Stoke-on-Trent - Potworks of the week

contents: 2010 photos

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Smokeless Kilns of Longton - c.1960's


Silent pottery kilns of Longton after the introduction of the clean air act of 1956
Silent pottery kilns of Longton after the introduction of the clean air act of 1956

"Probably the most notable and certainly the most obvious change which has come about in the city since the war has been the almost sensational disappearance of smoke. This was a black legacy of a dark, if industrious past. In every direction, the skyline of the city undulated with bottle kilns, the stokehold of the potteries, which, at regular intervals, would blanket the streets with a pall of sulphurous black smoke. If it happened to be snowing, it would come down as black snow; if the stoker happened to be heavy-handed, there would be an all-penetrating fall of black soot. And with typical British stoicism, we made a music hall joke about it and sent postcards all over the world with such captions as "When Stoke smokes."

But it was no joke to the housewife trying to dry her washing; it wasn't funny to people who suffered from bronchial complaints; and it was of never-ending concern to those responsible for hygiene and cleanliness.

Between the years 1956 and 1960 a major drive was made to end, once and for all, the bad old legacy of smoke pollution. The Clean Air Act and the development of the continuous pottery kiln fired by gas or electricity between them combined to lay the smoke bogey and by 1958 more smoke was coming from domestic fires in the city than from pottery factories. And with the creation of smokeless zones this source of pollution will soon be a thing of the past and the city's smoke abatement officer -Stoke-on-Trent was one of the first authorities in the country to make such a full-time appointment— will probably have worked himself out of a job." - April 1974

From: Stoke-on-Trent county Borough Council 1910-1974



enlargement of one section of the photo
the 100's of kilns stretch to the distant horizon
shops, offices, houses - all nestle alongside the pottery factories and bottle kilns

When Potters Pot in the Potteries, Stoke-on-Trent

Anchor Road / Amison Street, Longton


more on Longton


contents: 2010 photos