Original borough emblem in safe hands as Ryecroft redevelopment progresses

Published: 21 June 2022

Coat of arms, Council, Civic Offices, Ryecroft, regeneration, history, preservation
Council Leader Simon Tagg and the plaque, from the former Civic Offices, featuring the borough's first coat of arms.

A plaque featuring the original coat of arms for Newcastle-under-Lyme has been saved for future generations following the demolition of an ageing building.

A colourful plaque displaying the original official symbol of Newcastle-under-Lyme has been saved and preserved for future generations as a multi-million regeneration scheme gathers pace.

The large, double sided sign – bearing the borough’s first coat of arms which sat over the balcony of the former Civic Offices in Merrial Street – is now in safe hands following the demolition of the old Council headquarters to make way for an ambitious redevelopment of the Ryecroft.

The Council was keen to protect the symbolic object as a visual reminder of part of the borough’s heritage for years to come. It’s been cleaned and is now ready for a new home which could include Brampton Museum, in Brampton Park, or the town centre.

The first coat of arms, officially granted in December 1951, featured several components including a red castle, waves and fishes supported by black lions holding scythes and fleurs-de-lis from the arms of the Duchy of Lancaster. The Latin motto “prisca constantia” means “ancient and loyal”, a statement which has been associated with the borough for many years.

The design was later modified following the merger of the Newcastle-under-Lyme Municipal Borough, the Kidsgrove Urban District and the Newcastle-under-Lyme Rural District in 1974. The crest now depicts kids in a grove of trees to represent the town of Kidsgrove.

Blueprint plans for Ryecroft include residential new-build, a multi-storey car park, open plazas and new public space alongside better connections to the residential areas at the north of the town centre. Aspire Housing has announced plans to build a net zero collaboration hub on part of the site.

The once-in-a-generation redevelopment of the brownfield site has been made possible as a result of the Council securing more than £11 million from the Government's Future High Streets Fund, which included £7.3 million for Ryecroft.

Council Leader Simon Tagg said: “The demolition of the Civic Offices is paving the way for a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the extended Ryecroft area as part of our £11 million Future High Streets Fund allocation. We’re very excited about the future but I’m glad that it was possible to retain this little bit of important history. Many residents had contacted me about the possibility of preserving the crest so I am pleased we have been able to do that.”