Learn more about Stoke-on-Trent
|City of Stoke-on-Trent|
|Status:||Unitary, City (1925)|
- Total (2005 est.)
2,550 / km²
|Image:SOT Coat Of Arms.jpg|
|Stoke-on-Trent City Council|
|Leadership:||Mayor & Council Manager|
|MPs:||Mark Fisher, Robert Flello, Joan Walley|
Stoke-on-Trent is a city in Staffordshire in the West Midlands region of England. The city is a federation of six older towns (Hanley, Stoke, Burslem, Tunstall, Longton and Fenton) forming a linear city almost twelve miles long with an area of 36 square miles.
Stoke-on-Trent is situated approximately half-way between Manchester and Birmingham and the city adjoins the town and borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme, which is administered separately. Together they form a conurbation with a population in excess of 360,000.
Unlike most English cities, Stoke-on-Trent's council is led by a directly-elected mayor; the first was Mike Wolfe (independent) then, from May 2005 to date, Mark Meredith (Labour Party)<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>. The city is the only one of the twelve English districts with elected mayors to use the mayor and council manager system rather than the mayor and cabinet system<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>.
 Administration and Politics
The Federation of the Six Towns brought together the county borough of Hanley, the municipal boroughs of Burslem, Longton, and Stoke, together with the urban districts of Tunstall and Fenton as a single county borough of Stoke-on-Trent on April 1, 1910<ref>A New County Borough. The Times, 21 March, 1910.</ref>. The combined borough took the name of town of Stoke - the main line railway station has been located there since 1848, and Stoke was also the original ancient parish, with other settlements being chapelries. The six towns run in a rough line: from north to south along the A50 - Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton.
An early proposal for the Federation took place in 1888 when an amendment was raised to the Local Government Bill which would have made the six towns districts within a county of 'Staffordshire Potteries'.
The borough proposed in 1919 to expand further and annex the neighbouring borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme and urban district of Wolstanton United, both to the west of Stoke: this met strong objections from Newcastle's Corporation and never took place.<ref>"Greater Potteries" Scheme : Extension of Stoke-on-Trent. The Times. April 25, 1919.</ref> A further attempt was made in 1930, with the promotion of the Stoke-on-Trent Extension Bill.<ref>Stoke-on-Trent Bill: Extension of the City. The Times. May 2, 1930</ref> Ultimately, Wolstanton was added to Newcastle-under-Lyme instead in 1932. Although attempts to take Newcastle, Wolstanton and Kidsgrove (north of Tunstall) were never successful, the town did however expand in 1922, taking in Smallthorne urban district, and parts of other parishes around the borough.
Although the city is named after the original town of Stoke, and the City Council offices are located there, conventionally the City Centre is regarded as being in Hanley, which town had earlier developed into a major Commercial Centre. The City's county borough status was abolished in 1974, and it became a non-metropolitan district of Staffordshire. Its status was restored as a unitary authority independent of Staffordshire county council on April 1, 1997.
On May 3, 2002 the people of Stoke-on-Trent voted in a referendum for a directly elected mayor, passing the motion 28,601 votes to 20,578, on a low turnout of 27.8%<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>. A subsequent election on October 17, 2002 elected Mike Wolfe, an independent, who narrowly beat Labour candidate George Stevenson by just 300 votes<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>.
Wolfe was ousted on May 5, 2005 by the Labour candidate Mark Meredith. The election was also notable because approximately 10% of the ballot papers were either spoiled or ineligible<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>. Meredith's election platform included a pledge to have another referendum on the post of elected mayor<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>. This is scheduled for May 2007.
Since the 17th century the area has been almost exclusively known for its industrial-scale pottery manufacturing, with such world renowned names as Royal Doulton, Spode, Wedgwood and Minton being born and based there. The presence locally of abundant supplies of coal and of suitable clay for earthenware production led to the early but at first limited development of the local pottery industry. The construction of the Trent and Mersey Canal enabled the inport of china clay from Cornwall together with other materials and facilitated the production of creamware and bone china.
However, many other production centres elsewhere in Britain, Europe and worldwide had a considerable lead in the production of high quality wares. It was largely the methodical and highly detailed research and a willingness to experiment carried out over many years, initially by one man, Josiah Wedgwood, and later by other local potters, scientists and engineers, together with the development of great artistic talent throughout the local community, that raised the Staffordshire Potteries to the internationally dominant position that they have held for many years.
Other industries have also occupied important roles in the development of the city both before and after federation. Notably the iron and steel making industry located in the valley at Goldendale and Shelton below the hill towns of Tunstall, Burslem and Hanley. The coal mining industry also developed greatly with new investment in mining projects within the City boundaries as recently as the 1960's and 1970's. From 1864 to 1927 Stoke housed the repair shops of the North Staffordshire Railway and was also the home from 1881 to 1930 of independent railway locomotive manufacturers Kerr Stuart & Co. Ltd.
North Staffordshire is a world centre for fine ceramics - a skilled design trade established in the area since at least the 12th century.
In the late 1980s & 1990s Stoke-on-Trent was hit hard by the general decline in the British manufacturing sector. Numerous factories, steelworks, mines, and potteries were closed, including the renowned Shelton Bar steelworks. This resulted in a sharp rise in unemployment in the 'high-skilled but low-paid' workforce. However, at Q2 2004 the unemployment rate had recovered to almost the same as in the wider West Midlands. The city's present employment levels are currently stable and likely to grow from 2004 to 2008, according to a detailed 2003 study by Experian Business Strategies. About 9,000 firms are based in the city.
KPMG's 'Competitive Alternatives 2004' report declared Stoke-on-Trent to be the most cost-effective place to set up a new UK business<ref>KPMG UK (2004-02-18). UK has lowest business costs in Europe according to KPMG study. Press release. Retrieved on 2006-09-10.</ref>. The city currently has the advantage of offering very affordable business property - while being surrounded by a belt of extremely affluent areas (The Peak District, Stone, South Cheshire, Newcastle-under-Lyme) and having excellent road links via the A500 and nearby M6 and rail links.
The city's housing market boomed in 2004 and 2005, with terraced houses rising at an average of £700 a week. From April to June 2005, an average Stoke-on-Trent terraced house rose in price at over £500 a week (source: H.M. Land Registry).
Around five million tourists visit Stoke each year, directly supporting around 4,400 jobs. Stoke-on-Trent shows its popularity through the number of repeat visits; around 80 percent of visitors have previously visited. Tourism to the city was kick-started by the National Garden Festival in 1986, and is now sustained by the many pottery factory-shops/tours and by the improved canal network.
A 2003/4 mapping study found 1,000 active creative businesses & artists based within a ten mile radius of the city. The survey did not include the thousands of ceramics companies.
This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Stoke-on-Trent at current basic prices with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling<ref>Template:Cite paper</ref>.
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added<ref>Components may not sum to totals due to rounding</ref>||Agriculture<ref>includes hunting and forestry</ref>||Industry<ref>includes energy and construction</ref>||Services<ref>includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured</ref>|
 Road network
Stoke-on-Trent is linked to the nearby M6 motorway at junctions 15 and 16 by the A500. Locally the A500 is known to as the D road because of the approximate shape of road, seen from above. The A50 cuts through the city, providing an important link to the M1 near Nottingham.
Improvements to the road network have led to a number of companies building distribution centres in the area<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>.
Stoke-on-Trent is a mainline station on the Stafford to Manchester Line, which is a branch of the West Coast Main Line and has an inter-city train service, currently with trains to London (about 90 minutes by train) and also to Manchester (40 minutes) every half-hour on weekdays. There are regular through trains to Stafford, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Birmingham International Airport, Coventry, Oxford, Reading and Bournemouth. Regional train services operate on the Crewe to Derby Line. Stoke-on-Trent railway station is managed by Virgin Trains and it has a first-class lounge and wi-fi service. There is are two station car parks (one small, one large), and a covered taxi rank. Virgin Pendolino train 390029 is named after Stoke-on-Trent.
 Air travel
Local Public Transport is almost exclusively by bus. Bus services are mainly operated by Potteries Motor Traction, now owned by First Group under the name First PMT. There are also several smaller companies operating bus services in the city. There are central bus stations in Hanley city centre and Longton town centre.
National Express operate long distance coach services from Hanley bus station.
The city is served by the Trent & Mersey Canal, which sees traffic of some 10,000 boats a year. Additionally, the Caldon Canal branches off from the Trent & Mersey canal at Etruria, within the city boundaries, going to Froghall, Staffordshire with one branch going to Leek.
There are 100-miles of new National Cycle Network off-road bicycle paths through the city, connecting the city to the national long-distance paths.
As well as the Six Towns, there are numerous suburbs within Stoke-on-Trent.
 Sites and attractions
The main shopping centre is Hanley; location of the Potteries Shopping Centre (housing many well known national retail outlets), many well-known high street shops and some unique specialist retailers. With the Peak District National Park just ten miles away, Hanley naturally boasts five outdoors clothing & equipment shops.
Nightlife has boomed in recent years, with Hanley becoming increasingly popular for its nightclubs, theatres, pubs, bars and restaurants. Nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme also has plenty of bars and pubs to offer to young people. There are also several theatres outside the city centre, and a long-established 'art-house' cinema in Shelton.
The city's rich past can best be explored through visiting one of its many museums & galleries; such as the Etruria Industrial Museum, the Elizabethan Ford Green Hall, the world-class ceramics collection at the main Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Gladstone Pottery Museum and the newly opened Ceramica in Burslem. Burleigh (pottery) in Middleport is not a formal museum, but is well worth visiting since it is the world's oldest working Victorian pottery. There are ambitious plans to open the huge Chatterley Whitfield colliery as a Mining Museum, since it has been given Ancient Monument status, ranking it in importance with Stonehenge.
In 2005 the city saw the results of a £100-million refurbishment of Trentham Gardens, the completion of 100-miles of new National Cycle Network off-road bicycle paths throughout the city, the installation of £1,000,000 worth of new public art, and numerous improvements to the extensive & popular canal system.
A few miles to the east of Stoke-on-Trent is the theme park Alton Towers and to the north-east the National Trust house and gardens at Biddulph Grange. Further east but within easy access of Stoke-on-Trent is the Peak District National Park. To the north of the city is the National Trust moated manor house Little Moreton Hall.
Stoke-on-Trent is home to two Football League teams, Stoke City F.C. (the Potters), whose ground is the Britannia Stadium, and Port Vale F.C. (the Valiants) who play at Vale Park, Burslem. Football fans may also like to visit the shrine to Sir Stanley Matthews in Stoke-upon-Trent churchyard.
 Amateur sport
- The city has a number of amateur rugby union clubs, including Longton, Trentham and Stoke RUFCs.
- Stoke Spitfires speedway team competes in the BSPA Conference League.
- Several local cricket clubs compete in the North Staffs and South Cheshire Cricket League.
- The ski race team (based at the ski slope in Festival Park, Hanley) compete in national Snowsport England and international FIS events.
 Universities and Colleges
There are three higher education institutions in the local area:
- Staffordshire University is in Stoke-on-Trent. It has its main site in Shelton near to Stoke-on-Trent railway station (the other, for computing, is in the town of Stafford, which is sixteen miles away). This was formerly North Staffordshire Polytechnic, gaining its university status in 1992 as one of the Post-1992 universities.
- Keele University (founded as the University College of North Staffordshire in 1949 with major involvement by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council) is five miles from the city-centre, in the borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme. Its newer medical school, uses facilities at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent.
- The MMU Cheshire Faculty of Manchester Metropolitan University is established on two campuses in the neighbouring County of Cheshire at Crewe and Alsager. This was formerly Crewe and Alsager College of Higher Education and, before that separate Teacher Training Colleges. They are fourteen and seven miles respectively from the city-centre.
Stoke-on-Trent College (this is an external link) is the largest college in England and has two sites; one in Burslem (media & performing arts) and the main centre in Shelton, just south of Hanley. The Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College is based in Fenton. Nearby Leek, Crewe, and Newcastle-under-Lyme all have excellent F.E. colleges. There is also a Workers' Educational Association residential college at Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent.
The city's main daily newspaper is The Sentinel, based in Etruria. Local radio stations are BBC Radio Stoke, the commercial Signal 1 and Signal 2 and Cross Rhythms City Radio (Community Radio). Television news is covered by Birmingham-based BBC Midlands Today, Manchester-based BBC Northwest, ITV Central and Granada television.
Two local culinary specialities are the much loved Potteries Oatcake (very different from the Scottish version and traditionally made in corner-shop style oatcake bakeries), whose fame has yet to travel far outside Staffordshire and neighbouring Derbyshire and Cheshire, and though no longer quite so popular lobby, a stew not unlike Lancashire hot pot, is still made by local people.
Originally through the works of Arnold Bennett, the city's greatest literary son, the 'Six Towns' were also sometimes known as the 'Five Towns'. In his novels Bennett consistently changed all proper names and associations, thus Hanley became Hanbridge, Burslem became Bursley and 'six towns' became 'five towns', which Bennett thought sounded better than six.
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 (see heraldic arms in the panel).
The local cultural identity has always been strong and there is a distinctive local spoken dialect, although its broadest use is now becoming confined only to older residents.
Stoke-on-Trent is twinned with:
 Famous people born in Stoke-on-Trent
These lists contain people who were verifiably born in Stoke-on-Trent and who have their own pre-existing entries in other parts of wikipedia.
- Hugh Dancy (actor)
- Freddie Jones (actor)
- Alan Lake (actor & widower of Diana Dors)
- Adrian Rawlins (actor)
- Jonathan Wilkes (actor)
- Arnold Machin (sculptor & artist, coin & stamp designer)
- Sidney Tushingham, A.R.E. (minor Victorian painter)
- Peter Coates (businessman)
- Thomas Whieldon (18th century master potter)
- Josiah Wedgwood (18th century potter & industrialist)
- John Madejski (businessman)
- Thomas and Herbert Minton (Stoke-upon-Trent potters, entrepreneurs and industrialists)
- Josiah Spode (18th c. potter and industrialist)
- John Caudwell (started Phones4U mobile phone business)
 Ceramic artists
- Clarice Cliff (ceramic painter and designer)
- Susie Cooper (ceramic artist)
- Lorna Bailey (ceramic artist)
- Charlotte Rhead (ceramic artist)
- Frederick Hurten Rhead (ceramic artist)
- Headrush (rock band)
- Havergal Brian (composer)
- Jem Finer (co-founder of The Pogues)
- Gertie Gitana (music hall star and singer)
- Lemmy Kilmister (rock singer and bassist)
- Patricia Leonard (singer/contralto)
- Robbie Williams (popstar)
- Frank Bough (TV presenter)
- Bruno Brookes (radio disk-jockey and Top of the Pops presenter)
- Garth Crooks (football pundit)
- Nick Hancock (TV presenter and comedian)
- Anthea Turner (TV presenter)
- John Baskeyfield (Second World War soldier and war hero)
- Squadron Leader George 'Ben' Bennions, DFC, (Battle of Britain, RAF, Spitfire pilot and teacher)
- David Sumberg (politician)
- William Astbury (physicist)
- Sir Oliver Lodge (wireless pioneer)
- Reginald Mitchell (designer of the Spitfire)
- Mark Bright (footballer)
- Garth Crooks (footballer)
- Andrew Foster (professional tennis player)
- Ted Hankey (world champion darts player)
- Dave Harold (professional snooker player)
- Sir Stanley Matthews (footballer)
- Imran Sherwani (field hockey player)
- Phil Taylor (world champion darts player)
- Jamie Cope (professional snooker player)
- Arnold Bennett (author)
- Elijah Fenton (poet, 1683-1730)
- Peter Whelan (playwright)
- John Wain (poet, critic and scholar)
- Pauline Stainer (poet)
- Charles Tomlinson (poet, graphic artist, translator, editor and critic)
 References in Popular Culture
- The cat in Dick and Dom in da Bungalow once sang a song about Stoke-on-Trent.
- Robbie Williams's song, "It's Only Us," mentions Stoke-on-Trent.
- Indie rocker Stephen Malkmus mentions Stoke-on-Trent in "Pink India," released on his self-titled solo album.
- Peter Wyngarde as Jason King in "Flamingoes only fly on Tuesdays" makes a quip about a "knicker salesman from Stoke-on-Trent".
 External links
- The Potteries
- Stoke-on-Trent City Council
- Creative Stoke
- Keele University
- Staffordshire University
- Local Information from The Sentinel newspaper
- Stoke-on-Trent Tourism
- Stoke-on-Trent College
- Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College
- Stoke-on-Trent Railway Station
- North Staffordshire Railway
- Stoke-on-Trent Museums
- Hanley Museum
- Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service
- St. Joseph's College
- St. Joseph's Preparatory School
|Ceremonial county of Staffordshire Image:Arms-staffs.jpg|
|Boroughs/Districts:||Cannock Chase • East Staffordshire • Lichfield • Newcastle-under-Lyme • South Staffordshire • Stafford • Staffordshire Moorlands • Tamworth|
|Cities/Towns:||Biddulph • Burntwood • Burton upon Trent • Cannock • Cheadle • Eccleshall • Hednesford • Kidsgrove • Leek • Lichfield • Newcastle-under-Lyme • Penkridge • Rugeley • Stafford • Stoke-on-Trent (Burslem • Fenton • Hanley • Longton • Stoke • Tunstall) • Stone • Tamworth • Uttoxeter|
See also: List of civil parishes in Staffordshire
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