BURSLEM

 

Grid Ref: SJ 869 498
10 Oct 2005

Plaque

One of a pair of plaques in the entrrance hall of the Wedgwood Memorial Institute

 

Burslem, Staffordshire spacer Burslem
Wedgwood House      The Old Town Hall, now Ceramica
Burslem   War Memorial
The Third Town Hall, now the Queen's Theatre   War Memorial
Fountain Works   Burslem
Enoch Wood Fountain Works   Nile Street Factory
Library   Henry Doulton
Wedgwood Memorial Institute   Sir Henry Doulton (1820-1897)
Tableaux of months   Entrance
Tableaux of the months.   Detail of the top of the entrance

 

The closure of the Royal Doulton Factory prompted a photographic excursion to Burslem.  It was sad to see that there were few shoppers and unlike many centres now, it was hard to find a café.  Pevsner covers the town in two sections: inner and outer Burslem and I show a handful of buildings near the centre..  The Old Town Hall, built in 1852-7 by G. T. Robinson of Leamington has impressive pilastres and Baroque roof.  It now houses the potttery exhibition centre, Ceramica.  The Queen's Theatre in Waterloo Road was formerly the New Town Hall, built in the classical style by Russell and Cooper of London and finished in 1911.  The Wedgwood House is at the corner of Waterloo Road and Moorland Road.  It has the date 1751 and the initials of Thomas and John Wedgwood.  Tea-pots have been made in the shape of the Wedgwood House.  It was featured in a Time Team dig in the centre of Burslem on the site of the old Meat Market.  This episode amused residents because of the presenters' enthusiasm over the the finds of broken pottery.  They know that wherever you dig in Burslem you find many shards.  Even so, the experts from the Hanley Museum identified pieces of interest.

The Wedgwood Memorial Institute in Queen Street was built 1863-9 and houses the Public Library. The architects were R. Edgar and John Lockwood Kipling, the father of Rudyard Kipling.  It stands on the site of the Brick House Pottery, which was rented by Josiah Wedgwood from 1762 to 1770.  It has eleven bays and the blank upper windows have tableaux depicting the months.  The School of Art faces the Wedgwood Memorial Institute but was in deep shade when I visited.  The Doulton Factory closed in 2005, jobs being exported to the Far East.   The statue of Sir Henry Doulton stands in the Market Place in front of the former Liberal Club.  It was commissioned by Royal Doulton for the Stoke on Trent National Garden Festival in Etruria in 1986, made by Colin Melbourne and installed here in 1991.

By the War Memorial is a plaque commemorating Lance Sergeant J. D. Baskeyfield of the 2nd Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment, who was killed in action at Arnhem on 20 September 1944 aged 21 and posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.  It is on display at the Museum of the Staffordshire Regiment in Lichfield.

Sources:

The Buildings of England, Staffordshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner, Penguin, 1974, ISBN 0 14 071046 9

Links:

The Local History of Stoke-on-Trent

 

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