The village of Butt Lane has always been rather in the shadow of Talke. Early directories speak of it as "scattered houses" but, being alongside the busy turnpike road through Staffordshire (from Carlisle to London), it must have also had its share of pubs and beer shops for travelers.
The increase in coal-mining activity in the area in the 19th Century was probably the reason the village expanded. Slackern, or Slappenfield Colliery, Woodshuts, Hollins Wood, Bunkers Hill and other smaller pits flourished and then were worked out. Many of the miners who worked them lived in the streets built at right angles to the main Congleton road - Wright, Church, Chapel, Glebe, Skellern and Woodshutts Streets. A number came from Wales to work, and the Ebenezer Hall in Banbury Street once rang with their voices, so it's said.
Late in the 19th Century two fustian mills were set up, one in Banbury Street and one in Old Butt Lane. Fustian was a cheap cotton fabric, like velveteen. In 1892 Samual Cope is listed in a trade directory as a "Fustian Cutter and Tobacconist". During the early years of this Century the two factories provided work for local girls, who according to one of them, Mrs Cooper of Talke, used to walk miles up and down the long tables each day cutting the cloth, and were paid 3 shillings (the equivalent of 15p) a week.
Also late in Victorian times, the Butt Lane Co-operative Society opened a shop, first on the left hand corner of Church Street and Congleton Road, but later expanding into a much larger building on the opposite corner and becoming the local department store - grocery, butcher, hardware, shoes, clothing and savings bank all under one roof.
The cinema in Congleton Road, which opened in 1914 as The Grand Palace Theatre and ended its days called The Regent, has had a chequered history since the last film was shown there. It has been a Bingo Hall, The Mustard Seed Community Centre and a now a Factory Shop.
Next to the cinema stood Joe Kettle's Blacksmiths shop, a source of fascination for local boys, until it caught fire and burnt down, not once but twice.
Butt Lane's main claim to fame, of course, is as the Birthplace of Reginald Mitchell, designer of the Spitfire, though he did not live long in the village before moving to Normacott.
After World War II a new era of development opened with the start of the Linley Industrial Estate, which, attracting English Electric and G.H. Heath's Nylon Factory, and later on the Marconi Company, major companies still in the area include CEGELEC and Celestica (ICL).