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Stoke-on-Trent facts for kids

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City and Unitary authority
Stoke-on-Trent montage.jpg
Coat of arms of Stoke-on-Trent
Coat of arms
"Stoke", "The Potteries", "the city of six towns"
Vis Unita Fortior (united strength is stronger)
Stoke-on-Trent shown within Staffordshire and England
Stoke-on-Trent shown within Staffordshire and England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region West Midlands
Ceremonial county Staffordshire
Established as the County Borough of Stoke-on-Trent 31 March 1910
City status 5 June 1925
Unitary authority 1 April 1998
Administrative HQ Stoke-upon-Trent (Civic Centre)
 • Type Unitary authority
 • Body Stoke-on-Trent City Council
 • City 36.08 sq mi (93.45 km2)
 • Urban
40.1 sq mi (103.9 km2)
Area rank 228th
Highest elevation
700 ft (213 m)
Lowest elevation
350 ft (106 m)
 (2005 est.)
 • Rank [[List of English districts by population|]]
 • Urban
372,775 (19th)
 • Urban density 9,290/sq mi (3,588/km2)
 • Metro
678,000 (18th)
 • Ethnicity
88.7% White
7.4% Asian
1.4% Black
1.8% Mixed Race
0.7% Other
 • Religion
60.9% Christian
6.0% Muslim
1.5% Other
31.6% None/Not stated
Time zone UTC±0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
Postcode area
Dialling code 01782
ISO 3166 code GB-STE
GSS code E06000021
NUTS 3 code UKG23

Stoke-on-Trent ( often abbreviated to Stoke) is a city and unitary authority area in Staffordshire, England, with an area of 36 square miles (93 km2). Together with the neighbouring boroughs of Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands, it is part of North Staffordshire, which, in 2011, had a population of 469,000.

Stoke is polycentric, having been formed by a federation of six towns in the early 20th century. It took its name from Stoke-upon-Trent, where the town hall and the railway station are located. Hanley is the primary commercial centre. The four other towns are Burslem, Tunstall, Longton and Fenton.

Stoke-on-Trent is 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.


Toponymy and etymology

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 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 plausible. 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 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.


Longton - - 276431
Longton Town Hall.
See also: Federation of Stoke-on-Trent

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 into 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 "town of Stoke".

In 1919, the borough proposed 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 never took place, due to strong objections from Newcastle Corporation. A further attempt was made in 1930, with the promotion of the Stoke-on-Trent Extension Bill. Ultimately, Wolstanton was instead added to Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1932. Although attempts to take Newcastle, Wolstanton and Kidsgrove (north of Tunstall) were never successful, the borough did 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. When the county borough of Stoke-on-Trent initially applied for city status in 1925, citing its importance as the centre of the pottery industry, it was refused by the Home Office as it had fewer than 300,000 inhabitants. The decision was overturned, however, when a direct approach was made to King George V, who agreed that the borough ought to be a city. The public announcement of the elevation to city status was made by the King during a visit to Stoke on 4 June 1925.

The county borough was abolished in 1974, and Stoke became a non-metropolitan district of Staffordshire. Its status as a unitary authority was restored on 1 April 1997, although it remains part of the ceremonial county of Staffordshire. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region (code UKG23).



Since the 17th century, the area has been almost exclusively known for its industrial-scale pottery manufacturing. Companies such as Royal Doulton, Dudson Ltd, Spode (founded by Josiah Spode), Wedgwood (founded by Josiah Wedgwood), Minton (founded by Thomas Minton) and Baker & Co. (founded by William Baker) were established and based there. The local abundance of coal and clay suitable for earthenware production led to the early (initially limited) development of the local pottery industry. The construction of the Trent and Mersey Canal (completed in 1777) enabled the import of china clay from Cornwall together with other materials and facilitated the production of creamware and bone china.

Dudson Ware
Colorado Bouillons Regina and teapots, vitrified tableware by Dudson Brothers Ltd., as exhibited by artists in London's Pimlico Road, 2003

Other production centres in Britain, Europe and worldwide had a considerable lead in the production of high quality wares. Methodical and highly detailed research and experimentation, carried out over many years, nurtured the development of artistic talent throughout the local community and raised the profile of Staffordshire Potteries. This was spearheaded by one man, Josiah Wedgwood, who cut the first sod for the canal in 1766 and erected his Etruria Works that year. Wedgwood built upon the successes of earlier local potters such as his mentor Thomas Whieldon and along with scientists and engineers, raised the pottery business to a new level. Josiah Spode introduced bone china at Trent in 1796, and Thomas Minton opened his manufactory. With the industry came a large number of notable 20th-century ceramic artists including Clarice Cliff, Susie Cooper, Charlotte Rhead, Frederick Hurten Rhead and Jabez Vodrey.

Coal mining

North Staffordshire was a centre for coal mining. The first reports of coal mining in the area come from the 13th century. The Potteries Coalfield (part of the North Staffordshire Coalfield) covers 100 square miles (300 km2).

Striking coal miners in the Hanley and Longton area ignited the nationwide 1842 General Strike and its associated Pottery Riots.

When coal mining was nationalised in 1947, about 20,000 men worked in the industry in Stoke-on-Trent. Notable Collieries included Hanley Deep Pit, Trentham Superpit (formerly Hem Heath, Stafford and Florence Collieries), Fenton Glebe, Silverdale, Victoria, Mossfield, Parkhall, Norton, Chatterley Whitfield and Wolstanton. The industry developed greatly, and 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 at 3,197 ft. In 1933, Chatterley Whitfield Colliery became the first Colliery in the country to mine one million tons of coal. In the 1980s Florence Colliery in Longton repeatedly set regional and national production records; 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 Chatterly Whitfield site reopened as a museum two years after its closure in 1976. The museum closed in 1991 and the site became a local nature reserve. It was declared a scheduled monument by English Heritage in 1993. The abandoned subterranean mines are inaccessible, though they still add complications to many building projects and occasionally cause minor tremors, detectable only by specialised equipment.

The Phoenix Trust, an independent not-for-profit foundation, is campaigning to turn Stoke-on-Trent and the wider North Staffordshire Coalfield into a World Heritage Site due to its historic economic significance, its leading role in the industrial revolution, and as the birthplace of Primitive Methodism.


The iron and steel industries occupied important roles in the development of the city, both before and after federation. Especially notable were those mills 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—instead of producing crude steel, they concentrated on rolling steel billet which was transported from Scunthorpe by rail. The rolling plant finally closed in 2002. From 1864 to 1927 Stoke housed the repair shops of the North Staffordshire Railway and was the home of independent railway locomotive manufacturers Kerr Stuart & Co. Ltd. from 1881 to 1930.

Shelton Steel Works and 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, 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. In the 1980s nearly 9,000 workers were employed at the plant; in 2006 about 1,200 worked there.


Tunstall tower square
Tunstall Tower Square.

Stoke-on-Trent is situated about half-way between Manchester and Birmingham and adjoins the town and borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme, which is administered separately and is situated to the west. The city lies on the upper valley of the River Trent at the south west foothills of the Pennines, ranging from 106 to 213 metres (350 to 700 ft) above sea level. The city is considered to be the southernmost end of the Pennines, bounded by the lowlands of the Midlands to the south, including the Cheshire Plain lying west of Newcastle. The Peak District National Park lies directly to the east, and includes part of the Staffordshire Moorlands District, as well as parts of Derbyshire, Greater Manchester and West and South Yorkshire.

For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region (code UKG23) and is one of four counties or unitary districts that compose the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region.

Stoke-on-Trent is often known as "the city of five towns", because of the name given to it by local novelist Arnold Bennett and is the only polycentric city in the UK. 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").

As it is a city made up of multiple towns, the city forms 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, Ball Green, Baddeley Green, Bentilee, Birches Head, Blurton, Bucknall, Bradeley, Chell, Cliffe Vale, Cobridge, Dresden, Etruria, Fegg Hayes, Florence, Goldenhill, Hartshill, Heron Cross, Meir, Meir Park, Meir Hay, Middleport, Milton, Normacot, Norton le Moors, Packmoor, Penkhull, Sandyford, Shelton, Smallthorne, Sneyd Green, Trentham, Trent Vale and Weston Coyney. Blythe Bridge, although outside the city's boundaries, is part of the built up area.


Stoke-on-Trent, as with all of the United Kingdom, experiences a temperate maritime climate, lacking in weather extremes. The local area is relatively elevated due to its proximity to the Pennines, resulting in cooler temperatures year round compared to the nearby Cheshire Plain. However, on calm, clear nights this is often reversed as cold air drainage causes a temperature inversion to occur. As such, the Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle area are generally not susceptible to severe frosts. The nearest Met Office weather station is Keele University, about four miles west of the city centre.

The absolute high temperature is 32.9 °C (91.2 °F), recorded in August 1990, although more typically the average warmest day of the year should be 27.0 °C (80.6 °F). In total, just under fourteen days should report a temperature of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or above.

The absolute minimum temperature stands at −13.3 °C (8.1 °F), recorded during January 1963. In an average year, a total of 48.3 air frosts will be registered.

Rainfall averages around 806 mm a year.

Climate data for Stoke on Trent / Keele, elevation: 179m, (1981–2010) extremes (1960–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13.3
Average high °C (°F) 6.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 3.7
Average low °C (°F) 1.1
Record low °C (°F) -13.3
Precipitation mm (inches) 67.9
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 13.2 10.4 13.0 11.6 10.8 11.0 11.3 11.6 10.6 13.4 13.5 13.4 143.6
Sunshine hours 52.6 71.7 100.4 143.9 182.0 159.4 178.5 167.1 123.4 100.2 58.1 45.5 1,382.9
Source #1: KNMI
Source #2: Met Office


2011 United Kingdom Census
Country of birth Population
United Kingdom United Kingdom 228,294
Poland Poland 1,801
Germany Germany 693
Republic of Ireland Ireland 571
Italy Italy 324
Nigeria Nigeria 323
Turkey Turkey 257
Ghana Ghana 154
Kenya Kenya 150
Portugal Portugal 125
Lithuania Lithuania 122
Romania Romania 101
France France 91
Spain Spain 71

Based on the 2001 census, the total population of the city was 240,636 (2011 census, 249,008) 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. Regarding 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; 21.0% were 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. In 2011 the population had increased to 249,000. It is the first time that the city's population has grown since it peaked at 276,639 in 1931.

Points of interest

The city's ceramics collection is housed in the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Hanley. Etruria Industrial Museum on the Caldon Canal, and Gladstone Pottery Museum in a former potbank in Longton are dedicated to the city's industrial heritage. Ceramica in Burslem used to be an interactive ceramics museum, but it closed in 2011 due to council funding cuts.

Most of the major pottery companies based in Stoke-on-Trent have factory shops and visitor centres. The £10 million Wedgwood Museum visitor centre opened in the firm's factory in Barlaston in October 2008. The Dudson Centre in Hanley is a museum of the family ceramics business, which is partly housed in a Grade II listed bottle kiln. It is also a volunteer centre. Burleigh in Middleport is the world's oldest working Victorian pottery. There are also smaller factory shops, such as Royal Stafford in Burslem, Moorcroft in Cobridge and Emma Bridgewater in Hanley. In addition, there are ambitious plans to open the huge Chatterley Whitfield Colliery as a mining museum, since it has been given scheduled monument status.

The Elizabethan Ford Green Hall is a 17th-century farmhouse which is now a historic house museum in Smallthorne.

Many local people consider Trentham Gardens to be in Stoke-on-Trent but it is actually in the Borough of Stafford. It is just 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 (240,000 m2) enclosure that visitors can walk through.

The Alton Towers Resort is 10 miles (16 km) 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 a 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. Queens Park or Longton park in Dresden is one of the city's heritage parks and is famous for its horticulture and lakes. It houses several buildings including a clock tower and three bowling pavilions.


Hugh Bourne, founder of Primitive Methodism

Stoke-on-Trent does not have a cathedral, but the city's main, Church of England, civic church, is Stoke Minster. The city is within the Anglican Diocese of Lichfield The city is part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham and the immediate area has six Catholic parishes; they are dedicated to: the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady of the Angels, Saint George, Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Maria Goretti and Saint Teresa

Primitive Methodism was founded by Hugh Bourne, a native of Stoke-on-Trent, at a public gathering in the nearby village of Mow Cop. He originally followed the Wesleyan form of Methodism but in 1801 he reformed the Methodist service by conducting it outside. He founded the first chapel in Tunstall with his brother in 1811. He promoted Sunday schools as a method of improving children's education, advocated the equal treatment of women and men, and 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.

The city's first purpose-built mosque is due to be completed in 2012. The city's only synagogue closed in 2006, and was replaced with a smaller one in nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme. There are also two Sikh temples, one in Fenton and one in Stoke.


Major roads

A50, Longton - - 122110
A50 close to Longton.

Stoke-on-Trent is linked to the nearby M6 motorway at junctions 15 and 16 by the A500. Locally the A500 is known as the D road, as its loop between the two motorway junctions, along with the straight section of the M6 between the junctions, resembles the shape of a capital letter D. Coincidentally, the number 500 expressed in Roman numerals is D.

The A50 provides an east-west link between the M6 and the M1 motorway. The A50 joins up with A500 close to the bet365 Stadium. Improvements to the road network have led to the construction of product distribution centres in the area.


Stoke-on-Trent railway station, built 1848.

Stoke-on-Trent railway station is a mainline station on the Stafford-Manchester Line (part of the West Coast Main Line between Manchester and London) and the Crewe-Derby Line. Virgin Pendolino train 390029 is named after Stoke-on-Trent. The other railway stations in the city are Longport and Longton both on the Crewe-Derby Line. Etruria station was closed in September 2005.


Local public transport is provided almost exclusively by bus. Bus services are mainly operated by First Potteries. There are also several smaller companies operating bus services in the city, like D&G Bus. There are central bus stations in Hanley and Longton. National Express operate long distance coach services from Hanley Bus Station. As part of the city's regeneration, a new bus station has been constructed in Hanley, allowing the old one to be demolished, making room for further redevelopment. As of January 2015 there are no local authority supported bus services in the city.


Stoke on trent canals
Canal on New Leek Road.

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.


As of November 2009 there are 77 miles (124 km) of new National Cycle Network off-road bicycle paths through the city, connecting 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 £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.

Culture and arts

Burslem school of art
Burslem School of Art


Oliver Lodge (1851 – 1940) was a British physicist and writer involved in the development of, and holder of key patents for, radio. He was born in Penkhull. William Astbury (1898 - 1962) was an English physicist and molecular biologist who made pioneering X-ray diffraction studies of biological molecules. He was born in Longton.

Visual art

The major art gallery is The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, located in Hanley. It contains a collection of fine ceramics, a rotating programme of exhibitions and a permanent collection. In 2010, it became one of the permanent homes of the Staffordshire Hoard, the most important collection of Anglo-Saxon gold yet found.

The city's Cultural Quarter in Hanley contains the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, the Regent Theatre and the Victoria Hall. There are also smaller elements, including the independent Dazed Gallery and AirSpace, the city's only contemporary art gallery, artist-led and artist run. The Artbay Gallery in Fenton has a contemporary range of original works as well as limited editions. It is 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.

Edwardian School of Art in Burslem has been refurbished with £1.2 million, and is now run without a public subsidy. The Hothouse Centre for Ceramic Design, and the Roslyn Works complex of craft studios operate in Longton. Also based in Burslem is the Barewall Gallery, which has a large collection of work by local artists including original art by Arthur Berry (The Lowry of The Potteries), Jack Simcock, and by new emerging Potteries artists.

Stoke-on-Trent is the birthplace of several artists including Arthur Berry (also a novelist, playwright & poet), Glenys Barton (sculptor), Arnold Machin (sculptor, coin & stamp designer) and Sidney Tushingham, A.R.E.

Public art

Golden Sculpture Stoke on Trent
The Golden sculpture in March 2017.

The outskirts of Tunstall will became home to a new public art statue called Golden in 2015. The 69 ft (21m) steel work of art by Wolfgang Buttress was privately funded with £180,000 Section 106 monies and will be made from COR-TEN Steel, the same material as the Angel of the North. The tapered lozenge design features powerful LED lights that will illuminate 1,500 glass prisms containing the written wishes or memories of local residents. Each prism will be suspended from the main body of the sculpture by a short arm, giving the artwork a bristly appearance. It will be located on the current site of the Potteries Pyramid, which will be moved to a nearby roundabout.

In October 2013 a sculpture commemorating the efforts of miners to rebuild the Czech village of Lidice devastated during the Second World War was unveiled. The 6.8 metres (22 ft) high steel sculpture cost £100,000 to build and features 3,000 tags bearing the initials of people who promise to share the story of the 1942 Lidice Shall Live movement. North Staffordshire-based Dashyline was commissioned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to create the artwork, which has been installed near Hanley bus station.


The city's main theatre is the 1,603-person capacity Regent Theatre, which is in Hanley. Nearby is the main concert hall, the Victoria Hall. The purpose-built theatre in the round New Vic Theatre is just outside the city's boundary in Newcastle-under-Lyme. 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 Stoke and puts on amateur productions. The previously city council-run Mitchell Arts Centre, based in Hanley, completed its £4.3m refurbishment in 2011 and is now known as the Mitchell Arts Centre. It is named in honour of one of the city's most famous sons, Reginald Mitchell, designer of the legendary World War II fighter plane, the Spitfire.


On 17 December 2015 a new 9 screen Cineworld Cinema opened in Hanley. It is situated at The Hive which is an extension to the Intu Potteries shopping centre. There is an Odeon multiplex cinema on Festival Park. 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, as well as films that have finished their run in larger cinemas.


Arnold Bennett - Project Gutenberg etext 13635
Arnold Bennett, raised in Hanley.

Through the works of Arnold Bennett, described by some as the greatest realist writer of the 20th century, the "Six Towns" were sometimes known as the "Five Towns". In his novels, Bennett wrote about local events in the 19th century and 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" were not federated until 1910 when Fenton was still relatively new; it was also the smallest in terms of population and area. Bennett also changed the name of the local newspaper from The Sentinel to The Signal, an identity that was subsequently adopted by the city's commercial radio station.

Other notable contributors to literature include Elijah Fenton (poet), Peter Whelan (playwright), John Wain (poet, critic and scholar), Pauline Stainer (poet) and Charles Tomlinson (poet, graphic artist, translator, editor and critic).

In Jorge Luis Borges' novel "The Garden of Forking Paths", Dr. Yu Tsun goes to a suburb of Fenton to meet Stephen Albert.

Young Poet Laureate

Since 2010, the council's library service has run a competition to appoint a Young Poet Laureate for the city. This is a competition for local poets aged between 11 and 19. The first winner was Daniel Tatton, and he was succeeded in 2011 by Bethanie Hardie.


The city's main daily newspaper is The Sentinel, based in Hanley. BBC Radio Stoke was launched in 1968, the third BBC local radio station to begin broadcasting. Local commercial radio stations include the Signal 1 and Signal 2 along with a Christian community radio station called Cross Rhythms City Radio. Max FM broadcast nationally from Stoke-on-Trent. Community Radio station 6 Towns Radio is based in Burslem, having been formed in 2010. The United Christian Broadcasters UK headquarters and broadcasting centre for national TV and radio programming is also based in Stoke-on-Trent, with sites in Hanchurch and Hanley.

Television news is covered by Birmingham-based BBC Midlands Today, and ITV Central and also in certain parts of the city by Manchester-based BBC North West Tonight and ITV's Granada. Stoke-on-Trent is to be part in the second wave of UK cities after 2012 to get its own local TV Station. Startup costs will be shared with the BBC but the station is expected to pay its own way with advertising.

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. Tunstall and Burslem are served by the MyTunstall website. The wider potteries area is served by The Potteries website, which includes a number of articles and historical materials. These sites are in addition to the council, tourism board, local museum websites and those dedicated to different communities across the city.

Famous entertainers

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. Hollyoaks actress Rachel Shenton is also from the area. Paul Bown Comedy actor was born in Fenton.

Several nationally recognised TV presenters have been born in the area including Frank Bough, who presented Nationwide and 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, hosted the station's breakfast show and presented Top of the Pops. Master illusionist Andrew Van Buren was born in the area and is still based there, although he is more often found performing out of the country. Vocalist Carl De Marco was born in the area, and also studied at Stoke-on-Trent City Performing Arts College Burslem.


Stoke has a vibrant music scene. The Golden Torch, a local nightclub, 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, helping launch the career of Sasha and featuring regular appearances from Carl Cox, until it was eventually shut down by Staffordshire Police. The Void, a Hanley nightclub, developed a sister relationship with Sankey's Soap in Manchester, helping the latter to revive its fortunes during the late 1990s via the promotion of a club night called Golden.

There are three venues in the city that host regular touring bands: Victoria Hall, The Sugarmill and The Underground.

Lemmy, born in Burslem

Robbie Williams is 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", "Burslem Normals", "The 80's" and the spoken introduction to his duet with Jonathan Wilkes of the song "Me and My Shadow". The song "Angels" was partly inspired by the golden angel at Burslem Town Hall. In 2015, three streets in a new housing estate in Middleport were named after Williams' hit songs: Supreme Street, Candy Lane and Angels Way.

Slash, the lead guitarist for Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver was born in Hampstead, but his father was originally from the Potteries, and he spent a few of his early childhood years in Stoke before moving to Los Angeles. He did not meet the British side of his family until 1992 when Guns N' Roses played Wembley Stadium. Slash has recalled in interviews and his autobiography that his Stoke relatives drank all of the band's considerable rider: "I witnessed one of my uncles, my cousin, and my grandfather, on his very first trip to London from Stoke, down every drop of liquor in our dressing room. Consumed in full, our booze rider in those days would have killed anyone but us."

Lonnie Cook is a rock 'n' roll guitarist and local celebrity who played with Screaming Lord Sutch in the 1970s. He is remembered in the area for his Radio Stoke show Sunday Best, and for standing as a Monster Raving Loony Party candidate. In 2010 he started getting airplay on a New York radio station for his 1994 song "Knock Me Down, Pick Me Up". This led to the song being released for mp3 download in the USA and the UK.

Other notable individuals and groups from the area include Andy Moor who is a DJ and producer, Gertie Gitana (music hall star and singer), Lemmy, the founder of the rock band Motörhead, Patricia Leonard (singer/contralto), Jem Finer (banjoist, The Pogues), Broken Bones and Discharge (punk band). Post-hardcore band Spy Versus Spy came from Stoke-on-Trent. Experimental musician Phil Todd, best known for his Ashtray Navigations project, grew up in Madeley. Other bands to hail from the city include: This Is Seb Clarke (soul-punk), Agent Blue (alternative rock), Epilogue (prog rock), All the Young, The Title (indie) and indie-soul band Tommy Turbo & The Turbervilles.

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".

Murdoc Niccals, a fictional member of the group Gorillaz with the role of bass guitarist is (in his constructed biography) said 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.

Peter Wyngarde, as the title character of Jason King, makes a quip about a "knicker salesman from Stoke-on-Trent" in the episode "Flamingos only fly on Tuesdays". The cat in Dick and Dom in da Bungalow once sang a song about Stoke-on-Trent. Albert Steptoe, as the father in Steptoe and Son referred to relatives from "Stoke-on-Trent".

Havergal Brian (1876 - 1972), the classical composer and music writer, who composed 32 symphonies and five operas, was born in Stoke (in Dresden). The large scale and unfashionable style of his compositions led to them being neglected for most of his lifetime and not a note of his music was commercially issued on record during his lifetime. He died without having heard many of his finest works.


Potteries Oatcake.

Staffordshire oatcakes (very different from the Scottish version and traditionally made in corner-shop style oatcake bakeries) are a much-loved local culinary speciality. They remain popular although are 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

Stoke Pride is the city's annual pride march that has been running since 2005, although it was not officially called Stoke Pride until 2008. It is a celebration of the city's LGBT community and attracts visitors from many different areas across the country and the globe. There were talks about such an event in 2003, but the idea was faced by opposition from the local BNP councillors and their supporters. Originally held in Hanley, the event has been held at Northwood Park since 2009. The events official website is


The Potteries has a distinctive local dialect. Whilst it contains many non-standard words (e.g. nesh meaning "soft, tender, or to easily get cold"; and slat meaning "to throw"), the best known word is duck, which is used as a greeting to either men or women. It is believed to be derived from the Saxon word ducas, used to indicate respect; in Middle English this became duc or duk, which denotes a leader; in turn, it became the title Duke and the Old French word duché, which indicates the territory ruled by a Duke.

Another common variation on the standard English dialect is the use of the word shug for sugar. This is usually used as a term of endearment when closing a sentence, as in "Ta Shug" (thank you, sugar).

A local cartoon called May un Mar Lady (Me and my Wife), published in the newspaper The Sentinel and written in Potteries dialect, first appeared on 8 July 1986 and ran for over 20 years. Since the death of cartoonist Dave Follows 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.

Alan Povey's Owd Grandad Piggott stories which have aired on BBC Radio Stoke for a number of years are recited in the Potteries dialect by the author.

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