Stoke

STOKE-UPON-TRENT AREA

Stoke-upon-Trent, also called just Stoke or Stoke Town, is one of the six towns of the city of Stoke-on-Trent. The town was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1874 and is one of six (including Hanley, Tunstall, Burslem, Longton and Fenton) that federated to form the county borough of Stoke-on-Trent in 1910. It is the seat of the city's council, though Stoke-on-Trent's city centre is usually regarded as being the nearby Hanley. Stoke remained a small village until the 18th century when Josiah Spode and Thomas Minton established their potbanks.

Stoke, Spode works, 1929

BOTTLE OVENS LONG SINCE GONE


Minton factory on London Road, Stoke.
Stoke
Minton factory on London Road, Stoke.
Trent and Mersey Canal in the middle
Photo: Courtesy Staffordshire Past Track more here>   Date: c1930

Stoke
Minton Factory, London Road, looking towards Stoke centre
Photo: source unknown  Date: 1960s?

Stoke
Minton's Factory, London Road, Stoke
China biscuit bottle oven
Watercolour by Reginald G  Haggar, 1966
Photo: source unknown

Stoke
Minton factory, London Road. Looking towards Stoke centre.
Photo: Courtesy Alan Gerrard  Date: 1960s 

Stoke
Possibly Minton Factory
Photo: source unknown  Date: unknown


South Wolfe Street, Stoke, looking towards the rear of the now-demolished Minton Factory
Stoke
South Wolfe Street, looking towards the rear of the now demolished Minton Factory
Notice the one bottle oven but 3 tall chimneys
Photo: source unknown  Date: unknown

Stoke
J H Barratt & Co Boothen Tile Works
Photo: source unknown  Date: unknown

Stoke
Spode Works
Two paintings by Reginald G Haggar, late 1960s
Photos: source unknown


Stoke
Spode updraught hob-mouthed bottle oven with hovel - collapsed March 1972
"It was in 1960 that the last firing of a bottle oven on the Spode Works [Stoke] took place.
It was a china biscuit oven - that is, the bone china clay-ware was fired
to about 1260°C to the 'biscuit' stage."
Extract from: Manufacturing Processes of Tableware
during the Eighteenth & Nineteenth Centuries by Robert Copeland 2009




Stoke
Spode muffle kiln demolition
Photo: source unknown Date: 1938 

Stoke
Empire Porcelain - demolition  1968
Photo: source unknown

Cliffe Vale, Stoke
Twyfords in Garner Street. Bottle ovens and the Twyford Fleet
Photo: Source unknown   Date 1950s

Cliffe Vale, Stoke
Twyfords Cliffe Vale Factory, Shelton New Road
Photo: Source unknown  Date: poss 1950s

Cliffe Vale, Stoke
Twyfords Cliffe Vale Factory, Shelton New Road
Photo: unknown source  Date: Unknown but possibly 1930s

BOTTLE OVENS and KILNS STILL STANDING, WITH THEIR CHIMNEYS


Falcon Works,  Sturgess Street   
Falcon Works formerly of the now famous Goss China. Two biscuit updraught, stack, hob-mouthed ovens. Free-standing with no gap between the hovel and firing chamber enclosed within a building. In the 1976 Bottle Oven Survey the inside of the ovens were clean and free from rubbish but the overall condition of these were poor, particularly the stack. 8 firemouths but no remaining firebars.
Dampers - a central crown damper 18" diameter and three quarter dampers, interspersed with additional holes adjusted by inserting bricks. All of the dampers themselves had been dismantled.

Updraught bottle ovens at Falcon Pottery Works (occupied Portmeirion Group Ltd), Sturgess Street, Stoke
Stoke
Falcon Works, Sturgess Street
Photo: Terry Woolliscroft Collection   Date: 1975

Stoke Updraught hob-mouthed bottle ovens at Falcon Pottery Works (occupied Portmeirion Group Ltd), Sturgess Street
Stoke
Falcon Works, Sturgess Street
Photos: Terry Woolliscroft Collection   Date: April 1976
Taken during the Bottle Oven Survey more here>

Stoke Hob mouth on one of the bottle ovens at Falcon Pottery, Sturgess Street
Stoke
Hob mouth on one of the bottle ovens at Falcon Works, Sturgess Street
Photos: Terry Woolliscroft Collection
Date: April 1976 taken during the Bottle Oven Survey more here>

Stoke
Falcon Works. Former Goss Works, Styrgess Street.
Photo: Courtesy of Philip Shallcross Collection  Date: Feb 2019

Stoke
Falcon Works. Former Goss Works, Sturgess Street
Photo: Courtesy of Philip Shallcross Collection  Date: Feb 2019

Dolby Mill, Lytton Street   
Former Dolby Potters Millers, Lytton Street Stoke. Free standing flint calcining kiln, with square base to hovel, rising to oval and then cylindrical top. Built by 1937. Now stands within garage, adjacent to Trent & Mersey Canal. Two adjacent firing chambers within one structure with single stack. Recorded in Bottle Oven survey 1976

Calcining oven Lytton Street, Stoke former Dolby Mill 1975
Stoke
Calcining kiln with two chambers and one chimney,
Lytton Street, formerly Dolby Mill
Photo: Terry Woolliscroft  Date: 1975

Stoke
Calcining kiln with two chambers and one chimney,
formerly Dolby Potters Millers & Merchants, Lytton Street
Photo: Courtesy of Philip Shallcross Collection  Date: April 2019


Twyfords Cliffe Vale factory   
 "Pottery works and bottle ovens. 1887 with later modifications. Brick with stone dressings and plain tiled roofs. Frontage range of 3 storeys and 22 bays (2-2-4-1-4-9). Entrance bay has stone pilasters and entrance with cast-iron lintel over and 3 stilted arched windows above, and ornamented segmental pediment bearing date. Flanking this entrance bay are 2 towers with paired windows with stone aprons in the upper floors, and stone quoins. The outer range to the right has giant arched colonnade with windows with cambered brick heads, and moulded brick eaves cornice. 2 bays to the left in a similar style, then a gabled range with giant brick arches. 2 calcining kilns of circular section joined together at base, but with free-standing caps". Now part of a housing development

Cliffe Vale, Stoke
Twyfords Factory, Shelton New Road.
Flint calcining kilns
Photos:  Courtesy of  'Potteries Bottle Kilns' page on Facebook  Date: 2015

The following text is from "HISTORY OF TWYFORDS ALSAGER FACTORY, IT'S BUILDING AND DEVELOPMENT" Unknown author. Date around 1980. 
"To soften flints to enable them to be easier crushed and milled they are heated to a temperature of around 750C. before being passed through crushers, granulators, etc., to a particle size of about 0.5". These flints were calcined in calcining kilns at Cliffe Vale, 3 in number. Two of these kilns are still standing and are similar in outline to a bottle kiln, the third much narrower in section was demolished in the 1960s. The flints to be calcined were placed in layers between layer of coal in the kiln and the whole rested on a bed of wood which was burnt to get the coal burning. About 70 tons of flints were calcined in each kiln and the process took about 4 days.

The smoke and fumes given off from the calcining kilns added to the smoke and fumes given off from the bottle ovens firing ware, and the intermittent kilns firing fireclay, and the calcining kilns due to the obnoxious fumes given off from them became the responsibility of the Alkali Division of the Factory Inspectorate who indicated that the calcination of flints by coal had to cease. Experiments were tried using coke. These were successful but with the coming of Natural Gas and the fading out of Gas Works carbonising plants that produced coke, it was clear that other methods had to be used.

In 1971 two calcine kilns gas fired were put to work at Alsager. There was no crushing plant or mill at Alsager at this time and the calcined flints were taken back to Cliffe Vale where a hole was cut into the side of one of the calcining kilns at Cliffe Vale. The calcined flints from Alsager were tipped into this kiln and so they began their normal production flow pattern to the ball mills. During 1979 a preservation order was placed on the two calcining kilns at Cliffe Vale by the Department of the Environment. This order does not allow for the demolition of the kilns without the department's permission and is a means of preserving the heritage of the Industry."


Cliffe Vale, Stoke
Twyfords Cliffe Vale Works, flint calcining kilns
Photo: source unknown  Date: Mid 1960s

Cliffe Vale, Stoke
Twyfords Cliffe Vale Works, flint calcining kilns
Photo: Courtesy of Philip Shallcross Collection  Date: March 2019


BOTTLE OVEN REMAINS WITHOUT ITS HOVEL


SPODE WORKS   
This factory was purchased by Spode I & Spode II in 1776 (some say, incorrectly, 1770). The company went into administration in 2008 and closed in 2009. The Spode 'brand' was then purchased by Portmeirion Ltd in 2009. Parts of the factory site are now owned by Stoke council. The bottle oven which survives as a ruin is a hob-mouthed, updraught, hovel bottle oven.

Stoke
Spode updraught hob-mouthed bottle oven with its hovel
  before it collapsed in March 1972
"It was in 1960 that the last firing of a bottle oven
on the Spode Works took place.
It was a china biscuit oven - that is, the bone china clay-ware was fired
to about 1260°C to the 'biscuit' stage."
Extract from: Manufacturing Processes of Tableware
during the Eighteenth & Nineteenth Centuries by Robert Copeland 2009



SPODE OVEN COLLAPSES   
The base of one oven survives (in 2019) on the site of the former Spode factory. Robert Copeland described when it became a 'ruin'. "1972" he said, "March. It was a Friday. About 2pm. There was a loud whoosh and the hovel of the bottle oven collapsed as I walked nearby." 


Stoke
Spode bottle oven hovel collapsed March 1972

Stoke
Spode bottle oven base remains in 2019
clearly shows the clammins and hob-mouthed firemouths