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May 7, 2024

The City of Stoke-On-Trent


Stoke-on-Trent is an industrial city formed through the merger of six towns in 1910; Burslem, Fenton, Hanley, Longton and Tunstall being at its core. Commonly referred to as The Potteries due to their ceramic industry.

Football club Stoke City is based here, while actors Hugh Dancy from Black Hawk Down and Freddie Jones from Blue Peter, as well as comedy actor Paul Bown hail from Stoke.

The City of Five Towns

Stoke-on-Trent became an administrative unit in 1910 with the consolidation of Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Fenton and Longton into one administrative entity. Before that it had been comprised of various small market towns and hamlets; each developed unique identities over time that continue to thrive even today.

The area is steeped in local history, as evidenced by its architecture. Bottle ovens used in early pottery production can be seen alongside canal-side or railway-related mill, factory, or warehouse buildings that are part of its fabric. These structures grew due to water transport being readily accessible as were factories near local generations of skilled labour. Buildings suited for their industries included wide window walls from floor to ceiling providing enough daylight for intricate tasks such as lithography or fettling work.

Stoke-on-Trent has seen its manufacturing sector decline significantly over recent decades, leaving it as a predominantly service centre with high concentrations of retail and business services. Yet it remains a centre for ceramic production with strong sporting traditions including football legend Stanley Matthews and darts champion Phil Taylor among many others. However, this city still resides under its original title: ceramic production city! In 2011 however, an inaugural Sports Hall of Fame was dedicated in Stoke containing these names among others.

Education in Stoke-on-Trent is another strength, boasting two further and higher education colleges: City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College and Stoke-on-Trent College (formerly of Fenton). Furthermore, fifteen secondary schools exist: Abbey Hulton Academy, Birches Head Academy, Co-op Academy Stoke-on-Trent, Discovery Academy, Excel Academy Haywood Academy Ormiston Horizon Academy Sir Thomas Boughey Academy Stoke Studio College with campuses located both Longton and Burslem Thistley Hough Academy and St Peter’s CE High School.

The Potteries

Stoke-on-Trent, known worldwide as the ‘Capital of Ceramics,’ provides visitors with a host of factory tours and museums to discover. As the city has long been recognized as an epicenter of innovation, science, art, culture and entrepreneurship; today it remains an excellent location in which to start or expand businesses – KPMG recently ranked it the UK as the most cost-effective city to set up new enterprises!

Burslem, Hanley, Tunstall, Fenton, Longton and Stoke make up this polycentric city that was named by Arnold Bennett after each town he named (minus Fenton which wasn’t considered to be a town). It is comprised of six towns (and one village).

During the industrial revolution, Manchester gained national renown for its pottery production companies like Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton Burleigh Churchill Endka Spode and Emma Bridgewater. Though successful, however, their success wasn’t without challenges such as chemical exposure from production processes as well as exposure to bottle kiln fumes that once littered its landscape.

Not surprisingly, The Potteries boasts a vibrant heritage industry. Many former factories have now been converted into museums such as the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Hanley and Etruria Industrial Museum on Caldon Canal near Longton; in Stoke there is also Gladstone Pottery Museum which was previously located at an old potbank site; plus many specialist galleries and boutique shops offering ceramic products; whether an experienced potter or just curious to try your luck, The Potteries offer something for everyone!

The City of Actors

City life in Aberdeen is filled with energy as two universities add a vibrant student presence. Music venues like The Exchange and Waterfront thrive, while nearby bars and clubs form part of its music scene.

Stoke-on-Trent’s brand is well known around the world and the city has built an excellent track record in delivering great entertainment experiences to its inhabitants. Stoke-on-Trent City Council is currently working closely with Mike Lloyd OBE – awarded an OBE in 2022 New Year’s Honours for services to music and the arts – to review current music and entertainment venue provision within Stoke-on-Trent as well as to suggest improvements for its future development.

Stoke-on-Trent has many well-known faces in the media, such as Jenny Barker – known for her drive time show on Cross Rhythms City Radio during the eighties – and Sarah Millican (an actor best known for playing James Potter’s father in the Harry Potter films) who have also appeared on Silent Witness, Midsomer Murders and Chernobyl as well as Doctor Who movies.

Robbie Williams is an internationally acclaimed singer who hails from Stoke-on-Trent. After rising to prominence with Take That during the 90s and establishing an impressive solo career since, his Give It Sum charity has raised millions for local good causes – so much so that in 2014, Robbie was granted freedom of the city for his efforts! To date he has donated over PS5 Million in various community and sporting projects in Stoke.

The City of Hospitals

Many of the region’s hospitals can be found here, including Royal Stoke University Hospital operated by University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust and Staffordshire County Hospital. Furthermore, community healthcare services provided by Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust and Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust also thrive here.

The city’s primary shopping areas include Victoria Centre in Hanley and Stoke-on-Trent Central shopping mall, both offering supermarkets. Stoke-on-Trent also features several other leisure facilities such as Etruria Stadium and Stoke-on-Trent Aquatic Centre, two parks – Burslem Park which is one of the country’s largest registered Victorian parks and Longton Park with its lake.

Football is one of the city’s most beloved pastimes, and Stoke City FC, established in 1863, is its professional representative in English football league. Nicknamed The Potters by fans, their motto reads Vis Unita Fortior or United Strength Is Stronger.

Tunstall has long been associated with national celebrities, such as Frank Bough, who presented Nationwide and Breakfast Time; Anthea Turner who appeared on Blue Peter and Room 101; as well as being home of Primitive Methodism’s birth via Hugh Bourne at a public meeting held here in 1801.

Keele boasts three House of Commons constituencies and its city council manages all local government affairs. While in 2013 elections Keele was seen as being heavily leaning toward Labour, in the 2019 general election all seats in Keele were won by Conservatives instead. Keele University offers four Schools of Medicine, Nursing & Midwifery, Pharmacy and Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation within its campus in Keele.

The City of Music

Music is an integral part of Stoke-on-Trent’s culture and features heavily in its cultural scene, boasting several venues like The Sugarmill, The Underground and Backyard. 2021 marked the return of Your City Festival after 790 days away; opening up with four-piece led by Reygan Latham’s exceptional vocal talent; her slow and dreamy lyrics brought immediate comparisons with Jorja Smith and Ariana Grande.

Music can also be heard at the Regent Theatre in Hanley – a 1,603-seater theatre which hosts national opera, ballet and drama productions alongside West End musicals – while Newcastle-under-Lyme’s New Vic theatre has earned itself a reputation for innovative world class productions, while Mitchell Arts Centre and Staffordshire University offer various shows throughout the year.

City residents also take pride in hosting various professional and semi-professional sports teams, including the Potteries Premier League football club (formerly Stoke City). Established in 1878, it has spent much of its history competing in England’s top two divisions for most of its existence, drawing large crowds and providing opportunities for many high-profile players.

As well as sport, Etruria boasts an active leisure and entertainment scene, including theatres, live music venues, art galleries, parks, canals and museums – among them the famed Etruria Industrial Museum dedicated to ceramic manufacturing.

Stoke-on-Trent is also renowned for being an international center of business, hosting many global companies that call the UK home, such as Bet365 – founded by local entrepreneur Peter Coates – and mobile phone retailer Phones4U (founded by local resident Andrew Cooper). A 2004 KPMG report named Stoke as an economical place for new UK ventures to establish themselves.

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