Weekly City Spotlight: Stoke on Trent

Stoke on Trent

Trentham Gardens and Estate

The City of Stoke on Trent is located in the English county of Staffordshire, and is commonly known as the Potteries having earned the title of the World Capital of Ceramics. Home to many attractions from the beautiful Trentham Gardens and Monkey Forest to an array of museums including the Gladstone Pottery Museum and Wedgwood Visitors Centre and Museum, the City’s Cultural Quarter provides a great selection of restaurants and cafes and is also where both The Regent and Victoria Hall Theatres are located.

Historic Stoke on Trent
With a motto of Via Unita Fortior – United Strength is Stronger, Stoke on Trent is comprised of 6 towns and gained City Status in 1925.  It is globally recognised for its pottery industry and numerous companies were founded within Stoke including Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Minton, and Spode all of which are recognised as offering quality ceramic designs of the highest standard. Many famous ceramic designers have been based in Stoke on Trent including Clarice Cliff who was born in Tunstall and Charlotte Rhead who lived and studied in Fenton. Wade Ceramics, Emma Bridgewater and Moorcroft also form part of the Staffordshire potteries, truly a centre of excellence for the ceramics industry.  Ceramics were developed further after the building of the Trent and Mersey Canal with imported materials then used to produce bone china and creamware designs.

Coal and Steel were also highly important industries for the area, with Stoke’s mining and steel production playing a significant role during the industrial revolution.  Such was the level of output that many industry records were achieved by Stoke including the record for the first mine in Europe to produce 2.5million tonnes of coal awarded to Trentham Superpit which finally closed in 1994.   Shelton Steel Works was one of a number of plants which extensively helped the war effort through its production.  Due to its location the area remains very attractive to businesses and is home to many well known brands including Michelin, bet360 and Phones4U

Both Port Vale and Stoke City football clubs are based in Stoke on Trent, with the area known for its sport opening a Hall of Fame in 2011.  The birthplace of famous footballers Stanley Matthews and Roy Sproson, as well as Mark Bright and Garth Crooks, other well-known sportsmen to hail from the area include darts legends Phil Taylor and Ted Hankey.

Popular Culture
Stoke on Trent is a historic and cultural city and as such has also been a focus in popular culture.

Films & TV
Anna of the Five Towns (1995) starred Peter Davidson, Lynsey Beauchamp and Anne Blackman and was adapted from the novels of Arnold Bennett, set in Stoke and surrounding towns.

The Card (1952) was a film comedy which starred Alex Guinness and Petula Clark.  The screenplay written by Eric Ambler was based on the novel of the same name again by Arnold Bennett.  Filming of the rags to riches tale took place in Stoke.

Soulboy (2010) was directed by Shimmy Marcus and features Joe McCain and his journey to fit into the northern soul scene, with the entire film shot in Stoke on Trent.

The Garden of Forking Paths (1941), this novel by Jorge Luis Borges follows Spy Doctor Yu Tsun during World War I, with part of the story set in Fenton, Stoke on Trent.

Anna of the Five Towns (1901) by Arnold Bennett is one of a number of works by the author to be set in the Potteries.  In his novels Bennett changed the names of towns within the conurbation of Stoke renaming the towns Knype (Stoke), Bursley (Burlem) Turnhill (Tunstall) Hanbridge (Hanley) and Longshaw (Longton), and with Fenton relatively new at the time Bennett did not include reference to the town in his tales.

Wedgewood Butterflies (1999) is set in the Potteries, with Peter Corbishley’s thriller featuring ceramics researcher Eric Rattlestone and the secret location of the Wedgewood engravings.

Social Media
Additional information on Stoke on Trent can be found on its official website Visit Stoke as well as its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

Famous Faces
Robbie Williams of Take That fame was born in Stoke on Trent on 13 February 1974, Williams has also enjoyed a hugely successful solo career selling over 77 million records globally, and receiving countless awards including 17 BRITS and features in the UK Music Hall of Fame.

Stanley Matthews one of the greatest English footballers was born in Stoke on Trent, and played for Stoke City for 23 years in total.  Born on the 1st February 1915, Matthews remains the only player ever to be knighted whilst still playing, remaining in top level football into his 50’s.

Josiah Wedgwood was born in Stoke on Trent on 12 July 1730 and famously founded Wedgwood in 1759, later to become Waterford Wedgwood following its merger with Waterford Crystal.


Stoke on Trent

Gladstone Pottery Museum

Gladstone Pottery Museum
The distinctive Gladstone Pottery Museum is located in Longton and takes visitors on a journey back to Victorian times as it is the last complete pottery factory in the country of this era. Its collections represent the significance of Stoke’s pottery history with original workshops and the bottle kilns also on the site.  The Museum also provides visitors with a chance to produce their own pottery during their visit.

Ford Green Hall
Dating back to the 17th Century, Ford Green Hall is a museum set within an amazing example of a timber framed farmhouse and period garden.  Collections housed within the Hall include ceramics, furniture and textiles, with family tickets on sale for just £6.50.

Trentham Estate
Simply stunning, the Trentham Estate features the beautiful Trentham Gardens, including the Italians Gardens the design of Tom Stuart-Smith alongside the Trentham Lake. Also part of the 60 acre estate is the Trentham Monkey Forest, with a chance for the family to get up close with the 140 monkeys that live in the forest with a 3/4mile trail to follow and learn more about the fascinating creatures.

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