Thursday, July 1, 2010

Stoke-on-Trent, England

We're a nice bunch really!!!

As many of you know, I grew up in Stoke-on-Trent - slap bang in the middle of England. Also called "The Potteries", which since the 17th century has been known for its industrial-scale pottery manufacturing, with such world renowned names as Royal Doulton, Dudson, Spode, Wedgwood and Minton. The once abundant supplies of coal and 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.

Spode teacup

Trent & Mersey canal

Great to see that Middleport Pottery Banks are being restored finally!

Stoke-on-Trent has six main towns: Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Longton and Fenton, all have the feel of smoky industrial-ness although local councils are now cleaning up the disused pot-banks and coal mines and replacing them with with retail parks!! Interestingly, through the works of Arnold Bennett (also from Stoke) 'Six Towns' was sometimes known as the 'Five Towns'. In his novels Bennett wrote about local events in the 19th century and consistently changed all proper names - e.g., Hanley became Hanbridge, 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.

Approach to Stoke railway station, 1975
(I remember this so well as you always went
by train to Durham to see my Grand-parents)

Longport kiln

Burslem factory gates

If you are ever passing through Stoke - try one of our local delicacies: the much loved Potteries Oatcakes (traditionally filled with bacon and cheese and grilled). Oatcakes can be bought any day of the week now but when I was little we had to wait until Saturday morning to buy them from local corner stores. The recipe has never been revealed either!


When I go back to visit it always makes me smile when I see friends and they call me "duck" or "shug". Duck is used as a greeting to either men or women and is believed to be derived from the Saxon word ‘ducas’ used to indicate respect. Shug or sugar is usually used when closing a sentence as in "Ta Shug" (thank you sugar).

A Victorian folly on the outskirts of town (Mow Cop)

Farmer's land


  1. Loved the write up of Stoke, in fact I'm going to grate some cheese for my some oaties right now after seeing the mouth watering picture.

    I've got a question for you about one of the pictures. In the Stoke Station photo, is that Unity house in the background? It seems really close by, and now that its been knocked down it's hard to check.

    If your every after a little slice of home, have a butchers at

  2. Mmm just looking at those gorgeous oatcakes makes you want to lick your lips. I was introduced to them by Valerie herself!

    Must say too that Stoke station looks quite a bit different these days too.

  3. Beautiful pictures of Stoke on Trent! I was there a few years ago but I can't remember to have seen the factory!
    Nice pottery!! And I have always loved the Wedgewood too!

  4. thats hanley station, now demolished not stoke station , the white building on the extreme left is the grand hotel, and thats why unity house looks so close, it is close. the factory chimney is masons ironstone pottery, also now gone, tescos currently on that site.