Hanley town centre
Hanley, in Staffordshire, is one of the six towns that joined together to form Stoke-on-Trent in 1910. Hanley now acts as the main city-centre for Stoke-on-Trent, and its chief shopping centre both for Hanley's own high street and for the Potteries Shopping Centre.
Hanley was incorporated as a "municipal borough" in 1857 and became a "county borough" in 1889, the only one of the six towns to be so before the joining of the Six Towns. At the creation of the new Stoke-on-Trent County Borough in 1910, Hanley became a part of the whole.
A vanishing name
In recent years, there has been a notable decline in the use of the name of Hanley in official publications and signage in favour of "Stoke-on-Trent City Centre". Road signs on major roads into and around the city now refer to the area as 'City centre', although Hanley's own name still appears on local road signs. Many documents published by local and national government refer to the town as the city centre not as Hanley, as does public transport in the region.
In 2009, the City Centre Partnership (a body promoting the development and re-generation of the city centre) proposed officially renaming the town centre, specifically, the area within the ring road, as "Stoke-on-Trent City Centre", while keeping the Hanley name for the surrounding area. The Partnership pressing businesses in the area to remove the name "Hanley" from their addresses, and have asked the city council to instruct the Ordnance Survey to refer to the area as the city centre, instead of Hanley. The City Centre Partnership has argued that the current situation, of the city as six separate towns, should be ended, and that it can be confusing for visitors to the city. Visitors seeking the city centre are said often to find themselves in the town of Stoke-upon-Trent. There are also proposals to rename Stoke-upon-Trent.
These trends and proposals have been met with opposition throughout the city. Residents of Hanley see them as a loss of the town's heritage, while residents of the other towns in the city see them as promoting Hanley over their own towns.
The name Hanley comes from hean lea, meaning "high meadow".
At one time, there were many coal mines in North Staffordshire. Hanley Deep Pit was opened in 1854. It was the deepest pit in the North Staffordshire coalfield, reaching a depth of 1,500 feet. At its peak in the 1930s it employed some 2,000 men and boys often producing 9,000 tons of coal a year. The pit was closed in 1962 but much of the headgear and spoilheaps were left where they lay. In the 1980s, the original site was cleared, landscaped and converted into Hanley Forest Park.
Hanley in Trade Journals
"HANLEY a large modern town and chapelry, in the parish of Stoke, is about two miles east by north of Newcastle [under-Lyme], and ranks next to Burslem in size, extent and opulence. The town is in an elevated situation, and the streets forming which are irregular, but many of the houses are well built. The chapelry contained, in 1821, 5,622 inhabitants."
Hanley, the most populous town in North Staffordshire, is generally described as the capital of the Potteries, a title to which it has certainly the greatest pretensions; ........ it has during the present century made such strides in the art, as to overtake and pass all competitors. At the census of 1891, the population of the municipal borough reached the total of 54,846; and such is the prosperity of the district, that at the present time this number has been very largely increased.
The Stoke-on-Trent Garden Festival was held in 1986 and led to the reclamation of large areas of land west of the city centre area – including the former Shelton steelworks, which had been derelict since 1978. Ironically, when the Garden Festival closed, the land remained derelict for some time, before being re-developed partly into public parkland and partly for retail and leisure.
Churches in Hanley
- Church of England:
- Bethesda Town Mission
- Congregational: Independent Tabernacle Church
- Etruria Wesleyan Chapel
- Providence Methodist Church
- Trinity Methodist (Northwood)
- Pentecostal: Elim Church
- Roman Catholic: Sacred Heart
Hanley also offers several cultural facilities such as The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery (a large ceramics collection, and restored Spitfire), the Victoria Hall, the Regent Theatre, BBC Radio Stoke's Open Centre and studios, while Piccadilly hosts the annual Sanity Fair and French Market events.