Burslem in 1872


John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales - 1870-2

BURSLEM, a town, a township, a parish, and a subdistrict in the district of Wolstanton, and within the borough of Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire. The town stands on the side of a hill, adjacent to the Grand Trunk canal and the North Stafford railway, 3 miles NNE of Newcastle-under-Lyne. It was known at the Conquest as Barcardeslim; it came early into notice, in connexion with excellent clays beneath and around it, for the manufacture of earthenware; it took the lead of all the towns and hamlets of England in improvements in pottery; it was the birthplace of Wedgwood, and the scene of his many achievements till his removal to Etruria; and it has been called, both on account of its history and on account of its occupying a central spot in the great Staffordshire pottery tract, the "Mother of the Potteries."

It is irregularly, though substantially built; it consists of streets and thoroughfares so confusedly aligned as to be perplexing to strangers; it has grown into junction with Longport, so as to be practically one place with that town; and it displays everywhere the murky and grotesque features of its staple manufacture. The townhall, built in 1855, is a redeeming object. The structure is an oblong, of 100 feet by 60, in the Italian style, with plastered Corinthian arcade, large end portico, and surmounting belfry; consists of three stories; and contains municipal offices, newsroom, lecture-rooms, and a spacious main hall. The Wedgwood Memorial Institute, opened in 1869, near the town hall, and near the place where Wedgwood's manufactory stood, comprehends a school of art, a museum, and a free library, and presents an ornamental façade decorated with terracotta mouldings, tile mosaics, Della Robbia panels, and other products of the ceramic art.

St. John's church is a brick edifice, with a massive stone Norman tower. St. Paul's church, in Longport, is a handsome stone structure of 1828, built with aid of £8,000 from the church commissioners. Christchurch, in Cobridge, is an edifice of brick, with stone pinnacles, built in 1843. Sneyd church, in Sneyd hamlet, is a fine stone structure of 1852. There are chapels for Independents, Baptists, Wesleyan Methodists, and other dissenters; and there is a school with £27 from endowment. About forty pottery establishments are in the town and its neighbourhood, producing every variety of porcelain and earthenware; and these, together with glass-works, colour-mills, smelting-furnaces, and various works connected with the potteries and the mines, employ nearly all the inhabitants. The town has a post office under Stoke-upon-Trent, a railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, and four chief inns; and is a seat of sessions and a polling place. Markets are held on Monday and Saturday; and fairs on the Saturday before Shrove Tuesday, the Saturday on or after 24 June, the Saturday before Ember-week, and 26 Dec.

The township includes Longport and Dale-Hall. Real property, £51,264; of which £1,380 are in mines. Pop., 17,821. Houses, 3,510. The parish includes also the hamlet of Sneyd, the ville of Rushton-Grange, and the lordship of Abbey-Hulton. Acres, 2,940. Real property, £65,240; of which £8,226 are in mines. Pop. in 1841, 16,091; in 1861, 22,327. Houses, 4,390. The property is much subdivided. Potter's clay forms a bed from 2 to 10 feet thick; fire clay lies below to considerable depth; and coal lies below the fire clay. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Lichfield. Value, £525. Patron, J. Morris, Esq. St. Paul, Christchurch, and Sneyd are separate charges, with perpetual curates. Value of St. Paul, £300; of Sneyd, £150; of Christchurch, £142. Patron of St. Paul and Christchurch, the Rector of Burslem; of Sneyd, alternately the Crown and the bishop. The sub district is conterminate with the parish.

An 1872 Gazetteer description of the following places in Burslem is to be found on a supplementary page.

  • Abbey-Hulton
  • Bradley
  • Cobridge
  • Longport
  • Rushton-Grange
  • Sneyd
[Description(s) from The Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72) - Transcribed by Mike Harbach ©2020]