|— City and Unitary Authority area —|
|City of Stoke-on-Trent|
Stoke-on-Trent city centre viewed from the south of the city.
|Nickname(s): "Stoke", "The Potteries", "the city of five towns"|
|Motto: Vis Unita Fortior (united strength is stronger)|
Stoke-on-Trent shown within England and Staffordshire
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Granted City Status||1925|
|Granted Independent city Status||1997|
|Named for||Component town Stoke-upon-Trent|
|- Type||Unitary, City|
|- Lord Mayor||Jean Bowers|
|- Leader of the City Council||Ross Irving|
|- Chief Executive||John van de Laarschot|
|- Total||35.8 sq mi (92.74 km2)|
|Highest elevation||700 ft (213 m)|
|Lowest elevation||350 ft (107 m)|
|Population (2001 Census, 2007 Population Estimates)|
|- Density||6,643.3/sq mi (2,565/km2)|
|- Ethnicity||92.5% White
1.3% Mixed Race
|- Religion||74.7% Christian
21.3% None/Not stated
|Time zone||Greenwich Mean Time (UTC±0)|
|- Summer (DST)||British Summer Time (UTC+1)|
Stoke-on-Trent ( pronunciation (help·info); often abbreviated to Stoke) is a city in Staffordshire, England, which forms a linear conurbation almost 12 miles (19 km) long, with an area of 36 square miles (93 km2). Together with the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme Stoke forms the The Potteries Urban Area. This, together with the rural Staffordshire Moorlands area, forms North Staffordshire, which in 2001, had a population of 457,165.
The conurbation continues to be polycentric, having been formed by the federation of six originally separate towns and numerous villages in the early-20th century. The settlement from which the federated town (not a city until 1925) took its name was Stoke-upon-Trent, because this was where the administration (and chief mainline railway station) was located. After the union, Hanley emerged as the primary commercial centre in the city, despite the efforts of its rival, Burslem. The three other component towns are Tunstall, Longton, and Fenton.
Stoke-on-Trent is considered to be the home of the pottery industry in England and is commonly known as The Potteries. Formerly a primarily industrial conurbation, it is now a centre for service industries and distribution centres.
The name Stoke is taken from the town of Stoke-upon-Trent, the original ancient parish, with other settlements being chapelries. 'Stoke' derives from the Old English stoc, a word that at first meant little more than a 'place', but which subsequently gained more specific – but divergent – connotations. These variant meanings included 'dairy farm', 'secondary or dependent place or farm', 'summer pasture', 'crossing place', 'meeting place' and 'place of worship'. It is not known which of these was intended here, and all are feasible. The most frequently suggested interpretations derive from a crossing point on the Roman road that ran from present-day Derby to Chesterton or the early presence of a church, said by Bede to have been founded in 670 AD. Because 'Stoke' was such a common name for a settlement, some kind of distinguishing affix was usually added later, in this case the name of the river.
The motto of Stoke-on-Trent is Vis Unita Fortior which can be translated as: United Strength is Stronger, or Strength United is the More Powerful or A United Force is Stronger.
An early proposal for a federation took place in 1888, when an amendment was raised to the Local Government Bill which would have made the six towns districts within a county of 'Staffordshire Potteries'. It was not until 1 April 1910 that the Six Towns were brought together. The county borough of Hanley, the municipal boroughs of Burslem, Longton, and Stoke, together with the urban districts of Tunstall and Fenton now formed a single county borough of Stoke-on-Trent. The combined borough took the name of town of Stoke.
The borough proposed in 1919 to expand further and annex the neighbouring borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme and the Wolstanton United Urban District, both to the west of Stoke: this met strong objections from Newcastle Corporation and never took place. A further attempt was made in 1930, with the promotion of the Stoke-on-Trent Extension Bill. Ultimately, Wolstanton was added to Newcastle-under-Lyme instead in 1932. Although attempts to take Newcastle, Wolstanton and Kidsgrove (north of Tunstall) were never successful, the borough did however expand in 1922, taking in Smallthorne Urban District, and parts of other parishes from Stoke upon Trent Rural District. The borough was officially granted city status in 1925 with a Lord Mayor from 1928.
The city's county borough status was abolished in 1974, and it became a non-metropolitan district of Staffordshire. Its status was restored as a unitary authority with the local authority as Stoke-on-Trent City Council whilst remaining part of the ceremonial county of Staffordshire on 1 April 1997.
Since the 17th century the area has been almost exclusively known for its industrial-scale pottery manufacturing, with such world renowned names as Royal Doulton, Dudson Ltd, Spode (founded by Josiah Spode), Wedgwood (founded by Josiah Wedgwood) and Minton (founded by Thomas Minton) being born and based there. The presence locally of abundant supplies of coal and of suitable clay for earthenware production led to the early but at first limited development of the local pottery industry. The construction of the Trent and Mersey Canal enabled the import of china clay from Cornwall together with other materials and facilitated the production of creamware and bone china.
However, many other production centres elsewhere in Britain, Europe and worldwide had a considerable lead in the production of high quality wares. It was largely the methodical and highly detailed research and a willingness to experiment carried out over many years, initially by one man, Josiah Wedgwood, and later by other local potters (such as Thomas Whieldon), along with scientists and engineers, that nurtured the development of artistic talent throughout the local community and raised the profile of Staffordshire Potteries. With the industry also came a large number of notable ceramic artists including Clarice Cliff, Susie Cooper, Charlotte Rhead, Frederick Hurten Rhead and Jabez Vodrey.
North Staffordshire was a centre for coal mining. The first reports of coal mining in the area come from the 13th century. Part of the North Staffordshire Coalfield, the Potteries Coalfield covers 100 square miles (300 km2).
On nationalisation of the industry in 1947, around 20,000 men worked in the industry in Stoke on Trent. Notable Collieries included Hanley Deep Pit, Trentham Superpit (formerly Hem Heath and Florence Collieries), Fenton Glebe, Silverdale, Chatterley Whitfield and Wolstanton. The industry developed greatly and even new investments in mining projects were planned within the City boundaries as recently as the 1990s. However, 1994 saw the last pit to close as the Trentham Superpit was shut.
The Stoke mining industry set several national and international records. Wolstanton Colliery, when modernised had the deepest mining shafts in Europe. In 1933, Chatterley Whitfield Colliery became the first Colliery in the country to mine 1 million tons of coal. In the 1980s Florence Colliery in Longton repeatedly set regional and national production records and in 1992 the combined Trentham Superpit (Hem Heath and Florence) was the first Mine in Europe to produce 2.5 million saleable tonnes of coal.
Today the mines are all closed, though the scars of mining still remain on the landscape. Slag heaps are still visible on the skyline, now covered with flora and fauna. The abandoned mines underground are inaccessible, though still add complications to many building projects and occasionally cause minor tremors, detectable only by specialized equipment.
Other industries have also occupied important roles in the development of the city both before and after federation. Notably the iron and steel making industry located in the valley at Goldendale and Shelton below the hill towns of Tunstall, Burslem and Hanley. Shelton Steelworks production of steel ended in 1978 and instead of producing crude Steel concentrated on rolling Steel Billet train loaded in from Scunthorpe. The Rolling Plant finally closed in 2002. From 1864 to 1927 Stoke housed the repair shops of the North Staffordshire Railway and was also the home from 1881 to 1930 of independent railway locomotive manufacturers Kerr Stuart & Co. Ltd.
Shelton Steel Works as well as the mining operations were heavily involved in the World War II industrial effort. Central to the RAF's success was the Supermarine Spitfire designed by Reginald Mitchell who, whilst born at 115 Congleton Road in the nearby village of Butt Lane, Kidsgrove had his apprenticeship at Kerr Stuart & Co. Ltd's railway works.
The Michelin tyre company also has a presence in Stoke-on-Trent and in the 1920s built their first UK plant in the city. As recently as the 1980s nearly 9,000 workers were employed at the plant. Nowadays around 1,200 are employed at the site.
Primitive Methodism was founded by Hugh Bourne a native of Stoke. He originally followed the Wesleyan form of Methodism but in 1801 he reformed the Methodist service by conducting it outside. By 1811 with his brother he founded the first chapel in Tunstall. He promoted Sunday schools as a method of improving children's education as well as treating women as equals. He also was involved in the temperance movement. It was from the Primitive Methodists that many early trade unions found their early leaders. Also of note is John Lightfoot a 17th century churchman and rabbinical scholar.
Stoke-on-Trent is situated approximately half-way between Manchester and Birmingham and the city adjoins the town and borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme, which is administered separately and situated to the west. To the east is the Peak District, which includes part of the Staffordshire Moorlands District, as well as parts of Derbyshire, Greater Manchester and West and South Yorkshire.
Stoke-on-Trent is often known as "the city of five towns", because of the name given to it by local novelist Arnold Bennett. In his novels, Bennett used mostly recognisable aliases for five of the six towns (although he called Stoke "Knype"). However, Bennett said that he believed "Five Towns" was more euphonious than "Six Towns", so he omitted Fenton (now sometimes referred to as "the forgotten town").
A city like Stoke made up of multiple towns is known as a conurbation (although in this case the conurbation is bigger than Stoke itself, because the urban area of Stoke is now continuous with that of administratively-separate Newcastle).
The six towns run in a rough line from north to south along the A50 road - Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton. Although the city is named after the original town of Stoke, and the City Council offices are located there, the city centre is usually regarded as being in Hanley, which had earlier developed into a major commercial centre.
As well as the Six Towns, there are numerous suburbs including Abbey Hulton, Adderley Green, Baddeley Green, Bentilee, Birches Head, Blurton, Bucknall, Bradeley, Cliffe Vale, Etruria, Fegg Hayes, Hartshill, Heron Cross, Meir, Meir Park, Meir Hay, Middleport, Milton, Penkhull, Shelton, Smallthorne, Sneyd Green, Trentham and Trent Vale.
Based on the 2001 census, the total population of the city is 240,636 in 103,196 households This was a decline of 3.5% since 1991. 51.3% of the population is female. 96.3% of the population of Stoke-on-Trent were born in the UK. 94.8% of the population identified themselves as white, 2.6% as Asian British Pakistani, 0.5% Asian British Indian and 0.3% as Black Afro Caribbean. With religion, 74.7% described themselves as Christian, 3.2% Muslim and 13.4% had no religion. In the same census, 19.9% were identified as under 15 and 21.0% over 60. The average age of residents was 38½. A total of 24.2% of non-pensioner households were recorded as having no working adults.
|Theft of a motor vehicle||4.97||4.04|
|Theft from a motor vehicle||10.14||9.59|
|Violence against a person||32.59||19.97|
The city's world-class ceramics collection is in the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. The city's past can also be explored in Etruria Industrial Museum, the Elizabethan Ford Green Hall, Gladstone Pottery Museum (an Anchor Point of ERIH, The European Route of Industrial Heritage) and the newly opened Ceramica in Burslem.
Most of the major pottery companies based in Stoke-on-Trent have factory shops and visitor centres. The £10-million Wedgwood Museum visitor centre which opened in the firm's factory in Barlaston in October 2008. Spode offers guided tours of its factory and unique Blue Room in Stoke town centre. The Dudson Centre in Hanley is a museum of the family ceramics business that's partly housed in a Grade II listed bottle kiln. It is also a volunteer centre. Royal Doulton in Fenton has a factory shop. Burleigh in Middleport is the world's oldest working Victorian pottery. There are also smaller factory shops, such as Royal Stafford in Burslem and Emma Bridgewater Ltd in Hanley. And there are ambitious plans to open the huge Chatterley Whitfield Colliery as a mining museum, since it has been given Ancient Monument status, ranking it in importance with Stonehenge.
Trentham Gardens is in the south of the city and a £100 million refurbishment was completed in 2005. Next door is Trentham Monkey Forest, which houses 140 Barbary Macaques in a 60 acre enclosure that visitors can walk through.
The Alton Towers Resort is ten miles east of Stoke-on-Trent and is one of the United Kingdom's best known attractions. The Waterworld indoor swimming complex on Festival Park near Hanley is also a significant children's attraction.
Each of the six towns in Stoke-on-Trent has at least one park. At nine hectares, Burslem Park is one of the largest registered Victorian parks in the UK. Park Hall Country Park in Weston Coyney is the city's only National Nature Reserve, and its sandstone canyons are a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Hartshill Park in Stoke is also a nature reserve, and Bucknall Park is home to the City Farm. Westport Lake in Longport is the largest body of water in Stoke-on-Trent and has a nature reserve.
North Staffordshire is a world centre for fine ceramics - a skilled design trade established in the area since at least the 12th century. But in the late-1980s & 1990s Stoke-on-Trent was hit hard by the general decline in the British manufacturing sector. Numerous factories, steelworks, collieries, and potteries were closed, including the renowned Shelton Bar steelworks. This resulted in a sharp rise in unemployment in the 'high-skilled but low-paid' workforce. However, at Q2 2004 the unemployment rate had recovered to almost the same as in the wider West Midlands. The city's present employment levels are currently stable and likely to grow from 2004 to 2008, according to a detailed 2003 study by Experian Business Strategies. About 9,000 firms are based in the city. Amongst the more notable are bet365, founded by local businessman and Stoke City chairman Peter Coates, and Phones4U a large retailer of mobile phones started by John Caudwell.
KPMG's 'Competitive Alternatives 2004' report declared Stoke-on-Trent to be the most cost-effective place to set up a new UK business. The city currently has the advantage of offering very affordable business property - while being surrounded by a belt of extremely affluent areas (The Peak District, Stone, south Cheshire) and having excellent road links via the A500 and nearby M6 and rail links.
Around five million tourists visit Stoke each year, directly supporting around 4,400 jobs. Stoke-on-Trent shows its popularity through the number of repeat visits; around 80 percent of visitors have previously visited. Tourism to the city was kick-started by the National Garden Festival in 1986, and is now sustained by the many pottery factory-shops/tours and by the improved canal network.
This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Stoke-on-Trent at current basic prices with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
The main shopping centre is Hanley; location of the Potteries Shopping Centre (housing many well known national retail outlets), many well-known high street shops and some unique specialist retailers. The Potteries Shopping Centre has recently opened chain coffee shops including Starbucks and Costa Coffee. And with the Peak District just ten miles (16 km) away, Hanley naturally boasts five outdoors clothing & equipment shops.
Night-time industry has boomed in recent years, with Hanley becoming increasingly popular for its nightclubs, theatres, pubs, bars and restaurants.
The city is covered by three House of Commons constituencies: Stoke-on-Trent North, Stoke-on-Trent Central and Stoke-on-Trent South. All three have returned Labour MPs without interruption since their creation in 1950. The city is within the West Midlands European Parliament constituency.
The city was only one of the twelve English districts with elected mayors to use the mayor and council manager system rather than the mayor and cabinet system, although it was removed following a local referendum on 23 October 2008.
A local referendum approved a directly elected mayor system on 3 May 2002 by 28,601 votes to 20,578 (turnout of 27.8%).
Mike Wolfe an independent candidate became the first directly elected mayor after an election on 17 October 2002 an independent, who narrowly beat Labour Party candidate George Stevenson by just 300 votes. The elected Mayor from 5 May 2005 - 5 June 2009 was Mark Meredith (Labour Party). The 2005 election was notable because approximately 10% of the ballot papers were either spoiled or ineligible. Meredith's election platform included a pledge to have another referendum on the post of elected mayor. This was scheduled for May 2007 and passed in favour of retaining the current political system.
On 23 October 2008, voters returned to the polls to choose between modifying the system (to Mayor and Cabinet) or abolishing the position of elected Mayor. Votes were 21,231 for abolition and 14,592 for modification on a turnout of 19.23%.
Following a city wide referendum abolishing the position of elected mayor a Leader and Cabinet system was adopted on 5 June 2009. The Leader of the Council is elected by councillors, as of 5 June 2009 this is Ross Irving (Conservative Party UK). The Cabinet is a coalition of: Conservative and Independent Alliance (4 councillors), City Independents (4 councillors) and Liberal Democrats (UK) (1 councillor).
The position of Lord Mayor is largely ceremonial. The title of Lord Mayor was first conferred on the City of Stoke-on-Trent by King George V on 10 July 1928. The role of Lord Mayor is decided upon by a vote amongst the elected councillors, the candidates are also selected from the councillors. The current Lord Mayor is Councillor Jean Bowers.
The city is divided into 20 wards each of which are represented by three councillors, elected by thirds. However the Stoke-on-Trent Governance Commission has recommended that the council be reduced to between 20 and 40 members representing single member wards.
The political composition of Stoke-on-Trent city council as of 2008 is as follows:
|Year||Labour||British National Party||Conservative and Independent Alliance||Liberal Democrats||Others|
*This includes 5 councillors elected as Conservatives and 2 councillors elected as independents.
#Others consists of the City Independent Group (15 councillors), Non-Aligned Group (3 councillors), The Potteries Alliance (2 councillors), Independent Group (2 councillors), non-aligned (2 coucillors) and 1 Libertarian.
The City is served by the local Primary Care Trust, NHS Stoke on Trent. The surrounding areas of Newcastle under Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands are served by NHS North Staffordshire.
The main acute trust is the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.
The hospital is built on two sites (the Royal Infirmary and the City General), the hospital is being re-built on to the City General site which is located on London Road, the A34.
Stoke-on-Trent is linked to the nearby M6 motorway at junctions 15 and 16 by the A500. Locally the A500 is known to as the D road (500 in Roman numerals is D) as its loop between the two motorway junctions resembles a D. The A50 cuts through the city, providing an East-West link between the M6 and M1 motorways. Improvements to the road network have led to a number of companies building distribution centres in the area.
Stoke-on-Trent railway station is a mainline station on the Stafford-Manchester Line, which is a part of the West Coast Main Line between Manchester and London, as well as the Crewe-Derby Line. Virgin Pendolino train 390029 is named after Stoke-on-Trent. Other railway stations in the city include Longport and Longton stations. Etruria station was closed in September, 2005.
Local public transport is almost exclusively by bus. Bus services are mainly operated by Potteries Motor Traction, now owned by FirstGroup under the name First PMT. There are also several smaller companies operating bus services in the city. There are central bus stations in Hanley city centre and Longton town centre. National Express operate long distance coach services from Hanley Bus Station.
The city is served by the Trent and Mersey Canal, which sees traffic of some 10,000 boats a year. Additionally, the Caldon Canal branches off from the Trent and Mersey Canal at Etruria, within the city boundaries, going to Froghall with one branch going to Leek. Recently numerous improvements to the canal system have been made.
At November 2009 there are 77 miles (120 km) of new National Cycle Network off-road bicycle paths through the city, connecting the city to the national long-distance paths which were completed in 2005. Together with those in Newcastle-under-Lyme, there are now over 100 miles (160 km) of cycle paths in the urban conurbation. A further Stoke-£10-million of funding has now been secured for the city's cycling network, to be spent in 2009-2011 through Cycling England's support for Stoke as a Cycling City.
The city currently has thirteen 'Community' schools, four 'Church' schools, and five 'Special' schools.
The Community schools are: Berry Hill High, Birches Head High, Blurton High, Brownhills High, Edensor Technology College, Haywood High, Holden Lane High, James Brindley High, Longton High, Mitchell High, Sandon High, Thistley Hough High and Trentham High.
A major re-structure of Stoke-on-Trent's High School system is currently under proposal. As part of these plans Longton High School is to close in 2010. Trentham High, Berry Hill High, and Mitchell Business and Enterprise College are also expected to close.
In terms of results, the city's top school is St. Joseph's College. In September 2007, the school was threatened with closure as part of the education re-shuffle. The school led a very high profile campaign and eventually (after speaking with Gordon Brown) the school was saved.
One of the legacies of, especially, the pottery industry was that Stoke had its own version of the Wakes week. Although more well known in industrial Lancashire, the Stoke week is known locally as the Potter's Holidays or Potter's Fortnight and occurred as the last week in June and the first week in July and then a further week in August. This gave what appears to be strange school holidays, with the summer term having a two-week break at the end of June, then children returning to school for three weeks before taking a five-week summer holiday. With the decreased emphasis on the traditional industries this oddity has disappeared from the local schools.
There are four higher education institutions in the local area. Stoke-on-Trent College is one of the largest colleges in the UK, and has two sites: one in Burslem (media & performing arts) and the main centre in Shelton. Another college is situated in Fenton- the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College, which shares its site with the Fenton Manor sports complex.
The city is also home to Staffordshire University (formerly North Staffordshire Polytechnic), with its main site in Shelton, near Stoke-on-Trent railway station. It gained its university status in 1992 as one of the post-1992 universities. Keele University Medical School uses facilities at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Hartshill. Keele University itself was founded as the University College of North Staffordshire in 1949 with major involvement by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Stoke-on-Trent is home to two professional football teams. The club bearing the area's name is Stoke City, who were formed in 1863 and are the second oldest professional football club in England. They currently play at the Britannia Stadium in Trentham, which has been their home since 1997 when they relocated from the Victoria Ground in Stoke. They were among the 12 founder members of the Football League in 1888, but did not win their first (and, to date, only) major trophy until 1972, when they lifted the Football League Cup. In 1985, they were relegated from the First Division and began a 23-year exile from the top flight of English football (including two short spells in the league's third tier) which did not end until they won promotion in 2008, by which time the First Division had become the Premier League. Arguably the club's most famous player of all time was Stanley Matthews, who is perhaps the best known sportsperson from the city. He played football for Stoke City and Blackpool where he played in what became known as the Matthews Final and managed Port Vale from 1965-1968. He was the first active footballer to receive a Knighthood. The "wizard of dribble", as he became known, made 54 appearances for his country, scoring 11 times. There are two statues of Matthews in the city; one in Hanley, and one at the Britannia Stadium.
The city's other professional football club are Port Vale, who were formed in 1876 and play at Vale Park in the Burslem area. They joined the Football League in 1892 but were forced to resign from it in 1907 due to financial problems, only to return in 1919. Their highest league position came in 1931 when they finished fifth in the Football League Second Division. Unlike Stoke City, their local rivals in the Potteries derby, they have never played top division football. They currently play in League Two (fourth tier). Individuals of note include: John Rudge (who managed the club for 16 years from 1983–1999), and Roy Sproson, (who made a record 837 appearances for the club from 1950 until 1972, and was later their manager).
In speedway, the Stoke Potters race in the Premier League whilst the Stoke Spitfires race in the BSPA Conference League. Speedway was staged at the Greyhound Stadium in Sun Street, Hanley intermittently between 1929 and 1939. In 1947 the Potters were part of the post war boom rising from Division Three of the National League to Division Two before closing in the early-1950s. The Potters were revived in 1960 and they raced in the Provincial League until the end of 1963 when the stadium was closed and the site redeveloped. Speedway was revived at Loomer Road in Newcastle-under-Lyme, initially as Chesterton, before it reverted to the Stoke name.
The city has a number of amateur sports clubs, including rugby union and cricket, the latter competing in the North Staffs and South Cheshire Cricket League. The cricket ground in Longton is one of the venues used by Staffordshire County Cricket Club
Stoke Spitfires was also the name of the city's American football team. The team eventually folded in 1992 after a record of 35-34-1. In 1994 the Staffordshire Surge was formed and played their matches in and around Stoke-On-Trent. Currently the team play at Stoke Rugby Club in Division 1 North of the British American Football League.
Phil Taylor is one of the most successful darts players in the early-21st century and is the current PDC and a former BDO World Champion. Other notable darts players from Stoke include Adrian Lewis, Andy Hamilton and Ted Hankey.
World champion squash player, Great Britain and England international Angela Smith- who was largely responsible for the ladies game going open was born in the city, she is regarded as one of the sports greats.
Other notable sports people from the area include Mark Bright, a former FA Premier League footballer, Garth Crooks another top-flight footballer, both of whom now have media careers with the BBC. Ross Pointon (UFC fighter), Andrew Foster (tennis), Dave Harold, Jamie Cope (both snooker) and Imran Sherwani (field hockey). Wicket-keeper Bob Taylor, who played for Derbyshire and England was born and still lives in the area. He represented England 58 times and still holds the world record for the most number of dismissals in the first class game (1649).
In golf, Trenthams' David Lynn (born 1973) is the KLM Open Champion 2004. David has been a member of European Tour since 1996 and he has been in Top 30 of European Tour Order of Merit twice in last three seasons.
The major art gallery is The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, located in Hanley. It contains a world-class collection of fine ceramics.
The city's main theatre is the 1603 capacity Regent Theatre, which is in Hanley. Nearby is the main concert hall, the Victoria Hall. The Victorian Kings Hall in Stoke town hall is used for smaller events. In Burslem the Queens Theatre has been refurbished and restored at private expense. The Stoke-on-Trent Repertory Theatre is based in a ten year old building in Stoke and puts on amateur productions. The City Council-run Mitchell Memorial Theatre in Hanley also shows amateur productions. And the independent volunteer-run art-house cinema, The Stoke-on-Trent Film Theatre, is located very near the railway station, and shows art-house and subtitled films.
The city's Cultural Quarter in Hanley contains the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, the Regent Theatre and the Victoria Hall. But there are also smaller elements, including the independent Dazed Gallery and the subsidised student-run gallery AirSpace. In Fenton the Artbay Gallery has a contemporary range of original works as well as limited editions. It's also the home of many of North Staffordshire's most renowned painters, including "The Potteries Lowry" aka Sid Kirkham, Vicky Mount, Dale Bowen, Kelvin Evans and Harry Davies. In Burslem the Edwardian School of Art has been refurbished with £1.2 million, and is now run without a public subsidy. The Hothouse Centre for Ceramic Design (25 units), and the Roslyn Works (16 crafts studios) operate in Longton.
Originally through the works of Arnold Bennett, described by some as the greatest realist writer of the 20th century, the 'Six Towns' were also sometimes known as the 'Five Towns'. In his novels Bennett wrote about local events in the 19th century consistently changed all proper names and associations, thus Hanley became Hanbridge and Burslem became Bursley. It is thought that Bennett chose to write about five towns, rather than six, because he refused to acknowledge Fenton as a proper town. The six towns weren't federated until 1910 but Fenton was still relatively new by that time, it was also the smallest in terms of population and area. As well as this Bennett changed the name of the towns' newspaper from the Sentinel to the Signal, an identity that was subsequently adopted by the city's commercial radio station.
Other notable contributors to the world of literature includes Elijah Fenton (poet), Peter Whelan (playwright), John Wain (poet, critic and scholar), Pauline Stainer (poet), Charles Tomlinson (poet, graphic artist, translator, editor and critic).
The city's main daily newspaper is The Sentinel, based in Etruria. Local radio stations are BBC Radio Stoke, the commercial Signal 1, Signal 2 along with a community radio station called Cross Rhythms City Radio, There is also a national radio station Max FM which broadcasts from Stoke on Trent. Television news is covered by Birmingham-based BBC Midlands Today, and ITV Central.
The city enjoys a considerable on-line presence. The 'Pits n Pots' website was launched in October 2008, as a site to discuss local news. These sites are in addition to the council, tourism board and local museum websites and those dedicated to different communities across the city.
Stoke has been the birthplace of many actors, including Hugh Dancy who has been in Black Hawk Down, Freddie Jones, Alan Lake (widower of Diana Dors), Adrian Rawlins, Hanley Stafford (American radio actor, born Alfred John Austin in Hanley), Jonathan Wilkes and Neil Morrissey, star of Men Behaving Badly.
Several nationally recognised TV presenters have been born in the area including Frank Bough who presented Nationwide & Breakfast Time, Anthea Turner from Blue Peter and Nick Hancock who chaired the comedy quiz show They Think It's All Over and was host on Room 101. Bruno Brookes the former BBC Radio 1 disc jockey who hosted the station's breakfast show also presented Top of the Pops. Peter Wyngarde as Jason King in "Flamingos only fly on Tuesdays" makes a quip about a "knicker salesman from Stoke-on-Trent". The cat in Dick and Dom in da Bungalow once sang a song about Stoke-on-Trent. Master illusionist Andrew Van Buren was born & is still based in the area, although he is more often found performing out of the country.
Stoke has a vibrant music scene. Local nightclub the Golden Torch became the centre of the Northern soul scene in the early-1970s. Shelley's Laserdome nightclub in Longton played a pivotal role in the house and rave scene of the late-1980s and early-1990s too, helping to launch the career of Sasha and featuring regular appearances from Carl Cox, until it was eventually shut down by Staffordshire Police. Hanley nightclub 'The Void' developed a sister relationship with Sankey's Soap in Manchester, helping the latter to revive its fortunes during the late-1990s through the promotion of club night 'Golden'.
Robbie Williams is perhaps the most famous pop star to hail from the city. Many of his songs refer to Stoke-on-Trent, either directly or indirectly. These include "It's Only Us" and "Burslem Normals" as well as the spoken introduction to his duet with Jonathan Wilkes of the song "Me and My Shadow", while the song "Angels" was partly inspired by the golden angel at Burslem Town Hall. Slash was born in Hampstead, but grew up in Stoke from an early age. Other notable individuals and groups from the area include Andy Moor who is a DJ and producer, Havergal Brian who composed 32 symphonies and five operas, Gertie Gitana (music hall star and singer), Lemmy, the founder of the rock band Motörhead, Patricia Leonard (singer/contralto), Jem Finer (banjoist, The Pogues) and Broken Bones, Discharge (punk band). Murdoc Niccals, a member of the fictional group Gorillaz with the role of bass guitarist is said, in his constructed biography, to have been born in Stoke-on-Trent. Indie rocker Stephen Malkmus mentions Stoke-on-Trent in "Pink India", released on his self-titled solo album, singing that the song's protagonist, Mortimer, is a "rook" in The Great Game, who "came from Stoke-on-Trent." Billy Bragg also mentions Stoke-on-Trent as one of the places that the character in his song "Rotting On Remand" is sent to.
In October, 2007, Stoke-on-Trent City Council introduced a new theme tune - "Moving Forwards Together". It was described by the council as "part of our drive to help us move the city forward and create a better Stoke-on-Trent for people to live, learn, work and enjoy".
In recent years the local music scene has had significant national exposure through The Soul of North Staffs or Sons Ltd., an independent record label based in Stoke-on-Trent. The company was formed in 2004 and consists solely of bands native to the North Staffordshire area. Having recently received national attention from Steve Lamacq and Huw Stephens (BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 1) as well as Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie (BBC Radio 2) Sond Ltd. has earned comparisons to Factory Records for its DIY ethic and its unique label sound.
There are three venues within the city that host regular touring bands, Victoria Hall, The Sugarmill and The Underground.
Two local culinary specialities are the much loved Potteries Oatcake (very different from the Scottish version and traditionally made in corner-shop style oatcake bakeries), whose fame has yet to travel far outside Staffordshire and neighbouring Derbyshire and Cheshire, and are as popular as ever although no longer the cheap alternative to bread. Oatcakes can be eaten cold or hot with any sweet or savoury fillings. Lobby, a stew not unlike Lancashire hotpot, is still made by local people.
Stoke Pride is the city's annual pride march that has been running for three years although the first officially running under that name was in 2008. It is a celebration of the LGBT community in the city and attracts visitors from elsewhere. There was first talks about such an event in 2003 but the idea was faced by opposition from local BNP and their local supporters. It was first set up by famous Stoke activist Simon 'North' Mitchell. The current format which is held in Hanley consists of a stage with live acts and music, stalls and info stands with local bars open for those who attend the event. The event is secure with police and the media from the BBC have also been present. The 2008 march attracted 3,500 participants and it was the confirmed that it would return in 2009. The event is supported by local businesses and local charities. Stoke Pride 2009 was held on 8 August at a different venue, Northwood Park with 2 live stages, a licensed bar and a number of stores.
The Potteries has a distinctive local dialect. Whilst it contains many non-standard words (for example "Nesh" meaning soft, tender, or to easily get cold, and "Slat" meaning to throw), the best known word is "duck" used as a greeting to either men or women. It is believed to be derived from the Saxon word ‘ducas’ used to indicate respect, which in Middle English became "duc" or "duk" which denotes a leader, which in turn, became the title Duke and the Old French word "ducheé" which indicates the territory ruled by a Duke.
Another common variation on the standard English dialect, is the use of the word "shug", as in short for sugar. This is usually used when closing a sentence as in "Ta Shug" (thank you sugar).
A local cartoon called May un Mar Lady, published in the The Sentinel newspaper, written in Potteries dialect, first appeared on 8 July 1986 and ran for over 20 years. Since the cartoonist Dave Follows' death in 2003 the full twenty-year run (7,000) of May un Mar Lady strips are being republished in The Sentinel, as May un Mar Lady Revisited, keeping the dialect alive for another twenty years.
Stoke-on-Trent is a city in England, approximately half-way between Birmingham and Manchester. It runs into the affluent town of Newcastle-under-Lyme, and the two places are essentially one large city.
Stoke-on-Trent lies on the A500 "D-road", just off the M6 motorway, and can be reached by travelling southbound from Manchester or northbound from Birmingham. It is approximately 45 miles from both of these cities. It can also be reached via the A34. Those seeking the city centre by road should look for signs to "Hanley", once they enter Stoke-on-Trent.
Stoke-on-Trent has a small but busy mainline railway station that has frequent inter-city services to most destinations in the United Kingdom. There are regular services from Manchester Piccadilly Station, which offers a connection to Manchester International Airport. There is a direct fast service from Stoke-on-Trent to the train station at Birmingham International Airport. Stoke-on-Trent can be reached from London through London Euston railway station, with services running every 30 minutes at peak times. Journey time to and from London is usually about 95 minutes on the fastest services. There is a large taxi rank at the rail station.
The majority of bus and coach routes into the city arrive at the decrepit Hanley Bus Station in the City Centre. National Express coach services serve Stoke-on-Trent from most cities in the United Kingdom. There are also services that serve Newcastle-Under-Lyme which is a fifteen minute bus ride from the City Centre, Hanley. The main bus operator in Stoke-on-Trent is First PMT who provide services through out North Staffordshire and South Cheshire.
In general, it's far more pleasant to travel to the city by rail.
Around 10,000 visitors arrive in the city annually by canal narrowboat, on the Trent and Mersey and Caldon Canal. There are free moorings at Trentham, Barlaston, Etruria/Lock 38, Longport, Westport Lake, and at the Harecastle Tunnel.
The city is on the National Cycle Route No.5., which runs through the city on off-road paths.
Stoke-on-Trent has an intricate public transport service and buses are usually easy to come by, although many stops are open to rain and wind. Hanley Bus Station is the main transport hub for buses in the city and virutally all areas of the city are reachable from here. There are tourist information offices located here and maps of required routes are published and easy to find.
The city has over 100 miles of excellent off-road bicycle paths, on old railway and mineral lines, and canal towpaths. A free map is available from the Tourist Office, who will also be able to advise on cycle hire.
Taxis are also widely available.
Stoke-on-Trent is historically renowned for its pottery industry (hence its nickname of The Potteries). Although the industry has suffered from cheap foreign imports and is now in decline, many of the major manufacturers of high-quality pottery still have headquarters in the area including Spode, Wedgwood and Royal Doulton. There are numerous factory shops dotted around the city, including the Potteries Shopping Centre, in Hanley.
Gladstone Pottery Museum is a popular tourist spot for all the family and features numerous activities including a chance to see the famous bottle kilns of the city. Also very popular is Burleigh, one of the last remaining fully working family-run Victorian potteries.
Trentham Gardens is a large public park area served by bus routes from the city centre (Hanley). There is a small admission charge, but various activities are available there such as a petting zoo and children's adventure playground. Depending on the weather it is also possible to rent boats and jet-ski's for fun on the expansive lakes and the natural beauty of the Gardens can be exquisite. "The Monkey Forest" with free-ranging Barbary macaques can also be found here but requires a separate admission fee (currently £5.50 for adults, £4.00 for children from 3 - 14 years, free for children under 3).
The City Museum and Art Gallery in Bethesda Street is well worth a visit, housing a world-class ceramics collection and also a preserved Spitfire, in memory of its designer, Reginald Mitchell, a native of Stoke.
Festival Park has a wealth of activities. There is a ski slope and toboggan run, ten-pin bowling, a large cinema, shopping, a canalside pub, Waterworld, a four-star hotel, and a large park created from the site of the National Garden Festival.
Stoke-on-Trent has a thriving gay community and the city centre features several bars and nightclubs aimed at the gay and lesbian individuals. The Three Tuns and the adjoining The Club are two of the most renowned gay venues in the city along with Bar Monique. They can be found east of Hanley Bus Station travelling towards Bucknall. Other bars and clubs include Pink Bar and Lounge, Number 3, Blush Cabaret Bar and to be opened in March 2008, The Waterboard.
There is a large purpose-built skateboarding park at Forest Park.
There are numerous theatres in the city. The Queens in Burslem, The Regent, Mitchell Memorial and Victoria Hall in Hanley, the New Vic in Basford, the rep at Stoke. The university campus (near Stoke railway station) has a public arts cinema that shows intelligent films.
Near to Stoke are the Keele Arboretum, Biddulph Grange Garden (The National Trust), Alton Towers (a giant theme park), and the Peak District National Park.Consall Hall landscaped gardens are nearby and in a beautiful setting.
The main shopping facilities are to be found in Hanley the City centre of Stoke-on-Trent. One would be able to find the usual high street stores and includes the second largest Primark in the United Kingdom. Shopping is not something that one would come to Stoke-on-Trent for, unless to visit the many pottery factory shops to buy ceramics. The city centre of Hanley offers nothing that cannot be found elsewhere, or cheaper online, however it still offers a wide range of stores which would fulfill the needs of any individual.
Most pottery factory shops will offer a postal delivery service, so that one does not have to carry fragile or heavy items onto a plane when returning home.
Stoke-on-Trent is renowned for a delicacy known as the Staffordshire Oatcake and many Oatcake shops can be found throughout the city. The oatcake resembles a pancake in look and is a mix of flour, oatmeal, salt, yeast and water. It is often served with melted cheese and a choice of either (or all!) sausage, bacon and tomatoes.
The pubs of Burslem are renowned, and The Leopard and The Bull's Head Inn are to be recommended as authentic English pubs.The Congress inn in the Longton area is a nice friendly real ale pub with a large choice of good beers as is The Malt n Hops in Fenton.
The George Hotel in Burslem is a fine hotel, and they have an interesting website too georgehotelstoke . co . uk The Stoke on Trent Moat House is a four-star hotel on Festival Park, part of which was originally the mansion of Josiah Wedgwood. The North Stafford Hotel is directly opposite the railway station, this hotel is adequate for sleeping arrangements only however the hotels restaurant is well known to give customers food poisoning. There is also a fine hotel, The George, in Burslem.
Stoke-on-Trent as a whole is a safe city. As with anywhere care must be taken especially at night, avoid walking alone especially in dark places. Pickpockets sometimes operate in the shopping areas of the city. The centres of Hanley and Newscastle-uder-Lyme are to be avoided late at night at weekends, due to the violent drunkeness seen in the streets. This is especially so if one looks somehow 'different'. The city has a high level of BNP support, and some visitors may encounter racial prejudice.
As with the rest of the UK, in any emergency call 999 or 112 (from a land-line if you can) and ask for Ambulance, Fire or Police when connected. It is free to call the Emergency Services from Payphones.
The locale of Stoke-on-Trent makes it ideal to visit other cities in the Midlands and North-West of England.
Birmingham can be reached on the M6 motorway heading southbound and takes roughly an hour to reach. There are hourly train services most of the day that cost about £12 return and in fifty minutes take one right into the heart of Birmingham (at New Street Station) with its Bull Ring Shopping Centre which features around 140 stores and is one of the largest shopping centres in Europe. Birmingham is home to Aston Villa Football Club, one of the oldest in England and one of the founders of the football league. Their stadium, Villa Park, lies on the outskirts of the city in Aston. They share a healthy rivalry with the more centrally located Birmingham City Football Club based at St. Andrews stadium.
Heading northbound on the M6 Motorway one can reach Manchester, the UK's third largest city (behind London and Birmingham) which is excellent for shopping and sightseeing. It also has one of the biggest gay and lesbian communities in the country. As with Birmingham, Manchester is roughly an hour away by car and cheap train fares are available which will take you right into the centre of the city. Old Trafford is the home of the world-renowned Manchester United Football Club and tours of the ground are available.
Liverpool is another location that is easily accessible from Stoke-on-Trent, being slightly north of Manchester and roughly a ninety minute journey by car. Cheap rail fares are available but often require a train change along the way and consequently can take up to two hours to reach. Liverpool is famous for its docklands, museums and being the home of The Beatles. It is also the home of the historic Liverpool Football Club.
The historic city of Nottingham lies to the east of Stoke-on-Trent and once again is easily accessible by car or train. Many coach operators run regular services to Nottingham taking around ninety minutes to two hours and details are available from the tourist information office at Hanley Bus Station. Nottingham is a city renowned for its beauty and medieval architecture and Robin Hood enthusiasts will find much to do there.
The county town of Stafford is a place to visit to sample traditional British life and culture. It is around twenty minutes from Stoke-on-Trent via car or train and bus services take around forty minutes from Hanley Bus Station. Stafford is known for its magnificent parks, architecture and its bustling yet traditional high street.
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STOKE-ON-TRENT, a market town and municipal and parliamentary borough of Staffordshire, England, on the upper Trent, in the heart of the Potteries district. Pop. (1901), 30,458. This was the population of the separate borough of Stoke-upon-Trent (area, 1882 acres) which existed until 1910. In 1908 arrangements were made whereby Stoke-upon-Trent, Burslem, Fenton, Hanley, Longton and Tunstall should be amalgamated as one borough, under the name of Stoke-onTrent, from the 31st of March 1910. The new corporation consists of a mayor, 26 aldermen and 78 councillors. Stoke is on the North Staffordshire railway, 146 m. north-west from London by the London & North-Western railway; and on the Grand Trunk (Trent and Mersey) Canal. The principal public buildings in the old town of Stoke are the town hall, with assembly rooms, law library and art gallery, the market hall, the Minton memorial building, containing a school of art and science; the free library and museum, and the North Staffordshire infirmary, founded in 1815 at Etruria, and removed to its present site in 1868. The head offices of the North Staffordshire Railway Company are here. Four large firms manufacturing every variety of art china and earthenware alone employ over 5000 hands. Coal-mining and iron and machine manufactures are also carried on. A statue commemorates Josiah Wedgwood, born at Burslem in 1730; but other famous names in the pottery trade are more intimately connected with Stoke. Thus Josiah Spode the second was born here in 1754, and had a great house at Penkhull, on the western outskirts of Stoke. He entered into partnership with the Copelands, who continued his business. Herbert Minton (1793-1858) was the founder of another of the large works. The parliamentary borough returns one member.
In the Domesday Survey of 1086 half the church of Stoke and lands in Stoca are said to have belonged to Robert of Stafford. Part of Stoke (Stoche or Stoca) at this time belonged to the Crown, since the royal estate of Penculla (now Penkhull) was included within its bounds. Frequent references to the parish church of Stoke are found during the 14th and 15th centuries. Contemporary writers from 1787 onwards describe Stoke as a market town, but the official evidence states that the market rights were not acquired until 1845. Since then the market days have been Saturday and Monday. Stoke-upon-Trent became the railway centre and head of the parliamentary borough of Stoke-upon-Trent, comprising the whole of the Staffordshire Potteries, which was created by the Reform Bill of 1832. In 1874 it was incorporated as a municipality. From 1833 to 1885 Stoke returned two members to parliament. From the early 17th century, if not earlier, porcelain and earthenware manufactories existed at Stoke-upon-Trent, but they remained unnoticed until in 1686 Dr Plot wrote his survey of Stafford- ' shire. In the middle of the 18th century there was a great industrial development in the Pottery district.
See John Ward, The Borough of Stoke-upon-Trent (London, 1843)
Stoke Poges >>
Stoke-on-Trent is sometimes known to be the home of the pottery industry in the United Kingdom and is commonly known as The Potteries.
Stoke upon Trent is a town inside the city.