Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire 

 all about Stoke-on-Trent in 5 minutes...

Stoke-on-Trent the world's largest and most famous pottery producing city....

    Quick facts & figures

The Potteries
'The large and commercially important, as well as thickly populated, district known as the 'Staffordshire Potteries', or simply 'the Potteries', comprises a number of towns, and places adjoining them. The main towns or districts are: Burslem, Cobridge, Etruria, Fenton, Hanley, Lane End, Longton, Stoke and Tunstall. 

The city now named Stoke-on-Trent was officially born on the 31st March 1910, with the Federation of the Six Towns of the North Staffordshire Potteries 

Federation brought together the boroughs of Hanley, Burslem, Longton and Stoke-upon-Trent, together with the districts of Tunstall and Fenton into a County Borough of Stoke-on-Trent. It became a city (by Roayl Charter) in 1925. 

Stoke-upon-Trent was chosen as the seat of civic power (it was the ecclesiastical centre - having had a church from the Norman times), despite the fact that the towns of Hanley, and indeed Burslem, had been far better established since Edwardian times. The legacy of this union lives on undiminished, as locals will refer to 'the Potteries', meaning the various towns, rather than the official title of 'Stoke-on-Trent'.

Tourism is very strong in Stoke-on-Trent & the surrounding area:

Large recent developments include the Potteries Shopping Centre in Hanley, and the entertainment complex, Festival Park. 

The Art Deco Regent Theatre in Hanley is one of a number of local theatres, 

The Wedgwood Story and museum is a £4.5 million interactive tour located at the Wedgwood pottery factory in Barlaston. 

The theme park Alton Towers is easily accessible from Stoke, while the Peak District National Park and the Staffordshire Moorlands are a short drive from the city.

Visit Stoke - tourist information centre

The Potteries Shopping Centre

Alton Towers


TRIP ADVISOR - Things to do in Stoke-on-Trent


Visiting the pottery factories:
The larger factories have visitor centres and factory shops.


Visiting the museums:
The world famous Potteries Museum in Hanley is well worth a visit and the Gladstone Pottery centre is a restored Victorian pottery in Longton. There is also Etruria Industrial Museum and Ford Green Hall a 17th C house and period garden.

The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery

Gladstone Pottery Museum

Ford Green Hall

Etruria Industrial Museum



Stoke-on-Trent is located in the north of the County of Staffordshire, England, U.K.

Map showing the county of Staffordshire within England 


Map showing the city of Stoke-on-Trent within the county of Staffordshire


Map showing the six main pottery towns within the city of Stoke-on-Trent

click the town 
for more information



Short history of Stoke-on-Trent:
The city’s history is intimately bound up with that of the ceramics industry; the Stoke-on-Trent area is, in fact, generally known as the Staffordshire Potteries, or just the Potteries. 

The production of pottery dates back to at least the 17th century, and was founded on the area’s abundant supplies of clay; of salt and lead for glazing; and of coal, used to fire the kilns. By the time Josiah Wedgwood set up business for himself in 1759, the area was supplying a wide variety of earthenware and stoneware produced in and around the villages of the area. 
Pottery production was also in the process of changing from a cottage-based to a factory-based industry, a transformation that placed the Potteries at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. 

In 1769 Wedgwood himself built one of Britain’s first large factories, in Etruria, the village he established on the outskirts of Burslem, his birthplace. 

Wedgwood Factories

His work, and that of other famous 18th-century Staffordshire potters, such as Joseph Spode I, Thomas Minton, the Wood family, and Thomas Whieldon, helped make the area synonymous with ceramics. This position was confirmed when, in around 1800, Spode’s son, Josiah Spode II, developed a fine bone china (porcelain containing bone ash) that was cheap to produce and eminently marketable. His success ensured the Potteries domination in subsequent porcelain production. 

The industry’s growth was also aided by the opening, in 1777, of the Grand Trunk Canal (now the Trent and Mersey Canal), which provided an outlet to the ports at Hull and Liverpool in order to transport raw materials into the city and for the export of the finished ware.

Bottle Kilns

Nothing set the Potteries sky-line apart more than the weird bottle shaped brick buildings that looked for all the world like they had been borrowed from a fairytale scene.

Experts calculate that in the heyday there were up to 4,000 bottle kilns with as many as 2,000 still standing in the 1950's. The Clean Air Act sounded the death-knell for the smoky, coal fired oven. There are 46 still standing today - most are listed buildings.

Growth of the city:

By the 19th century the villages of the Potteries had grown into sizeable towns, of which Burslem was the largest. 

Calls for them to be amalgamated into one administrative unit began as early as 1817. Administrative rationalization began in 1857, when the towns of Hanley and Shelton were combined into the borough of Hanley. In 1865 Longton and Long End became the borough of Longton; and in 1874 the towns of Stoke, Penkhull, and Boothen were brought together as the borough of Stoke-upon-Trent (generally known as Stoke). Two other towns, Fenton and Tunstall, gained urban district status in the 1890s. 

In 1910 the rationalization process was completed when Burslem, Hanley, Longton, Stoke, Fenton, and Tunstall were brought together to form the county borough of Stoke-on-Trent, the largest such amalgamation ever to occur in Britain. 

In 1925 Stoke-on-Trent gained city status.


Stoke-on-Trent is still the centre of the British ceramic industry, and is the largest clayware producer in the world, other local industries include chemical works, rubber works and tyre manufacturing (Mitchelin Tyre Co.), engineering works, textile processing, and electronics. 

The site of an old colliery and other reclaimed land was planted and developed as the Central Forest Park. 

Stoke-on-Trent was the site of the first National Garden Festival in 1985; the site was subsequently developed into the Festival Park, a business area where some 3,000 jobs have been created.

Major pottery manufacturers include:

The Wedgwood Group (Wedgwood, Johnson Brothers, Coalport, Mason's Ironstone, Meakin)

The Royal Doulton Company (Royal Doulton, Beswick, Minton, Royal Albert)




Johnson Tiles


The Potteries are particularly associated with the literary work of Arnold Bennett (born in Hanley, 1867), notably through his "Five Towns" novels which give an insite into the everyday lives of Potteries folk. 

Other notable people associated with Stoke-on-Trent include Captain E. J. Smith, the captain of the Titanic, who went down with his ship. 

Reginald Mitchell, the designer of the World War II fighter plane, the Spitfire; 

The footballer Sir Stanley Matthews, who began his career in the 1930s playing for Stoke City. 

Sir Oliver Lodge invented the spark plug. 

Robbie Williams the pop singer. 

Local Government:

Stoke-on-Trent a city and unitary authority in the west-central of England, for geographical purposes forming part of the county of Staffordshire, and located on the River Trent in the north-west of the county, near the border with Cheshire. 

Until April 1, 1997, Stoke-on-Trent was also administratively part of Staffordshire, with local government responsibilities divided between the county council and the city council. On that date, it was administratively separated from the rest of the county, becoming a unitary authority. Under the new arrangement, Stoke-on-Trent city council is responsible for all local government services, including those previously provided by the county council.

However, the city remains part of Staffordshire geographically, and for ceremonial and related purposes.

In the 2011 census the population of Stoke-on-Trent was 270,726

Stoke-on-Trent Council web site

Quick facts & figures

  [ Questions / Comments / Contributions ? email: Steven Birks ]