Working Class Housing in the Cross Street, Stringer Street and Duke of York Square area of Biddulph
There are no maps earlier than 1876 detailed enough to show property in the surveyed area, but we do know that a Charles Stringer in 1851 lived in Stringer Street, (hence its name). He was a miller and provision dealer owning the water powered mill at nearby Gillowshaw Brook. This mill was later powered by a steam engine, whose foundations still exist. We feel that most of the original houses shown on the 1876 map were built c1840/50.
The three streets known locally as the “Square" are located between High Street and Station Road in an area mentioned on the 1876 map of Bradley Green (the original name of present day Biddulph) a mainly working class residential area in that period.
This area in 1876 comprised of about 45 homes; many small two up and two down cottages, with a few larger houses - home to about 10% of the population of Bradley Green at that time. By 1890 approximately 14 cottages had been demolished in order to cater for the increase in the demand for fustian velvet, when in 1892, a two storey mill was built for fustian cutting. The first mill owner was Henry Mitchell. Later the Platt family took over the business, followed by the United Velvet Cutters in 1912-16. Census of the time show many fustian workers lived in the “Square”.
During the Second World War the ARP used part of the mill as their Headquarters and stores; there was also a stage inside where concerts were performed for locals and troops. Between 1959/87 William Standards &Co were to manufacture clothing in the mill. Today it has a non-textile use. Presently there are less than twenty cottages in the area- mostly well kept. Two businesses, one a furniture retailer and funeral director (Est. 1856) and the other a hairdresser are still active. There are also plots of waste land and out of use industrial buildings all awaiting redevelopment in the area.
This project was carried out as part of Staffordshire Surveys, a project run by Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service and the Victoria County History for Staffordshire