Cheadle High Street
Cheadle is a small market town in Staffordshire, roughly 11 miles from the city of Stoke-on-Trent and equidistantly 50 miles south and north respectively of Manchester (Lancashire) and Birmingham (Warwickshire). It is also around 5 miles from the Alton Towers theme park, which brings visitors to Cheadle.
The town had a recorded population of 12,158 in the 2001 census. It is in the Totmonslow Hundred.
Cheadle is an historic market town dating back to Anglo-Saxon times. The Domesday Book lists it as Celle, and records that it was held by the lord of the manor, Robert of Stafford. At the time the area covered 6 miles by 3 miles and listed 9 families.
In 1176 the Basset family acquired the manor of "Chedle" and in 1250 Ralph Basset was granted a market charter and annual fair by King Henry III. In 1309, 75 families are recorded as using a mill sited near Mill Road. Fifty years later, a new church was built in the village replacing a 12th-century structure and this church remained in use until 1837.
In 1606 a school was founded by the church, and in 1685 the then curate of the parish, Rev Henry Stubbs, left an endowment to found a grammar school in Cheadle. The school was built at Monkhouse and was active until 1917. The endowment continues to this day.
At some point in the seventeenth or eighteenth century a new workhouse was built. It was extended under the Cheadle Union an 1837. Part of the original building was demolished in 1909, renamed an infirmary. The whole complex was demolished in 1987 and a new hospital was built on the site, which was opened in 1989.
In 1798, 10 weavers' houses were built. The weavers lived downstairs and the looms for the manufacture of tape were upstairs. By the 1820s the looms were transferred into a factory in Tape Street. This tape factory closed in 1972, and is now a shop. In 1851 silk and narrow fabric mills were built in Cheadle. They employed hundreds of operatives, and closed in 1981. Between 1875 to 1878 William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement, made frequent visits to the silk works in Cheadle to experiment with organic dyes. Many of Cheadle's silk products featured Morris' designs.
In the Brookhouses area of Cheadle in 1725, the Cheadle Brass and Copper Company started production, transferring to the Oakamoor area 100 years later under the company name Thomas Patten. It was bought in 1851 by Thomas Bolton of Birmingham. In 1890 Bolton’s opened a factory at Froghall and the Oakamoor works were eventually closed in 1963.
A Roman Catholic church, named St Giles, opened in 1846, cheekily using the same dedication as the Church of England's own parish church in the town. This new St Giles' was built on a massive scale; its 200-foot spire still dominates the town today. It was built by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, who was commissioned and paid for by John Talbot, the 16th Earl of Shrewsbury to create a church that "would have no rival".
At the turn of the 20th century the first open air swimming baths were constructed at Brookhouses, and telephone installation began in 1904. In 1901 Cheadle was linked to the railway network by the Cheadle Railway, operated and later owned by the North Staffordshire Railway, with the building of a railway station at Majors Barn, this giving access to further industries and movement of passengers. At a later period sand, gravel and aggregates used for building purposes were transported from the station as well as coal.
The first motor car arrived in Cheadle in 1903, and the first licensed omnibus service, form Cheadle to Longton, began in January 1914.
One of the British Signals Intelligence Y-stations was based at Woodhead Hall.
- Church of England:
- St Giles the Abbot, rebuilt in 1837-9 but incorporating fragments and furniture from the earlier church
- St Chad, Freehay
- Methodist: Cheadle Methodist Church
- Roman Catholic: St Giles, built 1846
Cheadle has a very strong Methodist tradition and in the 19th century it was the various Methodist Chapels around the Cheadle area which taught many of the young boys who worked on the farms or in the coal mines to read and write. The town's Methodist Church today is a larger, modern building.
Places of interest
The 200-foot spire of St Giles' Roman Catholic Church dominates Cheadle's skyline. Known as "Pugin's Gem, it is considered to be the most complete expression of Pugin's beliefs about what a church ought to be, with everything in it having a practical and symbolic purpose. The church featured heavily in local events celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Pugin.
To the south of Cheadle are the remains of Croxden Abbey, founded in 1176 by Bertram de Verdun for monks of the Cistercian Order. The Abbey is a 5-mile walk from the town centre.
In addition to Pugin, William Morris influenced much of the art and architecture of Cheadle and there is a William Morris town trail of his buildings.
Cheadle is a base for exploring the Staffordshire Moorlands and the Peak District National Park area, which is popular with walkers and rock climbers. Surrounded by lofty hills, Cheadle is the gateway to the Moorlands and the wooded Churnet Valley. It is also around 5 miles from the Alton Towers theme park.
Cecilly Brook Local Nature Reserve is in the centre of town. It is one of the most important breeding sites for water voles in Staffordshire. There are 42 acres of landscaped lakes at the JCB factory. Local leisure facilities are at Cheadle Recreation Ground and South Moorlands Leisure Centre.
The High Street of Cheadle has many old buildings and is little changed from how it looked in the Victorian era.
Cheadle was mentioned in the Domesday Book as a small and unimportant hamlet with a small population. The town grew steadily over the next few hundred years, with the development of industry and agriculture. The historic industries that the town has depended on have been coal mining, silk, agriculture, brass making and the historic copper industry in nearby Froghall and Oakamoor. The town and the nearby village of Upper Tean also had a textiles industry in tape weaving - the mill has since been converted into flats.
For hundreds of years the main industry in the Cheadle area was coal mining. The Cheadle Coalfield was part of the much larger North Staffordshire Coalfield. The town and the surrounding area were once home to over 60 mines, but the Industry declined in the 20th century, and one by one the remaining larger pits were closed; Parkhall (now the JCB factory) and Hazlewall in the 1930s, New Haden in 1943 and Foxfield in 1965. However Opencast Mining and small scale adit mining carried on in Cheadle up until the 1990s.
Today the town's main employer is J C Bamford whose large JCB factory is found here. There are also several small industrial units on the site of the former New Haden Colliery and the nearby Alton Towers theme park employs many people from the Cheadle area. A lot of people in the town commute to Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Markets are held in the market place on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
- Cheadle and Tean Times
- Cheadle Post & Times
- The Sentinel
- Signal 1
- Signal 2
- BBC Radio Stoke
- Moorlands Radio (community radio)
Cheadle High School also operates an internet radio station for the local area, which has shows presented and produced by the high school radio.
Cheadle used to be served by a branch line opened in 1901 from Cresswell which was a station on the North Staffordshire Railway Crewe to Derby Line. It took almost thirty years of petitioning by the local coalmasters and notables in the town for the Cheadle Railway Company to build the small branch line and station. Even though the branch was only about four miles long it was difficult to build as a tunnel had to be constructed under the huge Bunter Sandstone Hill at Huntley. The tunnel was very wet and plagued by problems with its roof. In the 1930s the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Railway, which had taken over the North Staffordshire Railway, built a diversion line around Huntley tunnel and abandoned it.
The tunnel survives to this day due to the fact that it was used as a coal mine in the 70s and 80s, and the southern portal remains; however the northern portal has long been filled in. With the opening of the branch line to Cheadle it meant that New Haden Colliery and Parkhall Colliery now had connections to the rail network, and Cheadle in general had its long-awaited rail connection to the outside world. The line closed to passenger traffic in 1963 but remained open to serve local gravel quarries until 1982.
Today, the nearest railway station is Blythe Bridge on the Crewe-Derby Line.
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material
- Plant, Robert (1881). History of Cheadle, in Staffordshire, And Neighbouring Places. Leek: William Clemesha. p. 317 + xvi. ASIN B00088XLDW.
- St Giles Roman Catholic Church. Cheadlestaffordshire.co.uk. Retrieved on 2012-09-16.
- Cecilly Brook Local Nature Reserve. Cheadlestaffordshire.co.uk. Retrieved on 2012-09-16.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus (1974). Staffordshire (Pevsner Buildings of England). Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-09646-0.