A late-C19 municipal cemetery laid out to the design of Edward Milner & Son, with buildings by Charles Lynam.
During the course of the C19 the six towns which today comprise the City of Stoke-on-Trent expanded rapidly due to successful industries including the potteries and coal mining. As a result of this industrial activity, the area suffered from acute atmospheric pollution, leading to poor health and high mortality. Each of the six towns had C18 and early-C19 parish churches, which had taken the place of mediaeval churches (Pevsner, 1974), but by the mid-C19 the associated places of burial had become seriously overcrowded.
As the towns grew, so rivalry for civic primacy developed, with each community vying to provide the best municipal facilities such as town halls, libraries, public parks and cemeteries. Thus, Hanley Cemetery was opened in 1860, while that at Tunstall was opened in 1868 (VCH, 1963).
In the Borough of Stoke, restrictions were placed on burials in the churchyards of St Peter's, Stoke, a church of mediaeval origin, and St Thomas', Penkhull, a mid-C19 church, in 1856. A Burial Board was formed in 1867, and the following year a new burial ground was consecrated on a site opposite St Peter's church donated by the rector and patron. In 1882, the churchyard of St Peter's, Stoke, and Holy Trinity, Hartshill were closed by Order in Council, and the following year burial powers were vested in the Corporation. The parochial burial ground opened in 1868 remained in use until it too was closed in 1893 (VCH, 1963).
The Corporation selected a site for a new cemetery at Hartshill, to the west of the historic centre of Stoke, and adjacent to the North Staffordshire Infirmary in 1882. The site, comprising 8.5ha was acquired from a local solicitor, Frederick Bishop (1815-91), owner of The Mount, Penkhull, at a cost of £3,450. In addition to the purchase price, the Corporation undertook to pay half the cost of constructing a new road, Queen's Road, linking Penkhull and Princes Road, Hartshill, thus opening-up part of Bishop's estate for residential development (Hartshill Cemetery Walk). The Corporation appointed the leading landscape practice of Edward Milner & Son, of Crystal Palace, London to prepare designs for the new cemetery, and by December 1884, The Staffordshire Advertiser was able to report, `The appearance of the new cemetery is very attractive, and the work of laying out the grounds has been almost completed (Staffordshire Advertiser, 1884). The Milners' plan for the site, probably the work of Henry Ernest Milner (1845-1906), who assumed control of the landscape design practice when his father, Edward, died in 1884, divided the site into amoeboid-shaped burial areas with a series of curvilinear drives. Each burial area was devoted to a particular denomination and class of burial. The focal point of the design was a linked pair of chapels designed for the Corporation by the local architect Charles Lynam, while the Milners' scheme provided visual interest through forming the gently sloping site into artificial mounds which were planted with trees and shrubbery.
The cemetery filled rapidly, with the third class consecrated ground becoming full within 15 years of the cemetery opening. Additional land to the north-west of the cemetery was acquired from Mr Knight of Longfield Cottage in order to provide additional burial space. The northern boundary of the cemetery was re-aligned in 1904, appropriating an area of allotments for burial purposes, while a further, large extension was made to the south-west of the late-C19 cemetery in the 1930s (Hartshill Cemetery Walk). This extension is excluded from the registered site.
In the early-C21, Hartshill or Stoke Cemetery remains in municipal ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Hartshill or Stoke Cemetery is situated to the west of Queen's Road, a late-C19 road which extends south from Hartshill to Penkhull, passing to the west of the Royal Staffordshire Infirmary. The c 10ha site is bounded to the east by Queen's Road, from which it is separated by a late-C19 brick wall surmounted by ornamental metal railings. From within the cemetery, this boundary is screened by an artificially raised bank which is planted with mature trees and ornamental shrubbery. To the south-east a late-C20 metal fence separates the cemetery from domestic properties and a school, while to the south-west the registered site is adjoined by the 1930s cemetery extension. The western boundary is formed by metal fences screened by trees and shrubs, which enclose the site from domestic properties to the east of Lodge Road, while to the north, further hedges and fences separate the cemetery from early-C20 allotments to the south of Thornburrow Drive. The site slopes gently from east to west, with variations of landform being provided through artificial mounding which formed part of the original cemetery scheme. The extensive planting within the cemetery and on its boundaries precludes views from within the site.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
Hartshill Cemetery is approached from Queen's Road to the east, with entrances at the north-east and south-east corners of the site. The principal entrance is situated to the north-east, at a point c 120m south of the junction of Queen's Road and Thornburrow Drive, and comprises a pair of late-C19 wrought-iron carriage gates supported by a pair of tall brick and stone piers surmounted by carved stone pyramidal caps, which are flanked by brick and stone quadrant walls supporting wrought-iron railings. A picturesque two-storey brick lodge with ornamental barge-boards and other details stands to the north-west of the entrance. Known as Ivy Lodge, this building was originally provided a residence and office for the cemetery registrar, and was presumably designed by Charles Lynam as part of the original scheme for the cemetery. The south-east entrance is of similar design to the principal entrance, with a simpler two storey brick lodge to the north-west, which was intended to provide accommodation for the sexton. A further pedestrian entrance leads into the cemetery from a footpath which extends parallel to the western boundary of the site at a point c 300m west-south-west of the chapels. This entrance is shown on the 1898 OS.
Hartshill Cemetery is provided with two chapels (listed grade II) which stand c 250m south-south-west of the principal entrance, and which form the focal point of the landscape design. The chapels are symmetrically designed with the Anglican chapel to the north-west and the nonconformist chapel to the south-east linked by a central arcade. The chapels are of identical design, and are constructed in Romanesque style from red and blue brick with stone details under tiled roofs. Each chapel has a central tower, formerly surmounted by a squat spire and pinnacles. Gabled wings project from each face of the central square tower, with a single-storey flat-roofed porch extending from the eastern wing beneath an elaborate rose window. The chapels were designed by the Stoke on Trent architect Charles Lynam, who had an extensive ecclesiastical and municipal practice in the area in the late C19, as part of the original scheme for the cemetery (listed building description). The number of chapels to be provided was the subject of local dispute, with some ratepayers favouring a single structure on the grounds of economy. However the Mayor, Colin Minton Campbell and other leading members of the Council were committed members of the Church of England and ensured that a resolution requiring the erection of two chapels was passed (Hartshill Cemetery Walk).
Hartshill Cemetery is laid out with a series of curvilinear drives and walks which divide the site into irregularly-shaped burial areas devoted to different denominations and classes of burial. The principal drives are planted with avenues of mature limes, while other mature specimen trees are planted in groups in the burial areas. Many of the groups of trees are under-planted with ornamental shrubbery, principally composed of evergreen species, which are planted on artificially raised mounds. These serve to provide visual interest on this gently sloping site, frame vistas of the chapels, and form a background to groups of significant monuments arranged in visually prominent positions close to the principal drives in the eastern half of the cemetery.
Wide tarmac drives sweep south-west and south from the principal entrance, and north-west and north from the south-east entrance to reach the chapels, which are set at the centre of a rond-point. A walk extends north-east from the rond-point on line with the central axis of the chapels, and is terminated to the north-east by a war memorial in the form of a low stone cross. The walk is lined with clipped hollies, and connects with a curvilinear walk which extends parallel to Queen's Road from the principal entrance to the south-east entrance. This walk is lined by impressive late-C19 and early-C20 monuments, with trees and shrubbery screening Queen's Road to the north-east, and further groups of trees and shrubs providing glimpsed views across the cemetery to the south-west. The path layout to the north-east of this walk has been simplified from the formal arrangement shown on the late C19 OS (OS, 1898). The composition of the drives leading from the entrances to the chapels, the rond-point, the axial north-east walk and the curvilinear drives and walks to the north-west, south-east and north-east of the chapels is symmetrical on plan, while the layout of the remainder of the site, to the west and south-west of the chapels, is asymmetrical.
A late C20 garden of remembrance for the interment of cremated remains has been formed to the west of the chapels. From the terrace to the west of the chapels, drives sweep north-west to access the second and third class Anglican burial areas, and south to reach the Roman Catholic and second and third class nonconformist areas. The fourth class burial area extends parallel to the western boundary of the site. While each area is diversified with planting, the number of monuments decreases significantly towards the western boundary of the cemetery. The areas to the north, south and east of the chapels contain a significant collection of late C19 and early-C20 funerary monuments reflecting the prosperity of many families connected with the leading industries of C19 Stoke. These monuments include a group arranged on a triangular lawn with geometrical flower beds and backed by evergreen shrubbery immediately opposite the principal entrance. Here, a cross set on a pedestal commemorates Colin Minton Campbell, MP and Mayor of Stoke (d 1885). Campbell donated £500 towards the laying out of the cemetery and as allowed first choice of burial place (Hartshill Cemetery Walk). Nearby, a tall granite Celtic cross commemorates William Goss (d 1906), manufacturer of the heraldic china which was popularised as souvenirs in the late-C19. Some 200m south of the chapels, a group of Second World War Commonwealth War Graves Commission monuments is enclosed within a privet hedge, while further First World War headstones are located in the south-west corner of the cemetery.
A service yard is situated to the west of Ivy Lodge adjacent to the principal entrance. This yard remains in use and corresponds to that shown on the 1898 OS. The glasshouses shown on the late-C19 OS do not survive in the early-C21.
The Staffordshire Advertiser, 27 December 1884
The Victoria History of the County of Staffordshire, viii (1963), 174, 197
Pevsner N, The Buildings of England: Staffordshire (1974), 252-3, 261-4
OS 6' to 1 mile: second edition, revised 1898, published 1900
OS 25' to 1 mile: first edition, surveyed 1877, published 1879
revision of 1922
Corporation of Stoke Burial Board Minutes, 1867-81, 1881-93 (City of Stoke-on-Trent Archives)
Stoke Borough Minutes, 1893-5 (City of Stoke-on-Trent Archives)
Hartshill Cemetery Walk website: http://www.netcentral.co.uk/steveb/walks/hartshill_cem
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
Harthill Cemetery is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Harthill Cemetery is a good example of a late Victorian public cemetery (1884-85) for a provincial town.
* The design was by the nationally notable landscape design firm Edward Milner and Son and the design was published in HE Milner's book The Art and Practice of Landscape Design (1890).
* The flowing Picturesque and curvilinear layout of the cemetery is unusual for this late date, harking back to designs of the 1840s and 1850s by for private cemetery companies.
* The cemetery is dominated by a group of two chapels linked by an arcade designed by the Stoke on Trent architect Charles Lynam, who had an extensive ecclesiastical and municipal practice in the area in the late-C19.
* For its variety of C19 monuments including many C19 Stoke on Trent worthies, particularly the late-C19 and early-C20 monuments.
* The planting is of particular quality, with ornamental shrubbery, principally evergreen species, on artificially raised mounds. These provide visual interest on this gently sloping site, frame vistas of the chapels, and form a background to groups of significant monuments arranged in visually prominent positions close to the principal drives.
* The cemetery layout, much of its planting and structures survive intact, largely in good condition.
Description written: January 2003
HJ comments: February 2003
Register Inspector: JML
Edited: December 2009
This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 16 August 2017.