Over the last few days I've been enjoying dipping in and out of one of my new books, namely 'The Lost City of Stoke-on-Trent' by Matthew Rice. I'm finding what he has to say about the city fascinating and his drawings are so enchanting that I'll pretend not to notice that he's called the Enson Works in Longton 'Ensign' Works.
In September 2007 I photographed the abandoned buildings of the Enson works which stand close to the church of St James the Less in between Normacott Road and Uttoxeter Road. The area covered by the 19th century grade II listed factory buildings, pub and cottages is owned by the City Council and was part of a heritage site which had then just recently been refurbished to create an interesting visitor area that enhanced the Gladstone Museum and Rosslyn works just further down the Uttoxeter Road.
With its cobbled street and old worker's cottages it had a really historic feel; just add the thick smokey air and the soot dirtied front windows and you'd have been there. The row of cottages on Short Street were used in the 1970s when ATV filmed the drama series Clayhanger, from the novels by Arnold Bennett and staring Peter McEnery as Edwin Clayhanger and Janet Suzman as Hilda Lessways.
We visited again on Sunday and were surprised to see the old factory buildings being demolished.
The seating area at the bottom of Short Street has gone, although the trees are still there at the moment.
There is a screen protecting the actual bottle ovens so it looks as if they might be staying. Although the other factory and office buildings were fast disappearing.
I've found out from various sources since I took the photos that new buildings are planned incorporating the bottle ovens to set up a centre of excellence for the teaching of building skills to young people in the area. This all sounds good especially as so many old buildings have been demolished over the last few years! I only hope the investment is found to refurbish those left or replace those already destroyed because at the moment, some parts of the city have become a wasteland.