A public park laid out by Thomas H Mawson, the Cauldon Grounds being opened in 1894 and the main body of the park, Hanley Park, in 1897.
Reasons for Designation
Hanley Park, Stoke-on-Trent, opened in 1897, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Date: the park is a good example of a late Victorian municipal park;
* Design: although enhanced, the park’s design is essentially unchanged from its original layout of 1897;
* Designer: the park was designed by Thomas H Mawson, who was becoming established as one of England’s leading landscape designers;
* Historic interest: the park was among the late C19 civic improvements to the Potteries;
* Structures: the park retains various C19 park structures;
* Planting: the park has large numbers of mature and specimen trees.
The provision of a public park for Hanley had been discussed in 1857 and 1864, but it was not until c 1890 that such a proposal was finally approved and the site in Shelton acquired by Hanley Corporation. The site was within a very industrial area and contained a number of abandoned and disused mine and ventilation shafts and pottery-waste heaps. The £41,877 cost was raised by public subscription. Thomas H Mawson (1861-1933) was appointed by the Town Council to lay out the park, the commission being his first for a public body. Mawson was explicit in his vision of 'a people's public park' (Lawley 1988). The Cauldon Grounds were opened in July 1894, and the main body of the park in June 1897.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Hanley Park lies c 1km to the south of the centre of Hanley, west of the A5009. The area here registered is 24ha.
ENTRANCE AND APPROACHES
There is a lodge at the entrance to the Cauldon Grounds on Stoke Road. A gate off College Road, opposite that into the Cauldon Grounds, leads past a lodge into the main body of Hanley Park. The main lodge stands at the north-west corner of the site, between the pair of entrances off Cleveland Road. There is also an entrance off Park Road, the northern boundary, two off Ridgway Road, to the east, two off Avenue Road, which marks the southern limit of the site, and a second subsidiary entrance off College Road to the west.
CAULDON GROUNDS: The Cauldon Grounds occupy a roughly rectangular site of 3ha to the west of College Road (formerly Victoria Road), defined by Stoke Road to the west, Avenue Road to the south, and Cauldon Colleges (formerly the Cauldon Place Works) to the north. A raised terrace runs along the northern side of the Grounds, which originally fronted a conservatory (demolished). A pair of fountains flank the central point of this terrace, and sets of steps lead down from the middle and the two ends.
The site is bisected by a straight walk which leads east from the lodge at the entrance on Stoke Road, across the Grounds, to the gate on College Road. On this walk, to the east of the lodge, a terracotta fountain, presented by Alderman Hammersley, stands at the centre of an oval marked out by paths. The northern side of the oval connects with the western steps of the terrace.
At a point opposite the site of the conservatory, the walk forms a circle around a shrubbery. The southern side links with a serpentine walk through plantings along the southern edge of the site, which swings north to cross the central walk to join with the eastern steps to the terrace.
HANLEY PARK: The main focus of the design is the pavilion designed by Mawson’s junior partner, Dan Gibson, and accompanying terraces which occupy the centre of the 21ha site. The pavilion was originally used as a tearoom, in the 1950s it became the offices for the Council’s Parks Department, which closed in 2004. The pavilion stands on a levelled platform, to the south of which the ground falls away in two great terraces, the first a cross walk, the second a formal flower garden arranged on an axis with the centre-line through the pavilion, the central focus of which is a bandstand. The line is continued south by a bridge over the Cauldon Canal which cuts from west to east through the centre of the park. The cross walk below the pavilion terrace leads eastwards, then curves to the south to a second bridge over the cut.
The open northern part of the park is given over to sports pitches, with a bowling green (no longer in use, 2012) and late 1963 pavilion standing towards the north-west corner. A small bowls kiosk under the steps to the canal bridge is no longer in use and in a state of disrepair (2012).
On the south side of the canal the walk from the main bridge divides, with steps leading down to an oval bowling green encompassed by the path. The central axis is picked up again on the south side of this feature and continued down a further two flights of steps to the large informal boating lake which occupies the southern part of the site. The lake is fed by the canal, a feature being made of the feeder stream, crossed by a bridge, which leads in from the north-west, this being set within rockwork.
The surface of the water of the lake is broken by two islands and a boathouse stands on the northern shore. Curving paths provide access round the water and across the areas to the west and to the east of the central core.
There are some smaller inter-war pavilions which were introduced to the park and still remain: the veteran’s pavilion adjacent to College Road, changing rooms for the tennis courts, and a small bowls pavilion and kiosk adjacent to the children’s play area.
Hard surface tennis courts and a shelter replace the lawn courts of Mawson's layout to the north-east of the lake. Children's playgrounds occupy the western side of the southern half of the Park.