architecture, Charles Lynam, Colin Minton Campbell, English Heritage, Grade II listed building, library, Library and Shakespeare Institute Stoke-on-Trent, Minton, Shakespeare, Stoke-on-Trent, The Potteries, Victorian., Victoriana
To quote from British Listed Buildings. co. uk, “Library, purpose-built as library and Shakespeare Institute in 1878. By Charles Lynam. Brick with stone dressings, enriched
with tiled panels and mosaics. 2-storeyed over a basement, 5 bays, stepped in plan. Red brick to basement, then white brick above, with rubbed red brick pilasters and architraves to windows in the advanced 3-bay section to the SW. 3 oculi, with tiled panels over, and mosaic depicting Shakespeare in the central panel“.
The Stoke-on-Trent: Breaking The Mould website informs me that the Minton family, Colin Minton Campbell to be exact, donated the site for the Library. His other achievements, listed on The Potteries. Org, he introduced the “acid gold process“, served as Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent between 1880 and 1883 and served as a Captain in the Stoke Rifle Volunteers, amongst many other things.
According to the BBC News website “Stoke-on-Trent’s former library has been sold for £128,000 – £40,000 more than expected“.
It has been so long since I visited the Gladstone Pottery I’ve forgotten where I was standing when I took this photograph, but I appear to be looking down from a not inconsiderable height! I’m probably stood on some stairs, because I can’t see myself leaning out of a window.
If you would like a photograph with a better view of one of the Gladstone Pottery’s famous bottle kilns there is a link to one here, which I posted back in April: Photo Archive: Gladstone Pottery Museum, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, c.2007.
I love the bottle kilns of the Gladstone Pottery for three reasons. Firstly: I live in a world of mostly square and rectangular brick buildings, so they are something out of the ordinary for me and I’ve always found the bottle a very pleasing shape. Secondly: They are an industrial wonder of the Victorian period and something worth preserving, in my opinion, as much as any other relic of Britain’s industrial heritage. Thirdly: As one of my old art tutors once told me, “Form follows function”. It does the job and it looks pleasing to the eye (although, I’m sure they didn’t look so pleasing when there were hundreds of the things on the go belching out goodness-knows-what into the air).
The Pottery is brilliantly preserved and the site and the site was a joy to explore (or at least it was back in 2007, I haven’t been back since). The site also incorporates an impressive toilet exhibit and tile collection; not to me missed.
The Gladstone Pottery Museum webpage: http://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/visit/gpm/