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Burslem, Staffordshire

Historical Description

Burslem, a municipal borough, a township, and a parish in Staffordshire. The town stands on the side of a hill, on the Trent and Mersey Canal, 3 miles NNE of Newcastle-under-Lyme, 3 NW of Stoke-upon-Trent, and 149 distant from London. It has stations (Burslem, Cobridge, and Long-port) on the North Staffordshire railway. It was known at the Conquest as Burwardesb'n; it came early into notice in connection 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 of its central position in the great Staffordshire pottery tract, the " Mother of the Potteries." It is irregularly though substantially built. The streets are well pavad, and there is an abundant supply of water, and a good system of drainage. The town-hall, built in 1854, is a handsome building in the Italian style, and contains municipal offices and a spacious hall for entertainments. 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 facade decorated with terra-cotta mouldings, tile mosaics, Delia Robbia panels, and other products of the ceramic art. There is a large covered vegetable market, the erection of which cost £22,000, as well as two market halls, and a Charity Hospital, erected in 1887. The cemetery, laid out at an expense of over £20,000, situated near Smallthorne hamlet, comprises 28 acres and is under the control of a burial board. A handsome public park was laid out in Moorland Road in 1894, and public baths have been erected at a cost of over £10,000. St John's Church is ancient, was rebuilt in 1717, with the exception of the massive embattled tower, and was restored in 1878. St Paul's Church, in Longport, is a large handsome stone structure erected in 1830 at a cost of £14,000; it has an embattled tower with pinnacles and several stained windows. Christ Church, Cobridge, is an edifice of brick with stone pinnacles, built in 1839 and enlarged in 1842. Holy Trinity, Sneyd, is a fine stone structure of 1852. There are Roman Catholic, Congregational, Baptist, Wesleyan, Primitive Methodist, and other dissenting chapels. There are numerous pottery establishments 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, money order, and telegraph office under Stoke-upon-Trent, and is a seat of petty sessions and a polling-place for the borough of Hanley. It was incorporated in 1878, and is governed by a town council consisting of a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors. The county court sits monthly at the town-hall. Markets are held on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, and fan's on the Saturdays before Shrovetide, Easter, Whitsuntide, first Sunday after 24 June, and Christmas, for horses, cattle, and sheep, and for pleasure on the first Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday after 24 June. Monthly cheese fairs were commenced in 1887. Acreage of the municipal borough, 1861; population, 31,999.The township includes Longport and Dale-Hall. The parish includes also the hamlet of Sneyd, the ville of Bush-ton-Grange, and the lordship of Abbey-Hulton. Area of the civil parish, 3090 acres, with 32 of water; population, 32,767; of the ecclesiastical parish of St John the Baptist, 10,483; of St Paul, Longport, 10,086; of Christ Church, Cobridge, 5424; and of Holy Trinity, Sneyd, 4920. 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 of St John the Baptist is a rectory in the diocese of Lichfield; net value, £315 with residence. St Paul, Longport, is a separate ecclesiastical parish, constituted in 1845. The living is a vicarage in the gift of the rector of Burslem; gross value, £300 with residence. Christchurch, Cobridge, was constituted in 1845 an ecclesiastical parish, comprising the lordship of Abbey-Hulton and the ville of Kushton-Grange. The living is a vicarage in the gift of the rector of Burslem; net value, £310 with residence. Holy Trinity, Sneyd, was constituted in 1844; the living is a vicarage in the gift alternately of the Crown and the Bishop of Lichfield; net value, £106 with residence.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyStaffordshire 
Ecclesiastical parishBurslem St. John the Baptist 
HundredNorth Pirehill 
Poor Law unionWolstanton and Burslem 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

Findmypast, in association with the Staffordshire & Stoke on Trent Archive Service have the Baptisms, Banns, Marriages, and Burials online for Burslem

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Burslem from the following:

Land and Property

A full transcript of the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Staffordshire is online.


Online maps of Burslem are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Staffordshire newspapers online:

Villages, Hamlets, &c

Abbey Hulton
Bradley (Burslem)
Rushton Grange
CountyCity of Stoke-on-Trent
RegionWest Midlands
Postal districtST6
Post TownStoke-On-Trent