Aviva Directory » Local & Global » Europe » United Kingdom » Countries » England » Cities & Towns » Stoke-on-Trent

The city officially called Stoke-on-Trent is commonly known as simply Stoke. It is situated in west-central England where the Trent River meets the Fowlea Brook. Stoke is a federation of six towns. In 1910, the towns of Burslem, Fenton, Hanley Longton, Stoke, and Tunstall were united and formed into one town named Stoke-on-Trent.

The city, which is rich in clay, coal, lead, and salt, is in the Staffordshire Potteries industrial area, locally called “The Potteries”, which has been the centre of the production of ceramics since the early 1600s. Porcelain, earthenware, and stoneware were created by hundreds of local companies which spurred innovation within the industry. They developed such things as bone china and jasperware as well as numerous techniques for glazing and decorating pottery. By the dawn of the 18th century, The Potteries were the most prolific maker of ceramics in the entire country.

Along with Staffordshire Potteries, renowned ceramic companies located in the area include Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Spode, Minton, and Dudson.

For centuries, the coal industry was of critical importance to the creation of ceramics within The Potteries and, therefore, to Stoke-on-Trent. The area of the Potteries Coalfield is more than 300 square kilometers (100 square miles).

In 1842, miners in the North Staffordshire Coalfield (AKA Potteries Coalfield) began a general strike which spread like wildfire throughout the country and involved not just coal mines, but factories and mills. At just about the same time, the 1842 Pottery Riots began, joining the general strike. The item that sparked both of these strikes was the decision made by the coal mine owner W.H. Sparrow to ignore the law that requires two weeks’ notice of a pay reduction that amounted to nearly a shilling per day to his employees. Within hours, nearby coal mine workers walked out to show their support. Nationwide, more than 500,000 workers joined the strike within days.

\ The general strike is credited with helping to forge trade unionism and direct action as a powerful tool in British industrial relations.

At the peak of success, The Potteries had more than 4,000 bottle-shaped kilns, an unintended barometer of the success of the industry in the region. During the latter part of the 20th century, all but 46 of the kilns have been removed per Clean Air Act regulations.

All of the coal mines are gone now, but that is not to say that Stoke is emptying out. The Royal Stoke University Hospital, which is the third largest hospital in the United Kingdom. The hospital has 1,328 beds and provides acute hospital services for more than 700,000 people in the area. The hospital’s Central Outpatients Department is also a very busy medical clinic.

The mainline railway station services Stafford to Manchester and runs through Derbyshire, Staffordshire, and Cheshire. The main campus of Staffordshire University and its library, the King’s Hall events centre, and Stoke’s music community all attest to its survival.



Recommended Resources

Search for Stoke-on-Trent on Google or Bing