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little to the north of Tunstall, is a very remarkable stations ; but is not £150,000 rather a startling exwork. It is 2,880 yards long, about a mile and two-penditure for a single station in this district ? thirds. When first constructed, it had only width There is one thing observable at the Stoke station enough for one barge at a time; and as the boats used which is peculiarly fitting for the metropolis of the to consume two hours in the passage, all barges coming Potteries. Wherever earthen or pottery wares in the opposite direction had to wait their turn. When reasonably be used, they are used. In many of the Baron Dupin was in England, he seems to have been fittings of the station, the neat, cleanly, 'glazed ware struck with the great traffic on this canal; for he appears to great advantage. But the striking feature said, “This place is so frequented, that at the moment is the splendid tesselated pavements, laid under the when the passage of the boats begins, a file of boats corridors of the two fronts of the station. These are a mile long is often seen." The increasing traffic specimens of the skill of Messrs. Minton in this debetween the Potteries and Manchester rendered it partment of their manufacture. Like the pavement necessary either to enlarge the Harecastle tunnel or of the Temple Church, they are formed of coloured to build a new one. The latter plan was adopted; tiles, laid in definite arrangement; and the design and Telford built a new tunnel in 1825, parallel to which they follow is a very elaborate and rich one, that which Brindley had built half a century before. containing not mere ornaments, but armorial bearings The new tunnel is a little longer, a little wider, and a and inscriptions connected with the Company and with good deal higher than the old one; it has a towing- the Potteries. path made of iron, so supported as to allow the water These pavements remind us that a short notice of to flow beneath it; and thus the primitive mode of this new branch of Staffordshire industry and taste • legging' is dispensed with.
may not be amiss.
It stands out broad and distinct The North Staffordshire Railway, noticed in an from the productions which lately engaged a little of earlier page in relation to its connection with other our attention. railways, establishes a medium of communication The very beautiful designs contained in Mr. Owen between the several Pottery towns. There are stations Jones's work on 'Mosaic Pavements,' show that taste at Lane End, Stoke, Etruria, and Burslem. That at will not be wanting, if our manufacturers can produce Etruria is small and insignificant; that at Burslem is the proper materials for such pavements; and Mr. a little better; the one at Lane End is better still; Ward's Introductory Essay to that volume shows us how but the Stoke station is really magnificent. It is the varied have been the modes of executing these works centre of the Company's operations--their offices, of art. Mr. Ward says : “ The materials of the best engine-houses, depôts, workshops, and warehouses ; | and costliest pavements at Rome (such, for example, and it certainly indicates that the Directors have san- as those still remaining in the Baths of Caracalla) are guine anticipations of a large future traffic. We hope, coloured marbles of various kinds, differing considerably for the sake both of the Company and the district, from each other in hardness and durability. The infethat such will prove the case. The works of the rior pavements, found scattered through Britain, France, station show a plan of great beauty and magnitude. and other parts of Europe, and along the northern The railway is four lines in width at this spot; and the coast of Africa, are usually made of such coloured booking-offices and arrival and departure platforms lie stones as the neighbourhood happened to supply; with on both sides, to accommodate the up and down traffic. the exception only of the red tesseræ, which are almost The whole of the appointments have a completeness invariably of burnt clay. Thus, in the celebrated and a high finish which we are accustomed to look for Roman pavement which was discovered in 1793, at only at the great terminal stations of the railways. Woodchester, in Gloucestershire, the grey tesseræ are The two fronts of the station, towards the east and of blue lias, found in the Vale of Gloucester; the ashwest, as well as the inner fronts towards the rails, are coloured tesseræ of a similar kind of stone, often found in the Tudor style; and the red brick with stone in the same masses with the former; the dark brown dressings, the eaves, the roofs, and all the details, are of a gritty stone, met with near Bristol and in the most carefully worked out. A railway-hotel lies east- Forest of Dean; the light brown of a hard calcareous ward of the station, which must take rank among the stone, occurring at Lypiat (two miles from the site of most elegant things of the kind in the kingdom. It is the pavement); and the red tesseræ (as usual) of fine built precisely in harmony with the station itself; and brick." with its stables and out-houses, has the appearance of It is observable that the tesseræ, or small cubic an old English mansion of the larger kind-so far pieces of the Roman pavements, are by no means uniat least as that can appear old which is newly from form in shape and size : the fissures between them are the workmen's hands. There may be, and there are, wide and irregular ; and as these fissures are filled up larger stations than this in England ; but as seen from with cement, a muddy hue is given to the general the gravelled quadrangle between the station and the tints of the pavements. We may see proofs of this hotel, there is an architectural unity in the expression in the specimens deposited in the British Museum. of the whole, which will yield to very few things of Mr. Ward notices the various plans suggested within the kind in the kingdom. It is pleasant to see Art the last few years for making tesselated pavements in brought in as a handmaid to Commerce, in our railway this country. In the beginning of the present century Mr. Wyatt adopted the plan of inlaying tesseræ of|
ENVIRONS OF THE POTTERIES. stone with coloured cements; and later trials have been made of terra-cotta inlaid with similar cements ; Let us now look around a little, and glance at the but in all such contrivances the unequal hardness of vicinity of the Potteries, to see what are the general the materials has led to unevenness in the wear. Mr. characteristics of the neighbourhood. There are not Blashfield introduced the method of forming the tessera wanting a few of those spots which a working popuof cements coloured with metallic oxides; but the lation eagerly welcome as the scene of a day's holiday; brown colour of the Roman cement requisite for out- while there are others which appeal to a higher or at of-door use is found to give a dusky hue to all the least a different taste. tints. Bitumen, coloured with metallic oxides, has A map of Staffordshire shows to us, within a circle been tried ; but the bitumen soon wears to an irregular of ten or twelve miles' radius around the centre of the surface. A more successful plan than any of these Potteries, the towns of Leek, Congleton, Crewe, Newwas the one adopted by Mr. Singer, in which tesseræ castle, Stone, and Cheadle; or rather, although Conare formed by cutting pieces of the required form out gleton and Crewe are not in this county, they are in of thin layers of clay; which pieces are afterwards that portion of Cheshire which abuts upon it, and are dried and baked, and united together by a peculiar within the linear limits above-named. Leek, lying northcement. In another method liquid clay is poured into east of the Potteries, connected with them by the Caldon moulds.
Canal, and on the road from thence to Buxton and But the method which seems likely to have the Bakewell, is neither a pottery town nor an iron and most lasting results is that which sprang from Mr. coal town; neither, on the other hand, is it simply an Prosser's remarkable discovery about ten years ago. agricultural town. It is one of the silk towns; one It is found that when flint and fine clay are reduced of the small knot of towns in which this manufacture to a fine powder, and in that state subjected to strong is carried on. It is singular to see that, Derby and pressure between steel dies, the powder becomes com- Manchester being the two ,chief silk towns, three of pressed into about a quarter of its former bulk, and is the others lie along the road leading from one to the converted into a compact solid substance of extraordi- other; as if this portion of national wealth, travelling nary hardness and density. This curious discovery on its way from Derby to Manchester, dropped a little was first applied to the manufacture of buttons, to of the treasure as it went along. Leek, Congleton, and supersede those of mother-of-pearl, bone, &c.; but it Macclesfield, the three towns here alluded to, all lie has since been brought into requisition for making the between Manchester and Derby.
Leek takes up cubical or other formed pieces for tesselated pavements. chietly the ribbon or narrow silk department; and In Messrs. Minton's large establishment at Stoke the many hundreds of men, with a much larger number new process is carried on; and it is certainly one which of women and children, are thus employed. There seems susceptible of great extension. The tesseræ are near the town a few fragments of a Cistercian may be of any colour-white, black, red, blue, yellow, Abbey, called 'Dieulacres ;' but it is rather as an brown ;, and of any definite form-quadrilateral, tri- entrance-gate to the hilly district of Derbyshire, than angular, rhomboidal, hexagonal. In the formation of as a town picturesque in itself, that Leek is likely to a pavement with such tesseræ, the pieces are first put attract notice. The country becomes wild immediately together in their proper order, face downward, on a to the east of Leek, and maintains that feature till we smooth surface, so that they find their level without any reach Longnor, where the beautiful river Dove introtrouble to the workman; and as soon as a sufficient duces us at once to a new scene-a scene which has portion of the design is finished, it is backed with fine already occupied a place in our Work (vol. iii., p. 222). Roman cement, which is worked in to fill the crevices Passing round to a point due north of the Potteries, between the tesseræ. The pavement is thus formed we come to Congleton, having encountered in the way into smooth fat slabs of convenient size, which are nothing very beautiful or remarkable, except it be the laid down on any properly-prepared foundation. Mole Cop, or Mow Cop, which lies directly between
It is in one or other of the above modes that all Congleton and the Potteries, thereby necessitating a the modern tesselated pavements are made; and the westward curve for the road and the railway which beautiful specimens at the Stoke station show that lead from the one to the other. This Mole Cop is much elegance of design is attainable in such works. a sort of Richmond Hill or Windmill Hill for the Whether the colours will retain their brilliancy through-potters. Already has the Railway Company planned out the bustle and traffic of a railway-station, remains cheap excursions thither ; but the rather formidable to be seen. There is a piece of tesselated pavement height of the hill (nearly 1,100 feet), and the somewhat laid down in the vestibule or corridor of the new grand bleak character of the surrounding district, render it hall of the Euston-square Station, belonging to the but ill-qualified to bear a comparison with the holiday London and North-Western Company, which already hills within reach of the Londoners. presents rather a muddy tint: if this is a necessary Congleton is a place of much more antiquity and result of the employment of colours in such a spot, it interest than Leek. There is evidence that it was will detract a good deal from the beauty of such pro- once a military station of the Romans; and there are ductions.
many features about it which speak of past times.
Almost the whole of the inhabitants are more or less largest depôt of the largest Railway Company : it is dependent on the silk-manufacture, which is carried on a considerable town, every house in which, and every more largely than at Leek. The silk-mills lie along person in which, are more or less dependent on railways the margin of the river Dove, which passes through for support. Six great lines of railway start from this the town. The manufacture is said to be almost wholly spot,-five in work and one yet in nubibus. The first confined to black silks. There was a time when tagged leads to Chester and Holyhead, the second to Warleather laces, called 'Congleton points,' were a very rington and the north, the third to Manchester and considerable article of manufacture. At the margin the West Riding, the fourth to the Potteries and of the town are some cotton-mills. Considered simply Derby, the fifth to Stafford and London, and the sixth as a town, Congleton is about a mile in length, and is (one member of the Shropshire Union Railway, yet beautifully situated in a deep and picturesque valley only partially developed,) through Shropshire into on the banks of the Dane. At the western extremity central Wales. of the town are the mansions of the opulent manufac- Keeping within closer limits, but on the same side turers, surrounded by shrubberies and ornamental of the Potteries, we find Newcastle-under-Lyme, which gardens ; but the interior of the town contains more we have before named as becoming every year more of those little bits which an artist would love to sketch. and more closely connected with Stoke by the increase There are many of the old houses which are so common of buildings between the two towns. The antiquaries in Cheshire, constructed entirely of timber frame-work have had some little difficulty to determine what this and plaster.
lyme means : there is no River Lyme or Mount Lyme Within an easy walk of Leek and Congleton are the in Staffordshire ; and an explanation has to be sought ruins of Biddulph Hall (Cut, No. 8). This interesting for in some other direction. It appears that there was fragment is all that remains of a structure which was an ancient forest or woodland, which, in very early built in 1558 : it was ravaged by the Roundheads times, separated Cheshire from the rest of England : about a century later, consequent upon the support this forest was called Lime, probably from its standing which its then owner, John Biddulph, gave to Charles I. on the limes, or border. There are many places situThe ruins of the old mansion are picturesquely placed ated on or near this margin of the two counties, whose on the side of a hill, and are worth more attention names have a terminal syllable of lyme, lyne, lime, or than their secluded situation allows them to receive. line; such as Ashton-under-Line, Burslem (anciently
The circle which passes through Congleton and Burr-wardes-lime), Newcastle-under-Lyme, MadelyCrewe just skirts upon Sandbach. This latter-named under-Lyme, Whitmore-under-Lyme, Belton-undertown stands upon a very pretty eminence on the banks Lyme, and Audlem (Old Lyme); and it seems a of the river Wheelock, and commands within its range rational conjecture that these terminal syllables may of view an extensive sweep of mountain scenery, from have arisen from the proximity to the lime or forest. the Derbyshire hills in the east to the Welsh mountains Be all this as it may, however, Newcastle-under-Lyme in the west. Sandbach occupies a sort of neutral is an ancient town, which has returned members to ground as to productive industry: it touches slightly Parliament since the reign of Edward III., and has upon many departments, but does not belong entirely been a corporate town since the reign of Henry II.
It stands on the verge of the brine-spring The town is very irregular; it is somewhat difficult district, and is so far connected with the salt-region to say which is the High-street; although that which of Cheshire ; it lies on the same mail-coach route (or forms part of the old coach-road from London to what used to be a mail-coach route before the days of Liverpool has perhaps the best claim to that title. railways) as Newcastle-under-Lyme, at ten or a dozen The churches, the houses, the Guildhall, the almsmiles distant from it, and has shared with it a portion houses, -all have an old-fashioned, last-century appearof its shoe trade : it lies south-west of the Macclesfield ance, but are not old enough to be picturesque. A and Congleton district, and has, within the last few castle once stood in this town; but it was destroyed years, shared with those towns in the silk manufacture. many centuries ago ; and no vestiges of it now remain,
Of Crewe, what ought we to say—what can we say, except a portion of the mound on which it was built ; in the brief limits left to us? That wonderful place, the rest having been levelled into the moat for purposes the growth of railways-by railways formed, and fed, of cultivation. The manufacture of hats is the largest and maintained,- is almost worthy of a sheet for itself; carried on within the town; but this has lessened and when we see what Sir Francis Head has made of within the last few years ; and other circumstances it, in his recent graphic article in the 'Quarterly have tended to give to Newcastle the aspect of a Review,' we feel that it would be better to pass the declining town. Time was, when it was regarded as subject untouched, than to spoil it by wedging it in the metropolis of the Potteries ; but Stoke has usurped where there is not adequate room for it. Fortunately, this position. Railway proceedings have tended to it so nearly escapes the limits of our ten miles radius, deteriorate the town. Before the formation of the that we have an excuse for leaping over it, or rather, Grand Junction Railway, Newcastle was on the great for keeping on the hither side of it. Suffice it to say, route to Liverpool ; but it was then placed in the that Crewe was hardly even a village when the Grand position of a mere omnibus town in connection with Junction Railway was planned, and that now it is the one of the de stations; and since the opening of