Kidsgrove, in the year of Our Lord 1912.
Come with me and we can take a stroll back to the year 1912, it’s not far, a mere 100 years.
Some things have stayed the same and some have changed, whether it is for better or worse you can judge for yourself.
100 years seems a nice round figure to deal with and it just so happens that I have quite a bit of information regarding that year.
We are now officially in the 20th Century.
The reigning King is George V.
The Prime Minister is Henry Asquith, his political party is the Liberal Party.
The Liberals used to be called Whigs until the middle 1800’s, that was when they became less aristocratic and decided to reform the laws and conditions for the benefit of the people and about time too.
Here is a little bit of useful information, read into it what you will.
William Wood was born in February 1910 to Walter and Frances Wood, nee Arnold, at Woodstock which is a small hamlet between Acres Nook and Goldenhill.
Walter and Frances hope that William will one day marry and have children of his own, who knows?
I last wrote about the town 41 years ago in 1871, let’s have a look to see what has changed shall we?
We have street lighting, sewers, running water, gas lighting, electric lighting, telephones, steam trains, omnibuses, bicycles, motor cars, a postal service, schools, greater literacy, more industry, newspapers, a good variety of shops, employment laws and health care.
I believe the sewage works at Red Bull was built around 1894 and they obviously put it in the right place because Red Bull is down bank from the town.
The health care is better than 40 years ago, but we have to pay the doctor for any medicines we need, sometimes we don’t have the money to spare so we just suffer in silence or get worse.
Children are supposed to get free treatment but it doesn’t always happen that way.
Children are also supposed to get free school meals but only a few, if any get them.
Some people over the age of 70 can draw a pension from the government if they have worked for a long time and can prove that they not drunkards.
The pensions are 5 shillings for a single man and 7 shillings & sixpence per week for a married couple.
There are a lot of rules and not many people get it.
If you pay fourpence a week out of your wages into the National Assistance Fund, you might get 9 shillings a week sick pay if you are off work when you are poorly, this can last for as long as six months if the doctor approves it.
For tuppence ha’penny a week you can claim 7 shillings and sixpence a week if you are unemployed and again, there are a lot of rules about claiming it.
The national wage for a general labourer is about 30 shillings a week.
Most people who want to work and are capable of working can get a job.
The coal miners are having a vote to see if they should go on strike.
In London they say that women are chaining themselves to railings and things because they want to vote in the elections.
We can’t see what difference that will make to our lives, it won’t put food on the table will it?
We mainly eat bread, butter, potatoes and bacon, sometimes we have meat but not the best cuts.
There is a lot of poverty, some people can’t afford even basic foodstuffs never mind luxuries.
A world war hasn’t even been considered and if it did happen it would be the war to end all wars, wouldn’t it?
I think we had better keep a close eye on those Germans though, you never know, do you?
Just because the Kaiser is a close relative of our royal family doesn’t mean we should trust them, does it?
The ocean going liner, Titanic is preparing for her maiden voyage across the Atlantic, starting April 12th.
This ship is said to be unsinkable due to its modern design.
Icebergs have been seen in the North Atlantic and all shipping has been advised to keep a sharp look out.
The Olympic Games are being held in Stockholm, Sweden this year, opening on May 5th.
I will predict that Great Britain will win, 10 gold, 15 silver and 16 bronze medals.
It should be a close call with the United States of America but they will probably beat us, I should imagine.
There are 2407 people are taking part and 48 of them are women.
Kidsgrove is a town in its own right situated near to the Cheshire border on the northern edge of The Potteries in the county of Stafford, adjacent to the Trent and Mersey canal.
The town is served by two railway stations, one is on the North Staffordshire Loop Line and the other is on the main line from Stoke on Trent to Manchester.
The station masters are, Alfred Price and John Shingler Wickstead.
All of the local civil affairs are dealt with at the Urban District offices in the Victoria Hall, Liverpool Road.
The meeting day is every first Thursday at 6-30 pm.
Queen Victoria passed away just a few years ago and most towns have buildings or parks named after her, hence the Victoria Hall.
The building contains a reading room and a large hall in which public and private meetings and other entertainments can be held.
The Caretaker is Mr Charles Bailey.
The current Chairman of the council is George Stonier and the Vice Chairman is J. S. W Harding.
There are a total of 18 councillors representing the Kidsgrove and Newchapel wards, some of them are due for re-election this April.
Kidsgrove: James Barfoot, William Cooke, Edwin Griffiths, James Allott, Christopher Beech, Herbert Meadowcroft, Thomas W. Gallimore, A.S. Price, John Stubbs and George Stonier.
Newchapel: W.R.Green, Oliver Harper, Reverend F.M. Haughton, J.S.W.Harding, James Henshall, F. W. Lea, Spenser Boon and Enos Sambrook.
The Officers are.
Clerk: John James Nelson of Market Street.
Treasurer: William Edward Woolley of the United Counties Bank, Burslem.
Medical Officer of Health, Jonathon Steele L.R.C.P,The Avenue.
Surveyor: Frederick Charles Crimes, Liverpool Road.
Rate Collector, John Compston of Sunnyside, Hardings Wood.
Registrar of births: deaths & marriages, Mr E.J. Oliver who attends the Victoria Hall on Friday mornings.
Sanitary Inspector, Enoch Cotton.
Stipendiary Magistrate, Bertram Charles Stafford Brough.
The area of the civil parish is 673 acres with a population of 4,317 in 1901.
The population of the ecclesiastical parish of St Thomas is 4,552.
The area of the Urban District is 3,114 acres and its population in 1911 was
The Lord of the Manor is Captain Justinian Heathcote Edwards - Heathcote of Betton Hall, Market Drayton.
The principal landowners are Robert Heath Esq of Biddulph Grange, Sir James Heath of Oxenden, Market Harborough, Arthur H. Heath Esq and Ralph Sneyd Esq.
The Birchenwood Colliery Co Ltd is a major employer hereabouts.
Some of the people work on the farms, railways, canals and some travel to work in the Potteries.
There is talk of a national strike by the miners who want all the employers to pay a minimum wage for every man and boy who work in the pits.
There is a Post Office in The Avenue with the Sub- Post Mistress, Mrs Frances Mary Howard in charge.
Letters arrive from Stoke on Trent at 5-30 am and 3-15 pm and letters to be dispatched leave at 11-00 am and 8-40 pm, Monday to Saturday.
On Sunday they arrive at 5-30 am and are dispatched at 8-10 pm.
Compared to other towns in England, Kidsgrove is stepping smartly forward into the twentieth century.
This is probably because we have the railway and canals and we hear people talking who pass through the town about what goes on in other places in Great Britain.
There are three schools within the town.
The Council School built in 1879, is for boys, girls and infants has an average attendance of 562, with Mr Fred Hulme as master, Mrs Eliza Baxter, mistress and Miss Oulsnam in charge of the infants.
The Avenue School was built just 3 years ago and the average attendance is 160 girls, the mistress is Miss Mary Eccles.
The Liverpool Road School built in 1853 and enlarged in 1896 and also 1899, is for boys and infants has an average attendance of 160 boys and 160 infants.
John Shrives is the master and Miss Emily Whitehurst the mistress.
The Higher Education Committee is chaired by Mr George Stonier and ably assisted by the clerk, John James Nelson.
The Elementary Education is under the control of the County education Committee.
Children have to leave school when they are 12 years of age.
There are plenty of pubs to satisfy our social needs.
The hotels, pubs and clubs with the licensee’s names, are as follows.
The Lamb Hotel: Heathcote Street, George Bentley.
The Roebuck Hotel: Heathcote Street, Edwin Best.
The Harecastle Hotel: Liverpool Road, Alfred Chew.
The Plough Inn: Liverpool Road, Annie Chute.
The Crown & Thistle: Liverpool Road, Joseph Evans.
The Swan Hotel: High Street, William Hunter.
The Clough Hall Park Hotel: Clough Hall, John Thomas Johnson.
Kidsgrove Recreation & Bowling Club: Market Street.
The Working Men’s Club & Institute: Wellington Road.
There are four medical men in the town.
Adolphus Burnell Great-Rex, MD, M.R.C.S, surgeon and medical officer and public vaccinator, Harecastle House.
James Collins Furness, L.M.S.S.A, surgeon, 65 Heathcote Street.
William Austin McDonald, L.R.C.P, physician and surgeon, 44 Liverpool Road.
Jonathon Steele, L.R.C.P, surgeon and medical officer of health to the Urban District Council, The Avenue.
We have two chemists, Harry Barker Morris in Heathcote Street and Edwin Griffiths in Market Street.
They also supply photographic materials.
This is a list of businesses in the area.
TRADE No TRADE No
The Weighing machine maker is Henry Pooley and Son Ltd, most of the machine parts are made of cast iron in his foundry.
The pattern maker produces the patterns or moulds for the foundry men to pour the molten metal into to make the castings.
Borax is refined and used as a cleaning agent in soap and detergent, it is also used in potters glaze for sanitary castings and tiles.
The Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Co Ltd have a manufactory here, John Price is the manager.
The British Waggon Co Ltd, based at the Harecastle station, also makes and supplies wagons.
The Butt Lane Industrial Society was established in 1879 and has a store here.
We have an artificial teeth maker, a lot more people are smiling again now.
The saddler and blacksmith are related trades and both have dwindled with the coming of motor cars.
At this time there is one pawnbroker, Goldenhill have three, is this a good sign or do we have less possessions to barter with?
Drapers, tailors, dressmakers, milliners, outfitters and hatters, no need to travel elsewhere for our clothes.
Five insurance agents all striving to get you into their burial clubs, a penny a week is what they suggest.
They will insure anyone, spouses, children, parents or grandparents.
Perhaps it’s not a bad idea because life expectancy is only 45 for men and 48 for women.
About 2 babies out of every 10 die at birth and some die in their early years.
The doctors can inoculate us now so that we don’t catch diseases like Smallpox.
There are two banks on hand to look after your money, if you have any.
The National Provincial Bank of England is in Market Street, open every Tuesday from 11-00 am until 2-00 pm and the United Counties Bank Ltd is in Liverpool Road.
Clog makers, shoe makers, boot makers and shoe repairers are aplenty.
Six fried fish shops and six confectioners are scattered around the town, this shows that some people can now afford a few luxuries.
Eight butchers in one town, five of them in Heathcote Street, two in Market Street, and one in Liverpool road, definitely a colony of carnivores.
The Electric Picture Palace is in Station Road and the man in charge is, junior manager, Thomas Payne.
It is worth noting that there are 4 newsagents and school is now compulsory, this must mean that literacy is on the increase.
The Fire Brigade are stationed at the Victoria Hall, Captain W. Mason is the commander and he has 8 men under his command.
Inspector George Willis and 8 Constables are housed in the police station in Liverpool Road opposite the Harecastle Hotel.
Clough Hall and its grounds form a pleasure resort for the people of the pottery towns, John Thomas Johnson is the man responsible for the running of the estate.
There plenty of churches for those wishing to fulfil their spiritual needs.
They are, St Thomas’s, St John’s, a Church Mission at Hardings Wood, a Wesleyan Chapel, a Primitive Methodist Chapel and a Free Gospel Mission.
The Reverend Robert Ross is the vicar at St Thomas’s, Reverend William Edward O’Dowd is the priest at St John’s and the Reverend William Walter Vicary is the minister for the Wesleyan Chapel.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about the town of Kidsgrove, as it was a hundred years ago.
The next time that you say there is nothing on the telly or you have to wait 5 minutes for your pizza to warm up in the microwave oven, give a little thought to those people who struggled to make Kidsgrove what it is today.
In 1912 we didn’t have television, radio, central heating, gas fires, credit cards, computers, sat navs, play stations, I Pads, jet planes, McDonalds, pizzas or the internet.
You will appreciate that the following trades will surely decline over the 100 years between 1912 and 2012.
Blacksmith, boot maker, borax refiner, carter, clog maker, coal merchant, corn dealer, draper, hatter, milliner & saddler.
Obviously other trades will be created by the leaps and bounds made by the engineering, medicine and construction industries to say the least.
Quite a lot of the names I have encountered rang a few bells, have a look and see which ones you find familiar.
Beech, Ball, Bickley, Bullock, Crump, Heath, Hollies, Hollinshead, Hooper, Holford, Lawton, Leese, Leeson, Moore, Nelson, Pooley, Sillito, Steele, Stonier, Timmis, Turner, Wharton,
Currently in 2012 the population is approximately 29,000.
Between 1815 and 1914, 15 million people left Great Britain for Australia and America to escape the poverty.
Read the articles on the links below to find out more.
The Butt Lane Cooperative Society.
http://www.search.staffspasttrack.org.u ... ource=4659
The following link is about a procession in 1912 provided by Mr Philip R. Leese.
http://www.dudleymall.co.uk/loclhist/ki ... dsband.htm
Attwood Street Cemetery, memorial inscriptions.
http://wishful-thinking.org.uk/genuki/S ... e/MIs.html
I can remember visiting a house in Clough Hall about 17 years ago and the lounge walls were fitted out with ornate, dark wood panels which had been salvaged from the last known Clough Hall.
Any mistakes you may find are entirely mine.
David Wood ©2012
This is where most of the information is gleaned from, they are known as Kelly’s Trade Directories and owned by the University of Leicester.
The University has kindly allowed me to collate this information and transform it into my own words.
I have thoroughly enjoyed doing this and I sincerely hope that you gain as much pleasure out of reading it, as I did compiling it.