Welcome to the unofficial Lock 38 information website - created by residents, for residents.

Click here to learn about all the cool places near to Lock 38 and Cliffe Vale...

HOME page...
5th Oct 2009
 �200m University Quarter consultation day, for residents in surrounding communities ...
5th Oct 2009
 Meet your local policeman, P.C. Steven Wilson, at a "Cliffe Vale and Hartshill West" area event ...
5-6th Dec 2009
 Santa arrives at the nearby Etruria Industrial Museum, on a specially-lit classic narrowboat ...

The Roman road called Ryknild Street passed directly through the Cliffe Vale area, although the exact route it ran along is unknown.

Cliffe Vale takes its name from having been the 'Hay of Clive', part of a Norman deer hunting park that survived as such well into the 15th century. The lower Cliffe Vale section of the park - between Shelton Old Road and Eturia Road - was probably deforested sometime in the 15th century. The more elevated core of the hunting park became a landed estate and farm, and it is marked on the 1st edition six-inch Ordnance Survey map (circa 1860) as "Cliff Ville". The park survived into the 20th century as a large wooded area, now run as a local nature reserve under the name of Hartshill Park. The modern Hartshill Park overlooks the modern Cliffe Vale area.

The Trent and Mersey Canal was cut north-south through Cliffe Vale in the 1770s. What is now the West Coast Main Line railway track was built in the mid 1850s. There was a Cliffe Vale railway station, but this closed in 1865.

1890 OS map

In the Victorian era the area toward the canal specialised in carpentry, making wooden railway carriages (below) at Cockshute sidings next to the railway, and making narrowboats at the canal, while the area west of the train lines (Brick Kiln Lane) specialised in brick making.

Cliffe Vale C.E. Junior and Infants' School opened in 1857 as a mixed branch school for young children. It grew, gradually became all-age, and moved from two cottages into a purpose-built building. The new school burned down in 1865, but was rebuilt the same year. A dedicated infants' school opened in nearby Garner Street in 1898.

A new ideal 'model' factory, Cliffe Vale Pottery (below), was built by T.W. Twyford in 1887, and his factory manufactured the world's first flushing toilets and other innovative sanitaryware for over 100 years. The Twyfords works closed in 1994, and moved to a purpose-built factory at Alsager.

Twyfords, circa early 1900s?

The nearby Armitage Shanks sanitaryware pottery, established at the Excelsior Works in Cliffe Vale from 1912, closed in 2007 and moved to a new factory at Middlewich. This closure brought to an end 120 years of sanitary innovation at Cliffe Vale, innovations that rapidly spread around the world and which have changed the way billions of people live.

Etruria and Cliffe Vale seen from Hartshill Park. Possibly Edwardian era.

Twyfords, seen from the west side, circa early 1900s? (detail).

The railway sidings and buildings at Cliffe Vale were used as the winter quarters for the world's biggest circus, Barnum & Bailey, from 1897 until 1911 when Twyfords expanded and the circus had to move elsewhere.

At the eastern edge of the modern Cliffe Vale is the 29-acre Hanley Cemetery (1860 to present-day), originally the south part of the grounds of Chatterley Hall. It is still an active cemetery, and is now run as a nature conservation area. In the 1990s and 2000s the canal and towpath was regenerated for boaters and cyclists, with the towpath becoming National Cycle Route No.5 and providing easy off-road access to Stoke-on-Trent railway station less than a mile away. In 2007/8 the Lock 38 development was built alongside the canal.

restored canalside towpath, 2007

In 2007/8 the Lock 38 development was built alongside the canal. The city Council considers the name of the area to be Cliff Vale, but it seems Cliffe Vale is the more long-standing name for the area.


This non-commercial residents' website
is completely unofficial and is not
endorsed by Countryside in any way.
Designed for Internet Explorer 6 & 7.

Updated: 7th Nov 2009.