Goldenhill “Gateway to the Potteries”

David Wood has sent in the following article, which tells you what it was like in Goldenhill going back as far as the 1940s.

Back in the forties, fifties and early sixties on a good day, you could sometimes see your hand in front of your face.

The smoke, fog and subsequently the smog, was so thick that you literally could not see your hand if your arm was outstretched.

The main cause of this was the bottle ovens stretching across the length of the city from Tunstall to Longton, although the fact that everyone had a coal fire didn’t help matters.

Truly, on a clear day you could see the pall of smoke hanging over the city like a massive black blanket.

If you search the internet, you will find several photo examples of this.

Even as late as the mid sixties there were still a few houses in the village without electricity, the lighting being powered by gas.

A few houses still did not have an inside water tap, the only supply was in the outhouse down the yard next to the outside loo.

The street lighting was provided by gas lamps.

As I have mentioned before we had loads of chapels, churches and pubs, we even had three bus companies, Stoniers, Jeffreys and the PMT.

There was a cinema, not just an ordinary cinema but a Super Cinema, which was run superbly by the Johnson family.

We had butchers shops, oatcake shops, chip shops, hairdressers, newsagents, public toilets, clothes shops, coal merchants, cafes, an electrician’s shop, a DIY shop, a laundrette, a children’s playground, a pop works, a football pitch, two bakeries, and a police station, there was even a council depot with a road roller in it.

Schools were plentiful, Hollywall Lane infants and juniors, Church infants, Church juniors, Goldenhill Secondary Modern and the Catholic School.

The village was completely self contained, there was very little reason to venture out into the big wide world.

So, when you are playing on your playstations or computers, wending your way home by courtesy of your sat nav, watching one of the 250 television stations via satellite or ordering a pizza on your mobile phone, remember, things could be worse.

We didn’t have a lot, but what we had we appreciated and there was a true community spirit.

I am proud to say that I grew up on Goldenhill.

If you found the write up really interesting then why not go to the website forum page and click on the local memories tab and leave a message of some of your past recollections.

You can also use the web link to browse through the booklet that the Goldenhill & Sandyford Memories Group have produced

43 comments to Goldenhill “Gateway to the Potteries”

  • Tom Simpson

    David Wood has given us a few more titles to add to the list of facilities etc which existed in Goldenhill.
    Two cobbler’s shops, a fishmongers, a post office, a dry cleaners, an ice cream maker, an undertakers and a monumental masons.
    You could have a game of snooker in the Miners Institute or Uffers as it was known or even a game of bowls on the bowling green behind the Red Lion.
    He hopes all of this either brings back fond memories or generates a desire to know more about the village life in Goldenhill.
    Come on everybody out there why not share what you remember and give us names of people who helped shape our area in years gone by.

  • Paul Wilshaw

    I lived and grew up in Goldenhill in the 60’s and 70’s and reading some of the comments brought back some happy memories. I lived in Breakspeare Street with my parents Dennis and Sylvia Wilshaw. My brother David was actually born in the house in 1965. I attended the C of E Junior School and remember teachers Mr Hancock and the formidable Mr Beech. My father worked as a bus driver for Stoniers and Jeffreys which was 50 yards from our house.I always remember the large bonfire that we used to have on the banks as we called it on Guy Fawkes night. My great Uncle Dan and Aunt Nellie lived opposite Eva Bourne’s shop. I remember my mum sending me there withthe items she wanted written on a note.We moved into No 4 Ancaster Street in 1971. I remember the street party we had in 1977 for the Queens Silver Jubilee. We arranged a game of football(jumpers for goal posts) between the the lads and fathers on the car park area at the bottom of Breakspeare Street with yours truly scoring the winning goal, and the party held at the Methodist Chapel where we attended Sunday School. These are just a few of my memories and I’m sure I have many more…If anyone remembers me or my family please drop me a mail. Paul Wilshaw.

  • mrs kathleen smith

    i was born in goldenhill in 1951 i lived there until i was eleven we lived in the barracks very old houses my family lived all close by my grandma lived next door.the street was called central street No 11 . i had a lovely childhood there my mum and i went to the cinema most saturday nights then home to tea and the radio.we did not have a telly until i was about seven we used to play on stoniers buses go to bathpool with a bottle of water and jam pieces.i have many happy memories.kath smith

  • mrs kathleen smith

    thank you for that information i have lots of memories from that time. i also have some photos i went to st josephs catholic school coming home across the fields my coat touching the snow coming in freezing to a coal fire and hot tea.we used to play in the school yard that was near where we lived we used to get in through the railings there is still a gap where we got through.i go to goldenhill sometimes to look around.kath smith

  • Pam Booth

    I too grew up in Charlotte Street Goldenhill, and remember clearly Jeffreys bus garage – these clearly marked brown and yellow buses took workers to the ROF Factory at Radway Green, all the home matches at Stoke City when they played at The Victoria Ground and to Blackpool at 6pm every Friday evening that Blackpool Illuminations were on returning on Sunday without fail.

    I even remember going on a bus trip on Jeffreys to Tatton Park in Knutsford with my local school.

    Happy memories, I could never remember whose chips I liked most, either Lanes, Chadwicks or Vera’s, they were always delicious, plentiful and yummy!

  • David Wood

    Hi Pam, thanks for the comment, it nice to know that people are reading my ramblings and find it interesting enough to reply.
    The chip shop at the top of the high street, I thought was owned by Lovatts, but you say it was Chadwicks, I think you are correct on this.
    I remember the man was named Eddy and they had a son who was quite a bit younger than me.
    I think that we played the same quiz with my old friend William or potassium, as he is sometimes known.
    I used to deliver papers for Ault’s shop so I probably delivered to your home.
    Thanks again and there are still a couple of pages waiting to be published yet, Tom is drip feeding them in to keep you all keen.
    Bye David wood

  • Pam Booth

    I can remembver Finney’s newsagents on the High Street, there were also 2 greengrocers close together, Hulson’s on one corner and Marsh’s on the other.

    My best ever friend married at the new Methodist Church in 1981 (it is now called The Gateway Methodist Community Church) and emigrated to Auckland in New Zealand and she and her family have been settled there for over 30 years! I have only seen her about 3 times since she emigrated, we sometimes e-mail each other.

    Happy Times!

  • David Wood

    When I was avery young lad the newsagents were owned Billy Barlow and Albert Fryer.Barlow’s was bought by Reg Scott and his wife and Fryer’s was bought by Bernard and Joan Ault.I delivered papers for Bernard for 2 years until I left school at Christmas 1961.I think Ron Procter bought the business from Bernard and then Gerald and Joy Finney bought it from Ron.I met The Finney’s again around 1997 when I repaired their Freezer at their home in Ash Bank, they were both well.Back in those days if you wanted to do a  paper round, you had to go to the school clinic and have a medical to prove you were fit.Imagine toting a hundred Sentinels on a Saturday night, the bag was barely liftable.As young lads most of us had air guns, nothing fancy just a Diana or Gat pistol.We bought our slugs from Scott’s, probably about sixpence for a hundred.Because we were law abiding citizens, we went to Hanley police station and withstood the third degree by the desk sergeant and paid 7s 6d for a license.
    David wood

  • John Williams

    Well this all strikes a chord as I was brought up at in Brakespeare St. in the sixties/seventies, though I left the Potteries thirty years ago. We relied on Jeffreys buses to go on holiday every year to Blackpool. The “banks” and the fields beyond the allotments made an idyllic childhood playground as they continued uninterrupted all the way to Newchapel in those days (the open-cast mine brought a stop to all that). Simon Finney, whose parents owned the newsagents during the 70’s was a mate, as was Robert Jones, who’s mum owned the High St. Sweet shop IIRC. My family were big church-goers and thanks to Paul for reminding me of Mr Hancock, Mr Beech and may I add Mr Wakefield. I laugh when people go on about mod-cons etc and wonder how they would have coped with our tin-baths, outdoor loos, open-fires and hot water-bottle amenities, lol! SkyTv may have its place, but watching Neil Armstrong on an old B&W set, with a rack full of washing suspended from the ceiling above your head is hard to beat!

  • Marie Hancock (Nee Moran)

    Wow, i was born on Goldenhill and these short stories have brought back loads of memories for me.
    How good had it used to be, it was brill as a child.
    I attended St Joseph’s RC in Breakspeare Street and always called into ‘Crawshaws’ on the way to school, ha ha when I see Arkwright’s on the telly now I always think about that, Mr Crawshaw sold everything that the household needed. Very very fond memories.
    My Father and siblings still live there.

  • Mike Harrison

    My twin brother – Peter – and I were born in Sandyford in 1943. Sadly Peter is no longer with us. We went to St. Joseph’s School in Breakspeare Street.I remember going to a Coronation Party in 1953 at The Red Lion in Goldenhill. Dad worked for the PMT based at the Goldenhill garage.
    Have travelled far afield since then, clawed my through University etc. and have enjoyed a successful career. Now retired and living in rural Cheshire, but still remember Sandyford and Goldenhill with tremendous affection.

  • David Wood

    Thanks for the comment Mike, it is nice to know that people think of Goldenhill and Sandyford with affection.
    If my articles provoke good memories then I am more than happy.
    I’m retired and living in North Wales but I check the Sentinel for news and the obits daily, just to keep up with things.
    If you have any memories that may be of interest to us, write them in this forum,
    I for one am always happy to hear someone elses point of view.
    Dave Wood

  • Mike Harrison

    Dave, your reference to the Sentinel brought a wry smile to my face. I remember the fear and awe that was engendered by getting into any sort of scandal or disgrace in the 1940’s / 1950’s. The greatest fear of all under such circumstances was “to have your name in the Sentinel” !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • David Wood

    They will be turning in their graves now Mike.
    Recently I have had my schooldays article printed over two weeks in the Sentinel’s The Way We Were supplement.
    The first week I was concealed inside but the second week there was a photo of me on the front page of the supplement, aged 12.
    Oh Lord, I knew he would come to no good, they’ll be saying.
    Our David’s got his picture on the FRONT page of the Sentinel.
    I’ll never dare show my face in Swettenham’s again.
    Dave Wood

  • Mike Harrison

    That is amusing Dave. It’s funny the things that you can remember. I recollect – as a young lad – overhearing a conversation between various women. One said – “She’s been caught thieving – but what’s even worse – her name was in the Sentinel” !!!

  • Barlow Margaret (nee) Farrell

    Hi Kathleen,I Lived at 8 central St,and was cousin to Jeanette Joy and Gary Kelly,i c an remember going into your momma,s house were she lived with eileen and Alan Devine.and remember playing ball on her side wall as well as hopscoth and hand stands

  • 1959 married May Nixon 880 High St. 88o and 882 had no electric only gas. Mrs Nixon said to the neighbour when it was being laid are you having this electric put in that they are bringing up Kidsgrove bank and the neighbour said i don’t know are you. Oh no Mrs Nixon said a Penny in the slot not only gives you light it heats the house as well. Cost £25 when i had it installed.

  • david

    Hi Roy, I enjoyed your talk at the Memories Club the other week.
    A few names popped that I had forgotten.
    I had an e mail card from Cliff Bosson last week, he is on a cruise around South America.
    I lived in Alice Street near to the bottom and we didn’t have electricity, just gas lighting and a coal fire for heat.
    As you said in your talk, I would have loved to have been in the Cubs but my parents couldn’t afford the uniform.
    Dave Wood

  • Lyne

    I was born in 37 Alice street, 4th child of 5 – My mothers family lived across the road & Mrs Napper lived next door on one side, Shookie on the other. Mrs Yates lived round the corner and I was friends with Marion, anyone remember me or my family at all? Lyne

  • david

    Hi Lyne, by my reckoning you must have lived in the very top house or next to the top.
    I lived near to the bottom at number 5 and my Aunty Lizzie lived at 27.
    Can you remember the shop which was owned by Mrs Jones on the other side of the street.
    What was your surname back then?
    Dave Wood

  • Mike Harrison

    Re my above comments.
    In 1957/8 I started work in a warehouse in Alfred Meakins Pottery Works in Parsonage Street , Summerbank, Tunstall.
    I have recently been looking on Google Street View and it appears to have been
    knocked down.
    Does anyone remember it – or has worked there ?

  • Dave

    Hi Mike, I remember the Parsonage Street works quite well.
    You are a couple of years ahead of me and I didn’t actually work there.
    But, my mum worked at the Royal Albert for many years as a lithographer and enameller/paintress.
    I used to go to her on Friday afternoons so that she could take me into Tunstall to buy shoes etc, that meant that she could go to Hanley on a Saturday on her own without me taging along, wise lady.
    She, along with most of her workmates moved to the new Factory at Sandyford which has now grown into the massive factory known as Churchill’s.
    I think that they have built houses on Parsonage Street now.

  • Anne

    Hello David,

    I lived at Linehouses when I was a child and went to school at St Joseph’s in Brakespeare Street.

    Therefore, although I am not strictly speaking a Goldenhill ‘native’, I do have lots of memories of Goldenhill – all good ones!

  • David

    Hello Ann, the village of Goldenhill encompassed Sandyford, Latebrook, Acres Nook, Linehouses, Woodstock and any other parts I have missed out.
    The village even used to extend to the top of Jack Bank above the old Goldenhill railway station, Birchrnwood Road I think it called now.
    I think that the common bond was the schools, churches and chapels and the fact that our parents and their parents had always attended the schools there as well.
    We might have gone our seperate ways at home time but as I remember we were all reasonably good friends during school time.
    My mum was born in High Street Goldenhill but dad came from Woodstock and he always thought of himself as a Goldenhiller.
    You would be amazed at the people who come to the Memories Club at the Community Centre, some of them only went to school and didn’t actually live there, but they are still proud of being associated with the village.
    Tell us some of your memories Ane.

  • Anne

    Hello David

    Living at Linehouses, I remember doing a LOT of walking to and from Goldenhill! Skylarks in the fields in summer and digging a way, sometimes shoulder deep, through snowdrifts up the lane in winter. However, none of us missed a day from school because we weren’t relying on cars to get us there.
    Earliest memory of Goldenhill is my first day at school at St Joseph’s on a snowy day in January 1963. Lovely Miss Loftus – our Reception Class teacher – and the smell of hyacinth bulbs coming into flower in her classroom. All these years later, the perfume from hyacinths takes me right back to that classroom.
    I remember the hardware shop – buying paraffin with my dad for the Aladdin heater at home. Across the way was a proper Chemist (I remember the assistant was called Judith) but I can’t remember the name of the shopkeeper.
    The chip shop – was it Lane’s? As a child I was fascinated by the hand operated chipping machine and watching the chips fall into a big bucket ready to go into the fryer.
    I also remember two sweet shops – one on the crossings which we used to visit each day either on the way or coming back from school (I wish I had a pound for every time I have used that crossing) and another one further along on the other side of the road. I think this is a recycled clothes shop now. This sweet shop used to sell boxes of chocolates and was a bit more ‘upmarket’. Possibly because it was close to the cinema. A box of chocolates for a special date at the pictures perhaps?! I remember the lady who kept this shop used to clear out the glass display case and fill it with fireworks (bunters as we called them.) My older brother would buy a huge brown paper bag full of these fireworks and then we would take them home and lay them out on the floor and look at each one in turn. Simple souls!
    Around the corner was the ‘dinner centre’ at the Secondary School. Fish pie on Friday – yuk!
    Two lovely crossing wardens – Mr Gratton and further up the road, Mrs Embury.
    Going with my mum to pay the papers at (?) Mr Scott’s paper shop. Those wonderful comics – Dandy and Beezer on Monday and Beano and Topper on Wednesdays!

    Goldenhill – a nice village. Busy, self-contained and friendly.

  • David

    Hi Anne, good memories, I can associate with them very much.
    Can you remember the Hulson family, the eldest Geff was a very good friend and work colleague of mine, unfortunatelt both he and hsi wife Win passed away a few years ago.
    Christine Caldecott is in Australia and e mails me a few times a year.
    Ted Simpkin gave a talk about Linehouses at the Community Centre Memories Club earlier this year.
    Incidentally the Memories Club is on the third Tuesday of the month at 2-00pm starting again in February I think.
    The chemist was Mr Ward and I definitely remember Judith, I was about 15 and she seemed to me to be the most sophistacated person I had ever met, I was besotted for quite a few years.
    The original lollipop ladies were Mrs Embrey and Mrs Rawlinson, one of them, I don’t know which was the first lollipop person in Stoke on Trent.
    I’m 67 now so ask your brother if he can remember me.
    The surnames I recall are, Pass, Hawkins, Holloway, Jones, Walmsley, Hulson.
    Bye, David Wood

  • Anne

    Hello David

    Yes, I do remember the Hulson family very well. I was friends with their two younger daughters. They had a big black and white dog, whose name, I think, was ‘Butch’. Funny the things you remember!


  • Pamela Booth

    Just a note to say that I attended the Kidsgrove Methodist Church from 2001 until its closure in 2010.

    From September 2010 I have attended Goldenhill Gateway Methodist Church (this is a combination of congregations from The old Butt Lane and Kidsgrove Methodist churches) and the existing Goldenhill Methodist Church.

    We joined together to form The Gateway in 2010 and incidentally have a Spring Fayre tomorrow (12th April) from 11 until 1pm all are welcome. There are various stalls, games and refreshments.

    Incidentally my friend who did emigrate to New Zealand visited her brother in Bradeley for her nephew’s wedding in July last year and we finally caught up at Whitehill Art exhibition for the first time in 19 years last year!


  • Kath smith nee kelly

    Hi margaret lovely to hear from you , I do remember you , joy Jeanette and Gary were my cousins ,I also remember hopscotch and playing ball, we used to make go carts with pram wheels and string to steer the front , the ice cream used to come round in a red hand pulled cart , my first teacher was miss loftus and my last teacher at st Joseph’s was mr salt I loved this teacher he was my favourite. I remember the weather being in proper seasons when in the summer we had a rain storm you could see the steam rising from the cobbles, we played in the fields at the bottom of the road we played shop with bits of pottery we found bottle tops and a plank of wood . My childhood living there was to me ideal I have so many memories . Kathleen smith nee Kelly.

  • Margaret Barlow(nee)Farrell

    Hi Kathleen I do remember all those games happy memories lovely school,my favorite teacher was miss Lotus,she was so interesting having traveled so much

  • Karen Grocott

    Margaret barlow my grandad patrick kelly lived at 13 central street my mum is patricia she is cousin of joy jeanette and garry. She thinks kathleen is cousin too
    Mums gran was Sarah kelly her husband was thomas kelly who died age 37
    Alan devine married mums aunt eileen kelly who was my grandad patricks sister
    Mum says can you remember her. She has a sister Pamela kelly

  • Kath smith

    Hi Karen my grandmother was Sarah kelly Patrick kelly was my dads brother , we lived at number 11 central street, my dad was Thomas, my mum Bertha, it’s amazing how many people we know and are related to. Just goes to show what a great place it is .kath smith.

  • Terry Maguire

    I had cousins living in Goldenhill, Paul, Carol, Lynne and David. Puld may have had the surname “Holloway” but not sure but My Uncle Gerald married Florence Holloway. n Last time I saw Carol and David was at my Dads funeral.

  • David Wood

    Hi Terry, there was a family named Holloway who lived in Heath Street I think and one of them was named Paul. he was bit younger than me so he is about 64. Can’t recall anyone else in the family just Paul.
    Try asking on Goldenhill Memories Facebook.
    David Wood

  • I have lots of fond memories of Goldenhill, I was born in Cotton rd Sandyford, I had 5 brothers, 3 of them worked at Meakins pot bank and each lunch time I came home from school to pick up fresh butties that me mam made and i’de cycle of to Meakins and deliver the butties to my brothers who worked in various departments before returning home for my lunch before going back to school ! Sunday’s my mum and I along with my brother Norman (who only did a satchel full) would do a paper round, well my mum had so many papers to deliver that we used a pram to get them all in, I had a big satchel on my bike which I used to fill each time and the round would last about 3-4 hours, money was tight in those days so every penny helped, and that’s how I earned my pocket money ! I have memories of my dad taking me down towards line houses but he took me where the trains exited the Harecastle tunnel and he would sit me on the wall and keep hold of me as the train passed, then walk across the other side of the path and sometimes we would see a barge that had been walked through the canal tunnel, I remember the colour of the canal as orange ! Happy days.

  • Tom Simpson

    Hi Les,
    I am a newcomer to the area, only lived here for 31 years, how time flies.
    You talk about Meakins, which is now Churchill China, and it is funny you talking about the pottery firm because last month we had the General & Works Manager from Churchills to give a talk about the company.
    If you look at the 4th article down on the website home page you will be able to read some of what was said at the SAGE public meeting.
    If you have any further stories/memories then please share them with us.

  • Hi Tom,
    Yes, I have a lot of fond memories of my childhood growing up in Sandyford / Goldenhill, I only remember Alfred Meakins as the old factory before moving to Shelton in 63 when my parents split up, I only know Churchills new factory that’s built on the old shawdruck (pottery tip) but pot banks have all but disappeared now ! Every thing is imported now as it’s cheaper – inferior but cheaper, I visit Stoke every so often to see my family and the place looks different each time, I used to work on the pot banks in all the various departments from the slip house to the packing house when we used to use straw and mesh crates ! even worked on Richards Tiles before they were bought by H &R Johnsons, later on in life I became a truck driver working for Berisfords and BRS, retired from trucking these last 4 years and glad of it,relaxing and reminiscing now. Les

  • Tom Simpson

    Hi Les,
    It’s nice to know you have fond memories of the area and that you come back to Stoke from time to time.
    I don’t know if you have noticed but when you enter Sandyford you see the sign “Pottery Village of Sandyford” the reason for that is to highlight the area, and to let people know about our pottery heritage.
    It was the residents association who pushed to have the 4 signs erected, along with the “Historic Mining Village of Goldenhill” which is on both sides of the High Street when entering the area.
    If you have any more stories about Sandyford/Goldenhill then please forward them onto us.
    Speak soon,

  • Pamela Booth

    Just to say Gateway Methodist Community Church worship every Sunday morning at 10.45am and everyone is very welcome. Please join us.

    On Sunday 17th July we have service taken by Mr. A. Unwin
    On Sunday 24th July we have service taken by Mrs. J. Dutton (this is a united service with our friends from Packmoor)
    On 3lst July our service is led by Rev. A. Wakelin.

  • Les Ellis

    Hi Tom, I was just reminiscing again about the old days in Goldenhill during the 50’s and 60’s, I attended the GSM from 57/61 then left and took an apprenticeship at Cowlishaw & Walkers iron foundry at Knypersley, after 12 months taking home a pittance I went to work in the pottery industry and my wage trebled, wow I thought I should have done it earlier ! Anyway I worked in various departments at various factories untill the age of 20 when I became a van driver delivering pottery to various shops and at 21 became a truck driver working for a small company top of Snead hill called Henry Fox, I stayed there for a while before starting with BRS and Beresfords, good old days, 1980 saw me doing my first continental trip to Italy with them, what an experience that was, no sat nav and very little motorways in those days, just your book of lines (atlas) but after a good while you get to know where and where not to stop ! Well I retired from the trucking industry 7 years ago now, my last job being a container driver, easy job that as you only have to open and close the doors, it’s loaded/unloaded by others, as an active pensioner of 72 I still like to travel about so I’ve got a caravan and tour the UK and travel to Spain for the winter, I love life, until I next reminse I’ll say cheerio for now, Les Ellis

  • John Adderley

    Hi Dave remember when the butchers & grocers on Goldenhill stacked cans of produce pyramid style in the windows.Well my mates brother came on leave from the air force & gave us a large magnet from some kind of radar installation.Needless to say we found its ideal use.A few shakes from side to side up & down close to the shop window & even the best displays came tumbling down.We thought we had a brake in my mum heard shopkeepers say, but the mystery was never solved till now! OH happy mischievous days.

  • Pamela Booth

    The Gateway have a service tomorrow (30th January ) at 10.45 to e taken by Ian Tideswell. All welcome.

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