Come and see some of our local heritage at these free events !
Most of us live in a world of buildings; they are all around us and a part of the landscape. It is important to us therefore that they should, as far as possible, be attractive to look at, well designed and suitable for their purpose. To be surrounded by ugly monstrosities can be very depressing and can affect our quality of life. Many buildings will also carry memories for us; a school, place of work or a church where we were married, for example. Some are of historic interest or add character or beauty to their area.
For these reasons buildings may have an importance beyond their practical use, or if no longer required for the purpose for which they were originally constructed.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Civic Society does its best to highlight buildings which it believes are of significant merit to be worthy of preservation for the enjoyment and education of future generations, and lobbies to protect them if they become under threat from development. We are not always successful, sometimes practical considerations overrule sentiment, but in many cases we are listened to.
In addition to this, we have also inaugurated a scheme by which, in active co-operation with Newcastle Borough Council, we make bi-annual awards to encourage and reward examples of good design and workmanship for new developments, both commercial and residential, and tasteful refurbishment of older properties. If you know of any such construction, completed during the last two years, which you feel should be considered for such an award, please let us know.
This locally made clock, by Skerrett in 1890, is currently on display for all to see in the town library. It is an important symbol of our town’s heritage and Civic pride. The library was built on the site of the old Municipal Hall and that iconic building’s demolition was the impetus for the founding of the Newcastle -under-Lyme Civic Society in 1968.
Now a new “Civic Hub” is being built on the adjacent site of a recently demolished landmark Victorian school next to the Queen’s Gardens and the library will be moved into part of that new building. The space allocated for the library service is much smaller than it has at present. Consequently the future of the clock is now in doubt as space will be at a premium.
Civic Society members fervently believe that the clock should be prominently displayed in the “Civic Hub”. This view is supported by our local Member of Parliament, Paul Farrelly.
If this is not possible alternative sites within the town centre will need to be considered.
What do you think ?
Let us know where you think the clock should be displayed so that it can remain on view for everyone admire.
There has been a planning application submitted (16/00933/FUL) to demolish the former Savoy Cinema in the centre of Newcastle and to build an 11 storey block of student accommodation in its place. This site is in the Newcastle Town Centre Conservation Area, adjacent to our iconic Guildhall and in close proximity to St Giles Church.
The unsympathetic height, mass and design of the proposed building is unlikely to compliment or enhance the centre of our market town which consists mainly of three storey Georgian / Victorian buildings.
The Civic Society is strongly objecting to these proposals.
If you feel that this proposed development will detract from the character, ambiance and domestic scale of our Town Centre Conservation Area we urge you to make your views known too.
For further information visit –
publicaccess.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk and type Savoy in the search box
Heritage Open Days – 9th – 11th September 2016
Visit and learn about local places of interest free of charge !
The following places are open during the Heritage Open Days. See each listing for opening times.
Newcastle Cemetery, Lymewood Grove, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 2EH
Newcastle Cemetery Chapel will be open from 10.00am to 3.00pm on Saturday 10th September.
Members of Newcastle Civic Society will be in attendance to talk about the chapel and the Society.
Newcastle Cemetery Chapel is a Victorian Grade II listed building of architectural and historical interest. It is set on a hill just outside the town centre in 33 acres of burial ground surrounded by trees and shrubs. The interior has a beamed ceiling, half tiled with Minton tiles and is set out with wooden pews and chairs indicative of the era.
Unitarian Meeting House, Lower Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 2UA
Unitarian Meeting House will be open from 11.00am to 4.00pm on Saturday 10th September.
Non-conformist meeting house or chapel built in 1717 in the shadow of the Parish Church (St Giles) original building dated c.1650 burnt down by rioting mob. Attended by master potter Josiah Wedgwood and Joseph Priestley: chemist, theologian and discoverer of oxygen. Charles Darwin also known to have visited.
St Giles Parish Church, Church Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 1QS
St Giles Church will be open from 9.00am to 12.00 on Friday 9th September and from 10.00am to 4.00pm on Saturday 10th September.
Soaring architecture, glorious glass and many notable features including Medieval Pelican lectern, fine organ and churchwarden’s chest. This beautiful Gilbert Scott church has many gems. This year see the work undertaken with Heritage Lottery Fund to improve and beatify the church grounds and show to great advantage the fine collection of memorial stones.
Holy Trinity Catholic Church, London Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 1LQ
Holy Trinity will be open from 10.30am to 5.00pm on Saturday 10th September.
Built in 1834 in blue brick, an outstanding example of local Gothic architecture, with original altars and fittings, stained glass and other features, including life size statues of St John Fisher and St Thomas More, with engraving by Eric Gill. A church of national importance as it was one of the first Catholic churches built on a main road after the Catholic Emancipation Act. Open this weekend for visitors to explore. Guide book and parish history available. Church has been extensively repaired and re-decorated, including a new (restored) pipe organ. This year we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of local martyr, Blessed Thomas Maxfield, born in Red Street Chesterton, and who was put to death in Newgate in 1616. There will be a display of information about his life and death available in church, and the Martyrs Chapel contains a relic of his forearm bone, brought from Spain in 2000.
St Margaret’s Church, Church Lane, Wolstanton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 0EH
St Margaret’s Church, Wolstanton will be open from 10.00am to 4.00pm on Saturday 10th September.
There will be tours within the church and churchyard, advice on researching the baptismal, marriage and burial records and two special exhibitions – the centenary of the Battle of the Somme 1916 and the soldiers from the Wolstanton area that fought and died there and the life and achievements of James Brindley. 2016 is the 300th anniversary of his birth and the 250th anniversary of the cutting of the first sod for the Trent and Mersey Canal. James Brindley and Anne Henshaw were married at St Margaret’s Church on 8th December 1765.
Keele Hall, University of Keele, Keele, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 5BG
Keele Hall will be open from 10.00am to 3.30pm on Sunday 11th September.
The Keele estate was owned by the Sneyd family from 1540 to 1949. The first Keele Hall was built in 1580 and was rebuilt to the design of the celebrated Victorian architect Anthony Salvin in 1855-1860. It is a Grade II listed building. In 1949 the University College of North Staffordshire was founded on the site, which received the Royal Charter as Keele University in 1962. Keele Hall houses an outstanding collection of Mason Ironstone ceramics.
The Raven Mason Collection in Keele Hall outlines the development of Mason ceramics. Curator Harry Frost will be available and offers a free identification service for ceramic items.
There will be guided tours of the heritage areas of Keele Hall.
The Chapel is open to visitors around service times (i.e. afternoon only). Designed by George Pace and consecrated in 1965, it is the first purpose-designed ecumenical place of worship in the UK.
The campus has over 600 acres of landscaped grounds, farmland, woodland and University buildings and facilities.
There are leaflets for self-guided walks around the campus and arboretum. The arboretum includes a national collection of cherry trees.
Kidsgrove Heritage Walk
Starting at Harecastle Tunnel, Kidsgrove Canal, Kidsgrove, ST7 1EA at 10.45am on Saturday 10th September.
James Brindley was one of the country’s most famous engineers. With his pals Josiah Wedgwood and Erasmus Darwin, he was responsible for bringing the Trent & Mersey canal into being. The mile and a half long Harecastle tunnel where our walk starts is acknowledged to be one of his finest achievements, although sadly he did not live to see its completion.
This heritage walk, in the company of a knowledgeable and engaging local historian, takes you from the mouth of the tunnel that bears his name, to his final resting place at St James Church in Newchapel. Your guide will regale you with stories of the life and achievements of Mr Brindley along with other fascinating insights into local history. If you are very lucky, the great man himself may even join you for the walk !
Nearby Kidsgrove Library in The Avenue will have a display of local history books available to peruse before and after the walk.
The walk is about 4 miles long (round trip) with a slight incline at the end and 4 stiles to negotiate. Much of it is along paths but the final section crosses a field so may be muddy if it has rained. Sensible footwear and suitable clothing is recommended. This event is NOT SUITABLE for children under the age of 5.
PRE-BOOKING IS PREFERRED
BOOKING CONTACT – Trudi Barnard – Call 07946 339110 or Email email@example.com
Booking closes 2.00pm Friday 9th September
Architect’s impression of the new Public Services Hub
Newcastle-under-Lyme is essentially a small mainly Georgian/Victorian market town.
The town centre is a Conservation Area encircled by a dual carriageway ring road. Within this confined area are three main roads, High Street, The Ironmarket and Merrial Street. Many of the buildings in the town centre, now converted into shops, bars banks etc. were originally built as houses and are of domestic scale of two or three storeys. To fully appreciate the town’s heritage it is necessary to look above some inappropriate shopfronts and admire the upper storeys of the handsome buildings.
There are a number of large supermarkets situated outside the town centre that draw trade and footfall away from smaller traders.
There are fortunately still some buildings of architectural merit in the town but redevelopment in the 1960s removed some significant buildings, including the Municipal Hall in the Ironmarket, and replaced them with “modern” buildings that are in conflict with the style of neighbouring properties but at least are of a similar scale.
The Ironmarket is arguably the most attractive road in the town centre. It is a broad, largely pedestrianized, thoroughfare. Many upper storeys have changed little over the years and retain their original character and diversity. Old photographs show the dominance and majesty of the Municipal Hall that once stood proudly adjacent to the Queen’s Gardens. Demolished in the 1960s it was replaced by the current library.
If the plans for a new Public Sector Hub are successful, the library will move to the new building and be confined to a reduced floor area.
The current library building will become surplus to requirements. Its future is uncertain.
The Queen’s Gardens are the green heart of Newcastle’s town centre. Many consider this part of Newcastle second only to the Guildhall in reflecting the character and ambiance of the town.
At present the garden’s backdrop is the very attractive Victorian former St. Giles’ and St. George’s School building.
It has been proposed that this school should be demolished and replaced by a four storey Public Services Hub.
Architect’s impression of the Public Sector Hub
This development is within the Town Centre Conservation Area.
It is difficult to envisage this development sympathetically complimenting the character and ambiance of our Victorian/ Georgian heritage.
Even on a brief visit to Newcastle town centre one can observe developments that have enhanced its appeal and others that have marred its beauty and character.
The area around Red Lion Square retains some of its Georgian/Victorian heritage but York Place, built in the 1960s, now looks dated. Beyond the square there is an area which awaits development where a supermarket has been demolished. Currently it is used as a car park and this area, together with the current site of the Civic Centre facing Merrial Street, is earmarked for retail development and student accommodation.
Merrial Street has a number of interesting buildings including Wilton House, the former Conservative Club, The Ebenezer Schoolrooms and the former police station which now stands empty facing an uncertain future.
The current Civic Centre may not be the most beautiful building in town but it is a good example of the architecture of its time.
The Guildhall is the iconic landmark building in Newcastle. This building has had a chequered recent past. It was left to deteriorate after an unsuccessful period when leased for use as a public house but has recently been renovated, refurbished and brought back into public use as a public access point for council services. Once again its future may be uncertain if the proposed new public sector hub is built elsewhere in the town.
The area adjacent to the Guildhall in the High Street was demolished in the 1930s and replaced by Lancaster Buildings. This “new” building is a good example of architecture of its time and has recently become a Grade II Listed Building.
Commendably the facade of the Castle Hotel was substantially retained when the site behind was redeveloped and the new Roebuck shopping centre frontage compliments the street view and respects its neighbours.
Behind High Street in Market Street, Mellards Warehouse has been restored and refurbished to a very high standard and serves as an excellent example of sympathetic updating of a building to meet today’s needs.
Castle Walks, which extends from the bus station to the Ironmarket, consists of new build shops of two storeys with varying roof levels that have been carefully designed to compliment the surrounding area.
The south side of the High Street between Friars Road and the Grosvenor Roundabout has little to commend it as it consists largely of characterless utilitarian buildings. The north side of this road retains some of its Victorian feel with a mixture of different frontages, roof levels and architectural features and details.
At the end of the High Street there is an attractive sunken garden within Grosvenor Roundabout and across the ring road stands 1 London Road, a modern block of flats that many consider an inappropriate and out of place development.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Civic Society welcomes all new members.
If you are reading this page you must be interested in our town and probably want to ensure that its history and character are preserved for future generations to appreciate.
The Civic Society does not oppose progress and understands that the needs of our community change and develop over time but we do not wish to see our interesting, historic heritage swept aside and replaced by generic new buildings that fundamentally change the character of this Georgian / Victorian market town.
The objectives of the Society are to promote and encourage the following :-
The Society currently meets at 2.00 pm on the second Friday of each month at the Brampton Museum.
Not all everyone can attend meetings but all our members receive detailed minutes to keep them up to date.
Our annual subscription is just £7.00 per year payable in January.
If you want to help to make a difference by joining the Civic Society please email your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org
On Tuesday 9th December 2014 Newcastle-under-Lyme Civic Society was very pleased to recognise the achievements and generosity of a founder member, the late Clement “Jim” Wain who died in 2011 aged 92 years, when we officially “unveiled” the newly refurbished Queen Victoria Statue in the Queen’s Gardens and presented the Jim Wain Photographic Collection to the Borough Museum.
Jim was a member of a prominent local family all of whom loved our town, actively promoted its prosperity and strove to maintain its unique character. Jim was a real character himself and is greatly missed by all who knew him. He really cared about the town and was a tenacious campaigner. When Jim died he bequeathed three wonderful gifts to the Society. Firstly our memories of his fighting spirit, good humour and constant vigilance in preserving all that is special about our town. Secondly his extensive and unique collection of photographs of Newcastle-under-Lyme and the surrounding area showing its evolution and its treasures and eyesores lost during redevelopments. Thirdly Jim left a cash legacy to the Society to help us to continue his good work.
Members of the Civic Society decided to use part of his legacy to fund the refurbishment of the town’s Queen Victoria Statue. This work was most ably carried out by Hall Conservation and W. Burt inscribed the stone plaque.
At the event on 9th December members of the Society were delighted to be joined by The Worshipful The Mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme Councillor Linda Hailstones, her Consort Councillor Peter Hailstones and their Sergeant together with L. Wallace (Conservation Officer), P. Stepien (Landscape Officer-Landscape Development), D. Adams (Director of Amenities) and R. Tait (Head of Operations) from the Borough Council and stone sculptor W. Burt. Jim Wain’s family was very well represented by his nephews Stephen and William, his sister-in-law Janet and other family members.
On this chilly afternoon The Society’s Press Officer, Jim Worgan, addressed the gathering beside the statue and the Worshipful The Mayor responded by expressing the Borough’s appreciation for the work carried out to enhance and preserve the Grade II Listed monument.
The party then proceeded to the Borough Museum for the official handover of the Jim Wain Photographic Collection and reception.
At the Museum our Chairman, Joan Howe, welcomed our guests and, as a selection of Jim’s pictures were projected onto the wall behind her, talked about Jim and the collection of photos he had amassed. She officially presented the collection to the Museum and introduced William Wain and Teresa Mason (Culture and Arts Manager) both of whom eloquently addressed the gathering. The Worshipful The Mayor was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a year’s complimentary membership of the Society.
Statue Background Information
The original marble statue by Charles Bell Birch A.R.A. is in Oodeypore, India. From this six bronze copies were made and these are now located in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Victoria Square in Adelaide, St Peter Port Guernsey, Aberdeen, Scarborough, The Royal Infirmary Derby and Blackfriars Bridge in London.
The Newcastle-under-Lyme statue was presented to the Borough by Sir Alfred Seale Haslam and unveiled in Nelson Place on 6th November 1903 by Grand Duke Michael of Russia. It remained in that prime location until the 1960s when the construction of the ring road caused it to be moved to Station Walks.
Station Walks is a pleasant but secluded public space and unfortunately the statue became neglected and was vandalised.
As the new millennium approached Newcastle-under-Lyme Civic Society launched a project to refurbish the statue and return it to a prominent town centre site close to its original location. With the approval and support of the Borough Council, the Society set about raising funds. The project cost in the region of £10,000 and was funded by the Civic Society and contributions from members of the public, the Borough Council and local businesses.
The statue now proudly stands in Queen’s Gardens at the bottom of the Ironmarket by Nelson Place.
In 2004 the Society commissioned a condition survey of the statue which showed that,following years of neglect and the effects of corrosion, work was required to refurbish the Grade II listed statue.
2014 – Conservation work and refurbishment completed by Hall Conservation and W. Burt (stone sculptor).