Blythe Bridge House

The old A50 that dissects the community of Blythe Bridge was once a busy thoroughfare originally built to connect the Roman towns of Derby and Chester. As early as the late 1930s the excessive volume of traffic was acknowledged by the County Council who considered rectifying the problem with a by-pass. However, the arrival of the Second World War meant a halt to any development, and the community had to wait another four decades before the current by-pass was finished, opening on Wednesday October 1st 1975.

 

The original grammar school at Blythe Bridge had been founded by William Amory in 1728. This existed until being succeeded during the 1850s with the one that used to stand behind St Peter’s Church, and Blythe Marsh school that was built three decades later. When Amory’s original school became abandoned the site was acquired by the banker and pottery manufacturer Charles Harvey of Longton Hall. He built Blythe House in 1853, a stone gothic mansion with large bay windows and a dominating tower. This stood in an elevated position overlooking Uttoxeter Road. The interior consisted of a large entrance hall, morning room, dining room, drawing room, two kitchens, a larder and dairy. A grand staircase led to the saloon, seven bedrooms, and a dressing room and linen room.

 

In the courtyard at the rear was a range of ancillary buildings including a coach house, harness room, laundry and wash house, along with stables and a potting house. The grounds, including elegantly laid out gardens, were encompassed by a high stone wall. The remains of this are still visible along Uttoxeter Road from the site of the recently-demolished Smithfield public house to the police station, and also running up Cheadle Road to the present school entrance. The original entrance to this lost mansion can also be seen on Uttoxeter Road.

 

After the death of Charles Harvey in 1860 the estate passed to his son William Kenwright Harvey. In July 1863 William and his wife Anne held a two-day village fair in the grounds of Blythe House to raise money for repairs needed on St Peter’s Church. Attendees were allowed to wander through the gardens and greenhouses, and music was provided by the band of the Moorland Rifle Volunteers. The Staffordshire Advertiser noted that ‘notwithstanding the very unfavourable state of the weather there was a highly respectable attendance.’

 

In 1866 under William’s management the Longton bank established by his father collapsed. William disappeared, along with gold belonging to the bank, leaving debts totalling £40,000, supposedly fleeing to America.

 

William’s assets were seized by creditors and the house, along with all of its contents, were sold by public auction in September 1866. The contents of the house included both mahogany and rosewood furniture, a grand piano, harmonium, pier and chimney glasses, candelabras, console tables with marble tops, a four-poster mahogany bed, marble washstands, Brussels and Turkey-work carpets, paintings, a library of books and a cellar of wine, silver plate, magic lanthorn and slides, a sword with silver scabbard, and bows and arrows

 

By the 1880s Charles Glover, of the Glover and Sons Brewery in Longton, was resident. He and his wife and two daughters were augmented by a governess and four servants. Ten years later Blythe house was the home of Harold Ashwall.

 

During the 20th century the pottery manufacturer Thomas (‘TC’) Wild lived at the house. Joseph Anysley, another pottery manufacturer was resident in 1916. The Bennion family took up residence during the second decade of the 20th century. One local resident, Tom Dennis, later recalled that when he was a paper boy being taken up the tower by the Bennions which had “wonderful views” of Blythe Bridge, Blythe Marsh and Forsbrook.

 

The house was probably demolished during the early 1930s. During the mid 1960s the land was acquired by Staffordshire County Council. The police station, library and high school were built on the site.