BARLASTON

Grid Ref: SJ 894 392
7 February & 24 March 1999; 5 January 2003 and 25 Sept 2015

 

Barlaston Hall spacer Barlaston Hall
Barlaston Hall, 24 March 1999      Barlaston Hall, 24 March 1999
College   College
Wedgwood Memorial College, 7 February 1999   The Limes, overgrown in 2015

 

Barlaston Hall stands close to the Wedgwood factory and visitor centre. It was built by Thomas Mills between 1756 and 1758; the architect was Sir Robert Taylor. It has been subject to major restoration by English Heritage in the 1990s. The area was subject to subsidence as a consequence of coal mining and considerable work was needed to stabilise the hall. It has a basement that is almost underground and the main rooms on the first floor. The windows are octagonal instead of rectangular but the house has many Palladian features. It is said that when the house was seen for the first time by the nearby lady of Trentham Hall, she asked "Who owns that vulgar red house?" It was then covered in stucco and the scoring of the bricks necessary for securing this are still visible. During the Second World War, the Bank of England dispersed activities to the ballroom at Trentham Hall and to Barlaston Hall. The stucco was then removed as it was believed it made the building too visible to enemy aircraft.

Wedgwood Memorial College was the first adult education college of its type. When it began in 1945, it was housed in Barlaston Hall. It occupied two large houses in Station Road, The Limes and Estoril. Sadly it has now closed. It was a member of the Adult Residential College Association. The college ran a wide range of courses. At The Limes there is an arboretum. A new building, Esperanto House, was erected on the Estoril site to house the library of the British Esperanto Association.

I revisited Barlaston to see Wedgwood Memorial College in September 2015. It is very sad to see The Limes and Estoril, for sale together with Esperanto House. The properties look overgrown and are surrounded by vandal-proof fencing. I spent many happy hours here on history related courses.

Sources:

English Country Houses, a course by John Champness at Wedgwood Memorial College, 22 to 24 March, 1999.
There is a Wikipedia article on Barlaston
Genealogy in UK and Ireland (Genuki) has a page on Barlaston

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