Hanley Then vs Now

· 6 min read
Hanley Then vs Now
Crown Bank, Hanley

This post is the first of a series that I am working on, of up-to-date then and now photographs.

Stoke-on-Trent is ever-changing, but more so in recent years. So many of the old vs new photographs we see online or in books have moved on even since then.

One of the places that have changed more than any other is Hanley. And in my opinion, it is not for the better.

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Join me on a walk around Hanley, to see how things have changed.

The junction where Piccadilly, Marsh Street, Albion Street and Broad Street meet.

The left-hand side of this photo seems relatively unchanged. The grand-looking building on the left is the old British Gas Light Co building and is still standing, as are many of the buildings up Piccadilly.  The buildings on the right are all gone, and the area is now in the shadow of the modern extension of The Regent Theatre.

The junction of Marsh Street and Piccadilly.

The building on the corner was built in 1908 and was originally a draper's shop belonging to Harold Field but it has been many things over the years, including an electrical shop and an array of cafes and coffee shops.

A view up Piccadilly in the 1930s

The left-hand side of Piccadilly here has changed the most. Many of the buildings have now gone and been replaced with generic modern-style buildings.

Another view looking up Piccadilly.

The right-hand side of Piccadilly has many of the same buildings, but the shop fronts are very different. Notice the sign on The Regent advertising talkies. The Regent was a cinema in the top photo but is a theatre now. Other than the glass porch the building is relatively unchanged.

The meeting place of Piccadilly, Crown Bank, Fountain Square and Stafford Street. 

I have to say, I really do prefer the view here in the old photo. The modern monstrosity in the middle of the bottom photo has taken all of the characters away from the town. The buildings on the left and right are still there, but have not been looked after and have seen better days. Many of the roads have been pedestrianised and had a fortune spent over the last few years on new paving. Do you think it was worth it?
I have to say that I love seeing the tram, the horse being led and all of the beautiful hand-painted signs on the buildings.

Looking down Piccadilly from the same junction as above.

I wish developers would realise that modern designs are not always better. The buildings on the right of the photo are still standing, although they are looking rough. However, the buildings on the left have gone and have been replaced with generic buildings and an art deco-style building originally built by Burton's Tailors. Many of their shops across the Uk were built in this style. We have actually got quite a lot of Art Deco buildings in Stoke-on-Trent. I might do a post just about them if anyone is interested. Let me know in the comments below!

Crown Bank

The only building still standing in this photo is the one in the centre. In the older photo, you can see it did originally have a spire. This building was the head office of The Staffordshire Evening Post.
Interestingly, the smaller building in front of this was a Hackney Carriage rank. This was the prime place for drivers to wait for a fare as Crown Bank had many public houses.

Hanley Old Town Hall, Fountain Square

I have to say, I genuinely love this building and wish it was still standing. What an impressive and imposing building this was! The building that replaced it isn't quite up to the same standards is it?

Hanley Old Town Hall was actually Hanley's second town hall and was built in 1845 on the site of an old Butter Market. It was demolished in the 1930s.

This is a photo taken from a similar place as above but after the town hall has been demolished.

The buildings on the right are the same, again though, a bit worse for wear. The buildings on the left have completely been demolished and replaced with a more modern buildings. The biggest difference between these photos and the ones above is the road. In the first photo, there is a statue of a Greek Maiden. This was removed in the 40s to create a roundabout to help with the increased amount of traffic.

All of this has now gone and has been replaced with large pedestrianised, paved areas.

Hanley Market Square

This is probably the area that has changed the most. The obvious change is on the left. The market hall was demolished in the 80s to be replaced with the Potteries Shopping Centre, which is quite possibly one of the ugliest buildings in the city.

The building straight ahead to the left still has a part of it left. It was originally The Angel Hotel.

The Old Post Office, Tontine Street

This beautiful building was The Post Office. Built in 1906, it was built from stone from the Waterloo Stone Quarries in Alton.  It was closed in 2007 due to financial cuts.

Many of the buildings on the left still stand.

The Free Trade Building, better known as Webberley's.

I love this building. I mean, just look at it, it is beautiful! And I am so glad that it is being looked after. Originally built in the 1880s, it has been home to many things, including a dancing school, The Liberty Club, Stoke Rep Theatre, offices and Webberley's bookshop and print works.

Note the space next to it in the old photo where the Old Post Office is yet to sit.

No 4 Albion Street

This beautiful house was once home to a surgeon, Mt John Clare. He came from Wales and married a local Hanley girl. The building is now offices.

You can see that one of the buildings on the right is still there, although it is now in the shadow of the modern extension of The Regent Theatre.

Well, I hope you enjoyed that little walk around Hanley. I would love to know what areas you would all love to see! So please feel free to leave me any comments below and don't forget to sign up for the newsletter so you don't miss anything!

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If you are interested in the history of Hanley then check out these books on Amazon.