, which attracts the clouds in their passage. The air is sharp, and more severely cold than in many other counties. The AGRICULTURE and FARMING STOCK of Staffordshire have, within the last half century, undergone material improvement; whilst, on the rich lands bordering on the Trent, the dairy has become a source of considerable profit, and much good cheese and butter are made in that district. Although agricultural produce is a valuable auxiliary, yet the subterranean riches of the county are of still higher importance to its welfare, as being the grand materiel employed in its principal manufactures. Coal is abundant in many parts; while the Moorlands contain beneath, besides coal, a store of mineral wealth, yielding lead, copper, iron, marble, alabaster, mill-stone, and salt: fullers' earth is also found in Staffordshire - pipe-clay, and red and yellow ochres, in various parts; besides a blue clay, of great tenacity, and fire-proof, suited for the composition of pots for glass houses; and potters' clay, for more common purposes, in different districts, particularly Newcastle-under-Lyme. Limestone and iron ore are common in several places; copper and lead ore, varying greatly in purity and worth, occasionally also appear. Quarries of marble, in differing colour, strength and beauty, and various other kinds of stone of great value and utility, are plenteous.
The MANUFACTURES of this county are various - but that for which it has long been celebrated is its POTTERY. The opulent and interesting district designated 'The Potteries' extends about ten miles in length and one mile and a half in breadth, locally in the northern division of the hundred of Pirehill; in a part abounding with coal, and clays of great variety - which, with the great canal intercourse existing with every part of the kingdom, combine to render it the most eligible seat for these ingenious manufactures; giving employment to perhaps twenty thousand people in the county; and the operations of digging and collecting the clay, flint, terra parcellana, &c., in Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Dorsetshire, Devonshire and Cornwall, and conveying them to the adjacent ports, are supposed to employ nearly forty thousand more, besides upwards of sixty thousand tons of shipping. Here are likewise iron works; and, in the southern extremity of the county, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Wednesbury, Darlaston, Bilston &c., &c., participate with Birmingham in the manufacture of different descriptions of hardware. Many thousand people are employed in the manufacture of nails, especially in the parishes of Sedgley, Rowley, West Bromwich, Smethwick, Tipton, Walsall, &c. - women and children are employed in the making of the lighter sorts. The town of Stafford has long been famed for its manufacture of shoes, which employs a great number of hands. At Newcastle and Rugeley hats are manufactured, and at Leek various articles in the silk trade. At Tutbury, Rocester and Fazeley are cotton-spinning factories; and at Tipton and West Bromwich are inexhaustible coal mines and iron works, with blast furnaces of prodigious power.
Comprising the Borough of Stoke-Upon-Trent, and the several townships and villages of Hanley, Shelton, Etruria, Burslem with Longport and Brownhills; Lane End, with Longton; Tunstall, Lane Delph, Fenton, Cobridge, and their neighbourhoods.
STOKE-UPON-TRENT is a market town, and by the reform bill created a borough, entitled to return two members to parliament, in the extensive parish of its name, about one mile and a half east from Newcastle-under-Lyme; situate, as it's name implies, upon the river Trent, and upon the banks of the Grand Trunk Canal. This parish, at present including a district of more than seventeen square miles, and originally of much greater extent, owes its increase in population and opulence to the establishment of numerous potteries, for which its situation, on a navigable river and a great canal, renders it favourable, and for which it has for many years been distinguished. The town contains many handsome houses, commodious wharfs and warehouse, and extensive china and earthenware manufactories, - and is deemed the parish town of the Potteries. The first steam-engine for grinding burnt flint, for the use of the potters, was erected in Stoke. The parish is within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, and the police is under the superintendence of commissioners appointed by an act of parliament - under the provision of which, also, a chief bailiff is elected, who convenes and presides at all meetings of the inhabitants.
The old church, dedicated to St Peter, has given place to a handsome new one, erected in 1826; it is in the later style of English architecture, and contains one thousand six hundred sittings. The handsome monument erected in the old church to the memory of the highly respected Josiah Wedgewood, Esq., where he was interred in 1795, has been put up in the new church. The benefice is a rectory. Throughout the parish there are places of worship for the various classes of dissenters; and in the town is a handsome and commodious school, in which upwards of five hundred children are instructed upon the national plan. The market is held on Saturday, and an annual wake on the first Monday in August.
HANLEY is a large and modern market town, and chaperly, in the parish and borough of Stoke, about one mile and a half from that town, and rather more than two east by north from Newcastle; situate near to the turnpike road leading from the latter place to Leek, and close to the Grand Trunk canal: the exportation, by means of this navigation, of earthenware to Liverpool, Hull, the Metropolis, &c., is of such an extent, that a company is established for the sole purpose of carrying that article. The principal part of the town is on an elevated site; the streets are not regularly disposed, but many of the houses are well built. The police of this town, like Stoke, is under the control of commissioners; and a chief bailiff is annually elected from among the most respectable inhabitants, whose duties are of the same nature as those exercised by the bailiff of Stoke. The lord of the manor holds a court baron once a year; the crown (as possessor of the duchy of Lancaster), holds, by its officer, a similar court once within the same period; and another court, in which debts under forty shillings are recoverable, sits once a fortnight.
The church, or rather chapel of ease, is a commodious structure of brick, erected in 1788, with a square tower one hundred feet in height, containing a fine set of bells; the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the trustees of the chapel. Dissenters of various denominations have numerous places of worship here; and there are British and national schools, well supported by voluntary contributions. A mechanics' institute is established in the town; and near it is that excellent institution, the North Staffordshire Infirmary. In 1812 an act was obtained for enlarging and regulating the market, and other specific purposes; and among the improvements which have consequently been effected is the erection of a very convenient meat-market. The act authorizes markets to be held on Wednesday and Saturday; the latter, which is the principal, is abundantly supplied with provisions of all kinds : large markets or fairs for cattle are held four times a year.
SHELTON is a township in the parish of Stoke, contiguous to Hanley, of which indeed, it forms an important portion, and its manufactures and police regulations are similar to those of that town. Shelton forms part of the borough of Stoke; and is the honour of Tutbury, within the jurisdiction of a court of requests held at the latter town, every third Tuesday, for the recovery of debts under forty shillings. Extensive gas-works are in this township, which also contains some valuable charitable scholastic institutions. Races are held annually in the neighbourhood. - In this township are the potteries and the beautiful villa ETRURIA, erected by the late Josiah Wedgewood Esq.: the works form a large and interesting hamlet, and the villa is remarkable for the beauty of its situation, style of architecture, and for the many splendid Etruscan vases with which it is ornamented. These elegant specimens of art, produced under his own superintendence, are imitations of the original vases found in Italy, to the discovery of which that gentlemen was chiefly indebted for the elegance of form and purity of taste which he introduced into the manufactory of porcelain, china, and stone ware, for which this place is so deservedly celebrated, and which, by the use of flint in the composition of these articles (also introduced by the same talented person), has been progressively brought to its present state of perfection. The Methodists have a chapel at the foot of Etruria bank.
BURSLEM is a market town and parish, three miles north east from Newcastle and two from Hanley. This place appears, from the most authentic records, to have been distinguished, at an early period, for the excellence and variety of clay with which its vicinity abounds; and to have been noted for its manufactory of pottery and earthenware - for which, in the 17th century, it became the principal station in this kingdom. It was here that the first clod of that great undertaking, the Trent and Mersey canal, was cut by the spirited Josiah Wedgewood, Esq.; and when the fifteenth anniversary was celebrated by a public dinner, various ancient specimens of earthenware were exhibited, descriptive of the progressive state of the manufacture. 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: it is lighted with gas, under the provisions of an act of parliament, which also dictates its police and municipal government - the later being vested in a chief constable, chosen annually by the police commissioners. The market house, or town hall, is a neat modern structure of brick, situated nearly in the centre of the town: one part of this building is appropriated to the uses of a police office; and a large and elegant news room, well supplied with the London daily and provincial papers, occupies another portion of the edifice. Adjacent to the town hall, and of more recent erection, is a handsome covered market, ornamented with a neat portico. Burslem was formerly a chaperly in the parish of Stoke, but was constituted a separate parish by act of parliament in 1807. The old church is a brick erection, with a stone tower of greater antiquity than the body; the living is a rectory. Another church has been erected, partly at the expense of the church commissioners. There are places of worship in the parish for Baptists, independents, the primitive, Wesleyan, and new connexion of methodists, and the Roman Catholics - all of which have Sunday schools attached. There are, besides, a national school, and a free grammar school for a limited number of boys. The markets are held on Monday and Saturday.
Within the township, and about half a mile from the market-place of Burslem, is the pleasant hamlet of BROWNHILLS, situate on the road leading to Manchester through the Potteries. It is chiefly to be noticed for the various strata of clay, of excellent quality, obtained here in great abundance, and principally employed in the manufacture of tiles, for which there are some extensive works. There are several good houses in the village, but no building, public or otherwise, meriting particular notice. The population is returned with Burslem.
LONGPORT is a manufacturing district within the parish of Burslem - the buildings being, for the most part, situate in a valley, on the banks of the Trent and Mersey canal, where are several wharfs. It was formerly called Trubshaw Cross, and also Longbridge; deriving its latter appellation from a number of stepping-stones, forming a causeway across the meadows, which were afterwards superseded by a bridge: but after the construction of the canal, the great improvement of the place in buildings, the establishment of manufactures, and the consequent increase of population, its name was changed to Longport. A Wesleyan Methodist chapel, and a Sunday school, were opened a few years since.
LANE END and LONGTON are two townships, forming a populous and thriving market town, in the parish of Stoke; situate at the southern extremity of the Potteries, four miles south east from Newcastle, on the road between that town and Uttoxeter. This place has risen to opulence and importance, within a comparatively few years, by the prosperous manufactures which distinguish this district. The Trent and Mersey canal passes about two miles westward from the town; and through it runs a small stream, on which are several mils grinding flint. The chapel is a brick edifice, rebuilt about the year 1795, and subsequently enlarged; the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of certain trustees. An additional church was erected a few years since. There are places of worship for the several denominations of methodists, and for baptists, independents and Roman Catholics. In a free school founded by John Bourne, Esq., in 1760, forty children of both sexes are instructed; and there is another conducted upon the national plan. The markets are held on Wednesday and Saturday; the latter is the principal, and is well supplied with provisions of all kinds.
TUNSTALL, or TUNSTALL COURT, is a market town and liberty, forming part of the borough of Stoke, in the parish of Wolstanton, four miles north by east from Newcastle. Considerable manufactories of porcelain, earthenware, blue bricks and tiles, and some chymical works, afford employment to several hundred persons; and veins of coal, fine clay, limestone, iron ore, and other mineral strata, abound in the vicinity. The Grand Trunk canal passes within half a mile of the town; and the Harecastle tunnels, which run nearly two miles in length, are within a short distance. The new church here was erected partly by means of a grant from the commissioners for building churches, and the remainder by subscriptions among the inhabitants; the right of presentation to the living is vested in the perpetual curate of Wolstanton. There are three chapels for Methodists. The market is on Saturday.
LANE DELPH and FENTON are situate between Stoke and Lane End, and Cobridge between Hanley and Burslem; - they are small places, but contain some extensive pottery works, employing a considerable population, which are included in the returns for the townships to which they severally belong.
The University in 1900
Map showing the area around the University as in was in c. 1900. The Mellor and Flaxman Buildings now stand on what was the County Cricket Ground.
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