Sir George Gilbert Scott’s friendship with the Poor Law Commissioner Thomas Stevens, whom he had met when they were working on Lichfield and Belper workhouses and was now the curate of Keele in Staffordshire, seems instrumental for gaining work in this geographical area. It was probably the Stevens’ connection that led to his appointment by Herbert Minton, the proprietor of the firm of porcelain and pottery manufacturers, to build a new church at Stoke-on-Trent, in Staffordshire. Drawings were worked up in 1840, the contract was let in 1841 and the building completed during the following year in conjunction with Moffatt. Holy Trinity, Hartshill Road, is a large church with inevitably, much-glazed tiling, some Minton designs from his earliest Pattern Book but the architectural style is the so-called Middle Pointed, or late Early English, with geometric tracery, which was to become Scott’s favourite style as well as that of Pugin and the Ecclesiologists. The importance to Scott of this building was, he claimed, ‘the first to which I put a regular chancel, but in some respects, hardly an advance on the others’. It earned early approbation in the first volume of The Ecclesiologist which, in 1842, described it as ‘magnificent’.
Sir George Gilbert Scott, as he was to do on several later occasions, also designed a parsonage and a school in the same location as the church, also paid for by Minton, the parsonage now totally altered.
Fisher, G., Stamp, G. and Heseltine, J., (eds), The Scott Family, Catalogue of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Avebury Publishing, Amersham, 1981), 18 b-c.
Scott’s Drawing Collection, RIBA, 1840-1.
http://www.tilesoc.org.uk/pdf/minstaff.pdf, pp. 30-1.
Pevsner, N., Some Architectural Writers of the Nineteenth Century (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1972), p. 134.