In 1795, Dr. J. Aikin published “A Description of the Country from Thirty to Forty Miles Round Manchester”. This book describes Newcastle and the Potteries as they were at the end of the 18th century. During the next few weeks, we shall be publishing a series of edited extracts from Dr. Aikin’s book. The first extracts look at Goldenhill, Newfield, Greenfield, Tunstall and Longport. Later extracts will describe Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Longton and Fenton.
About a mile from the borders of Cheshire, the Staffordshire potteries commence at a village called Goldenhill, from whence to the other extremity of the pottery at Lane End (Longton), is something more than seven miles; a considerable part of which, by joining together, strikes the traveller as but one town, although under different names. The manufacturing of pottery wares is, the general and nearly sole business of this extensive and very populous area; and from the great increase in the number of inhabitants and houses in the last twenty years, (it being assumed that for every inhabitant and house then, there are three now) in all probability, the various towns and villages of Goldenhill, Newfield, Smithfield (Greenfield), Tunstall, Longport, Burslem, Cobridge, Etruria, Hanley, Shelton, Stoke, Fenton and Longton will before long be so intermixed with buildings, as to form only one town with one name. People living a short distance away, already call them The Pottery.
THE VILLAGE OF GOLDENHILL
One should suppose this from its name to be a large and even splendid place, but on comparison it is found to be the least so of any in the pottery; however, its valuable mines of coal make ample amends for its other deficiencies, and from those mines the name was given it. At the upper end of this village is Green Lane, which commands a most unbounded and beautiful prospect. On one side the greatest part of Cheshire shows itself with the Welsh Hills in the distance; and on the other, a complete and the best general view of the pottery and the country beyond it.
Is well fitted for manufacturing purposes, having plenty of coal in its neighbourhood; but as the place belongs wholly to one individual, Admiral Smith Child, Esq. who has a handsome residence there, it is probable that he will not suffer himself to be inconvenienced by a consequence inevitable where there are a number of factories making earthenware together, the nuisance of the smoke and sulphur arising from them. It is therefore supposed that the number of factories will not be speedily increased here.
The situation of this place, in point of convenience for manufacturing earthenware, is not exceeded in the pottery. It has several strata of coal and course clay, which the potters use much of close to its factories; but belonging solely to Theophilus Smith, Esq. this circumstance will doubtless prevent the erection of more works. The views it commands are very beautiful and extensive.
Tunstall including its environs, is the pleasantest village in the pottery. It stands on high ground, and commands pleasing views. The manufacturers in it are respectable, and do considerable business. There formerly was a church here, and various human bones have been dug up; but such is the effect of time, that not the least trace of either the one or the other remains now. A neat chapel has been lately built here. There are a considerable number of brick and tile works here, the clay being of a superior kind for such articles, so that with good management the tiles made from it are as blue, and look as well on the roof of a house as moderate slate. This place is four miles from Newcastle, and nine from Congleton, standing on the turnpike road from Lawton to Newcastle; another turnpike road also commences here, and ends at Bosley in Cheshire.
Longport situated in a valley between Burslem and Newcastle; has some good buildings in it, and several large factories; but its situation thereby is rendered at times disagreeable, if not unwholesome, by the smoke hanging over it longer than if it was on higher ground. The Trent & Mersey Canal passes through Longport where there is a public wharf. This place was formerly called Longbridge, from a kind of bridge that ran about 100 yards (91.44 metres) parallel with a stream; on the completion of the canal there was a rapid increase in buildings and businesses and about 20 year ago the inhabitants changed its name to Longport.
The Potteries in 1795 (Part One) – Edited by the Phoenix Trust 2010
To be continued