Keele University is to open up historic areas of its campus to the public as part of the national Heritage Open Day scheme. Visitors will be able to tour the 19th century Grade II listed Keele Hall, former home of the Sneyd family, view the recently restored lakes and follow newly laid woodland paths. There will be a rare opportunity to view the Raven Mason collection of ironstone ceramics. Curator Harry Frost will be available to give tours and provide a free identification service for any ceramic items that members of the public may wish to bring. Keele’s chapel, the UK ‘s first purpose-built ecumenical place of worship, will also be open from 12 noon following the morning service and tea, coffee and biscuits will be available for visitors. Designed by George Pace and constructed from Staffordshire blue bricks donated by a local brick manufacturer, the chapel was consecrated in 1965 and is Grade II listed for its architectural importance. There will also be guided tours of Keele’s arboretum, which contains many rare species of tree, including a number of giant sequoias and a cedar of Lebanon, as well as one of the largest collections of flowering cherries in the country. The open day will take place from 10am to 4pm on Sunday, September 13, with free parking and admission. For more information call 01782 734169, e-mail email@example.com or visit http://www.keele.ac.uk
Contributed by Dr Angela Drakakis-Smith
No, things have not progressed. A meeting to discuss the details of materials and dimensions for the replacement wall was cancelled at very short notice because two of the council representatives and the County Council project officer said they were unable to attend – although everyone had had three weeks notice of this meeting. Residents thus regard this is a poor show by the councils concerned particularly as no apology or explanation was offered. It has now been more than a month and we are awaiting the details of a rescheduled meeting. In the meantime, the RA had begun sourcing stone for the new wall. It appears that coping stones alone could cost in the region of £15,000 to replace the ones that were ‘removed’ and ‘disappeared’. Residents are adamant that the new wall will match the existing wall and will not be of reconstituted forticrete – the material the developer attempted to ‘sell’ to people as a fitting substitute. Failure to set up a meeting by the end of the month will ensure that the Ombudsman and the Appeals Inspector are brought into the equation in order to get the wall rebuilt – in real time!
Contributed by Dr. Angel -Drakakis-Smith
It has been rumoured and suggested in written policy documents that the museum at the Brampton is to be moved to the centre of town to the now defunct St Giles and St Georges School. The museum at the Brampton has contributed to a very successful complex of activities at the Brampton Park which comprises a play area, a miniature steam railway, an aviary and gardens. For some children, the park and museum are the first introduction to the cultural and leisure facilities of Newcastle. Whilst most accept that change is inevitable the question to be asked is – would this be a change for the better or not? It seems that already most artistic endeavour takes place outside the town. To dismantle and move a vital component of a winning combination from Brampton Park smacks of foolhardiness, although it is recognised that there is little of cultural value in the town centre – no art gallery, no theatre, no bookshop etc. Since this has been established as a long precedent, then it needs a gradual step change to bring living culture into the town centre – which could be done by turning the old school, an interesting Victorian building in its own right, into an art gallery and tea shop, artist and craft workshops, a craft gallery etc., with artists and craftspeople showing how it is done. In this way the school could be an extension of the museum without its integrity being destroyed by an inappropriate move. It would also be able to pay for itself ensuring future sustainability. It should not be a silly option between the Brampton museum and the school. It should be a question of how to support and sustain both. The citizens of Newcastle deserve this and will accept nothing less.
Contributed by John Sutton.
For the first time in many years we are offering an award designed to recognise quality of design and workmanship in buildings and landscaping in the area. We are joined in this project by the Borough Council, who have been most co-operative and it has been a pleasure for our Society to work with them Unfortunately the event has not been as widely advertised as we intended but already there has been interest from architects in the area. We hope to have more to report in our next issue of the Newsletter.
Contributed by John Sutton
Our project this year for year eight pupils in the Borough was to devise a project in which your school could become involved with the local community. Show how the community, your school and the pupils would benefit from this project.
We felt that this well represented the ideals of the Society and we gave the schools eighteen months to work on it, expecting to receive some really interesting entries.
Unfortunately, the results were most disappointing with the poorest response since we first started a project for the schools. In the event we did receive one entry worthy of recognition and an award was made to pupils from St. John Fisher Catholic College for their project on recycling and care of the environment.
We need to consider how we should proceed with this avenue of the Society’s activity in the future and may go back to our original very successful essay theme.
Contributed by Jim Worgan
The Newcastle under Lyme Junction Canal (Upper Canal) 1798
Following the completion of the lower canal both its directors and those of the Gresley Canal realised that a through route between the two canals was now a possibility. A report drawn up in 1797 recommended the construction of the upper canal and 3 railways but by the time that the act was passed in 1798 it related only to the canal. It was completed in 1799 and ran for one and one eighth miles from Gresleys canal near to the present derelict Hanging Gate pub through the West Brampton under Queen And King Streets, alongside the Borough Arms hotel and under Brunswick Street (Zanzibar) to terminate in Stubbs Walks close to Occupation Street.
The shareholders then met to consider how the upper canal could have been connected to the lower canal but no decision was reached. Trade on the upper canal was scant with most of the traffic terminating at the coal wharf(close to Johnson’s drive in dry cleaners) and the section from here to Stubbs Gate became disused in the early part of the 19th century. This clearly affected trade on the lower canal and in 1831 George Stevenson was invited to present a report on how to connect the upper and lower canals. He proposed a single track incline plane to transport boats between the canals at a cost of just in excess of two thousand pounds. Despite heroic efforts from the shareholders, the inclined plane, which was to run down occupation street was never built. This ultimately sounded the “death knell” for most of the upper canal. In 1846 the Stubbs Field section was abandoned when the NSR who had purchased the share capital of the Trent and Mersey canal was authorised to construct a railway from Stoke to Newcastle- under-Lyme. The track bed of the railway utilised the canal bed from the Borough Arms hotel to the sidings in West Brampton and the canal became a little used waterway and had completely closed by 1864.
In the 1970’s part of the canal was discernable to the west of Hempstalls Lane and Beattie Avenue but was filled in following the restoration of the “playing fields” and the construction of the housing estate of St Michaels Road. Within the housing estate a modern road bridge crosses the Lyme brook on the site of the original canal bridge. I think many times that I should have taken photographs in this area, but never did.
The hopes and aspirations of the proprietors of all three canals were high and although initial success was achieved by Gresleys Canal, with the coming of the NSR they sank into a decline from which they never recovered.
The Civic Trust, with which most Civic Societies were affiliated, went into administration in April 2009.
This caused considerable concern for many societies, including ourselves, not least because we relied on them for insurance cover on public events such as the Heritage Open Days (see page 11).
Fortunately, we can now report that a rescue operation has been set up in the form of the Civic Society Initiative, funded and supported by the National Trust, North of England Civic Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England, and Royal Institute of British Architects, among others.. This will be welcomed by the more than a thousand voluntary civic and amenity societies and their 250,000 members.
The Civic Society Initiative will be led by seasoned campaigner and community advocate Tony Burton, who has over twenty years experience as the National Trust’s Director of Strategy and External Affairs and formerly as Deputy director of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
We look forward to being associated with this movement and are grateful to the various organisations which have rallied round with offers of financial and practical support to enable it to come into being.
Newcastle-under-Lyme and District
Contributed by Diana Bevan
Every year in September ‘Heritage Open Days’ celebrate England’s architecture, history and culture. Buildings of every age, style and function open their doors to the public free of charge and interesting activities are arranged.
Enthusiastic volunteers organise the openings and events, co-ordinated by English Heritage and local Civic Societies. In Newcastle-under-Lyme and District there are nine events taking place supported by Newcastle Civic Society.
Why not join in?
Holy Trinity Church
Sat 12th Sept 8.30 – 7 Sun 13th Sept 2 – 5
Unitarian Meeting House
Fri 11th Sept 12 – 2.30 Sat 12th Sept 10 – 4
Chapel of Rest and Lodge
Fri 11th Sept 1 – 5
Sat 12th Sept 10 – 4
St George’s Church
Sat 12th Sept 10 – 4 Sun 13th Sept 2 – 4
Keele Hall, University Chapel and Raven Mason Ceramic Collection
Sun 13th Sept 10 – 4
Silverdale History Event
Sat 12th Sept 2.00pm onwards – Organised by Brian Nixon and Silverdale History Group
Kidsgrove History Walk
Fri 11th Sept 11am – From Kidsgrove Station – Organised by Philip Leese
Audley History Event
Sat 12th Sept 2pm – A talk by Wendy Morgan at St James Church, Audley organised by Anne James and Audley FHS
Contributed by Ron Redgewell
From Stonehenge to the mills of the Industrial Revolution, and from Norman castles to the site of the first TV transmission: in each generation, a small number of exceptional places mark and celebrate human architectural achievement, define an era, mark an important struggle or push new ideas to the limit. It is appropriate and necessary to make careful decisions about the future of these places and their protection.
Identifying heritage through designation:
Listed Buildings Conservation Areas The Schedule of Monuments The Register of Parks and Gardens The Register of Historic Battlefields Protected Sea Wreck Sites World Heritage Sites
Listing helps us acknowledge and understand our shared history. It marks and celebrates a building’s special architectural and historic interest, and also brings it under the consideration of the planning system so that some thought will be taken about its future. The listings of buildings are designated under Grades:
- Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important. Just 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I.
- Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest. 5.5% of listed buildings are Grade II*.
- Grade II buildings are nationally important and of special interest. 92% of all listed buildings are in this class and it is the most likely grade of listing for a home owner.
There are about 380 protected examples of Heritage in the Borough, though being a landlocked area, no sea wreck sites nor have we a World Heritage Site, yet!
- 3 Grade I, (0.8%) two Churches and a Hall
- 23 Grade II* (6.0%) of which eleven are Churches, the remainder are mostly Halls, Manor or Farm houses
Examples across the Borough
Listed below is a selection illustrating the wide variety that is currently protected in addition to the couple of hundred buildings.
Twenty-six churches/chapels; four inns/pubs; a pigeon house, two each of dovecotes, pigsties, and stables; three castles, a barracks, war memorial and numerous memorials to celebrities of yore; two garden seats and sundials; a blast furnace; numerous canal bridges, locks, and the Harcastle Tunnels’ portals; five schools; twenty-six mileposts; two beloved K6 red telephone kiosks; the first veterinary surgery in England (at least); the Town Centre icons of the Queen Victoria statue, Market Cross and The Guildhall, together with the most recent construction the Lancaster Buildings that are currently undergoing a major refurbishment.
Contributed by Supt. Andy Franks, North Staffs. Division – 30 June 2009
Newcastle Neighbourhood Policing Unit (NPU) borders Stoke-on-Trent and covers from Clayton and the Westlands in the south through to Keele and Silverdale in the west. Further north it stretches from Chesterton to Bradwell and Porthill.
These areas contain residential developments of all ages as well as village shopping centres, a retail park and considerable industrial development. The NPU is also home to the campus of Keele University.
At the NPU’s heart is Newcastle town centre, a traditional and vibrant ‘market town’ centre which is equally busy in the evening because of its wide variety of entertainment in the form of pubs, clubs, restaurants and a multi-screen cinema complex.
Local police work very closely with colleagues from the local authority, Newcastle Borough Council.
Staffordshire Police’s mission is to put the citizen at the heart of all that we do so that we can inspire the greatest levels of trust and confidence amongst the communities we serve.
Our local policing plan is based on what you, the public, tell us matters the most.
Our aim is to understand your needs so that we deliver a service that meets and satisfies what you want. Community consultation and engagement are central to policing your neighbourhoods. Street meetings, police surgeries and public surveys tell us about the issues that you want us to deal with most.
Anti-social behaviour is high on the agenda and we continue to maximise opportunities with our partners to problem solve. We keep you informed about
what we are doing about these issues through feedback at meetings, neighbourhood newsletters and making sure we get back to you.
We want Newcastle Borough to remain a safe place to live and work, we want to keep crime down and get it down even further. This means focusing on the most serious violent crime, serious acquisitive crime and business-related crime.
We work hard to keep people safe by protecting them from harm. This means reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads and solving more incidents of serious violence and acquisitive crime.
Our plan is underpinned by the force’s core values of:
• fairness, equality and integrity
• caring, encouraging and respecting others
• respecting the dignity of each person we deal with
• professional competence and willingness to learn
• recognising and celebrating success
• using our resources effectively.
Our ‘frontline first’ approach has ensured that we are maximising the number of resources, police officers and police staff, available to the front line. We are constantly looking to remove unnecessary bureaucracy and encourage all our staff to exercise greater professional judgement and discretion. The time we free up by doing this, is used to deliver a quality service, based on the needs of our diverse communities.