STOKE ON TRENT
Stoke-on-Trent is an amalgam of six towns formed into a city. It is located in Staffordshire, lies on the River Trent and is renowned worldwide for its pottery industry. The current population is 272,000.
The history of Stoke, prior to the emergence of The Potteries is limited. A church was thought to have been established in the area in about 670AD. The name of Stoke was probably Stoc which has several meanings. In this instance it possibly meant where the Roman Road crossed the river.
By the 17th Century, due to the abundance of coal (first recorded in the area in the 13th Century) and clay, the basic materials needed for making earthenware, the pottery industry started up.
The famous old names of Royal Doulton, Spode, Minton and Wedgwood came into being. The Trent and Mersey canal, with the first sod cut by Josiah Wedgwood, was started in 1776 to enable clay to be imported from Cornwall. At the same time Wedgwood built his famous Etruria Works. Spode introduced Bone China to Staffordshire in 1796.
The original villages in The Potteries began to expand, in their own right, to become reasonably sized towns and further industries were established such as steel, railway locomotives and later, tyres.
In the nineteenth century, writer Arnold Bennett, wrote stories about the towns that made up the Potteries, which were Stoke, Hanley, Burslem, Longton, Tunstall and Fenton. These were then combined into a County Borough in 1910, taking the name Stoke-on-Trent. In 1925, with the King, George V, visiting the town, it was announced that Stoke-on-Trent had been granted city status. Unusually, because the formation of the city is made up of various towns, it is the only polycentric city in the UK. Whilst the city offices are based in Stoke, the city centre is generally acknowledged to be Hanley.
Then in the late twentieth century, the city, like many other industrial cities, went into decline. Factories closed and well-known companies were taken over and production moved elsewhere. In 1986 the National Garden Festival was held in the heart of the city which kick started some regeneration.
The current century has seen service industries, distribution, retail and entertainment industries come to the fore. It is also home to Staffordshire University.
Things to Do:
Etruria Industrial Museum:
This is the home to the Jesse Shirley’s Bone and Flint Mill which was an important supplier to the pottery industry from about 1800 to 2010. It is an important transport junction of the Trent/Mersey and Caldon canals. The site also contains a working forge and it is located at the summit of the Trent and Mersey canal, the only staircase lock in Staffordshire.
To check out opening times, ticket prices etc. visit www.etruriamuseum.org.uk.
Located opposite the Civic Centre on Glebe Street, ST4 1LP,it is the city church of Stoke-on-Trent. Within the church is The Ceramics Trail because many of the famous people involved in the pottery industry are buried here. These include Josiah Wedgwood and Josiah Spode. If arriving by car you can park in the Kingsway Car Park or if by rail the Stoke mainline station is just a five minute walk away. Open for visitors Monday to Saturday plus Sunday for services. The church does have refreshments and accessible toilets.
World of Wedgwood/Ceramics Trail:
This museum is so important that it has UNESCO status. Located on Wedgwood Drive, Barlaston, Stoke, ST12 9ER, you can explore the Museum, have a Factory Tour, a Design Studios visit, experience pottery making, visit the Flagship Store and enjoy fine eating. The venue can be visited seven days a week, with a range of entrance fees, depending on what you wish to see and partake in. For full information and access information check out www.worldofwedgwood.com.
Alton Towers is the country’s leading theme park. It has many activities including Rides, Waterpark, and Extraordinary Golf etc. The park is located between the A50 and A52 roads to the east of the city and satnav is ST10 4DB. If visiting by bus is a necessity then they can be picked up in Hanley on a regular basis. Full details on opening hours, ticket prices etc. can be found at www.altontowers.com, or by email as web site, or by telephone on 0871 222 3330.
Nearby attractions include Runaway Mine Train and Forbidden Valley.
Potteries Museum and Art Gallery:
Located on Bethesda Street, ST1 3DW, in Hanley, this is a free entry museum. The museum contains over 5000 pieces of Staffordshire made ceramics and tells the story of the development of the Potteries. A Spitfire and part of the Staffordshire Hoard (Anglo Saxon artefacts) can also be seen. The art gallery includes pictures by Degas, Durer and Picasso.
There is a café and a gift shop. The museum is open every day.
An excellent family day out can be found at this Aqua Park, to be found at Festival Park, Hanley, ST1 5PU.There is a charge for car parking. Amongst the attractions are water slides, Ride the Nucleus (a water roller coaster), Lily Pads, Space Bowl, The Rapids and The Python. There is a family restaurant and is open until 6pm during the week and 5pm at weekends.
For full information go to www.waterworld.co.uk or phone 01782 205747 or email email@example.com.
Dudson Museum and Bottle Oven:
This museum presents 200 years of pottery making by the oldest surviving family business. As well as exploring the courtyard you can enter the inside of the Grade 2 listed bottle oven to view the collection of pottery. There is a café and shop on site. Located at Hope Street, Hanley, ST1 5DD. If arriving in Stoke by train then buses 21 and 23 connect to centre of Hanley. Contact can be made at 01782 285286 or firstname.lastname@example.org and www.dudson.com.
There is also a factory shop at Nile Street, Burslem, ST6 2BA.
This is an award winning visitor attraction. As well as beautiful gardens there are many varying things to see and do. Among them are Adventure Play, Maze, Miniature Railway,and Monkey Forest etc. There are eating places and a shopping village. Located at Stone Road, Trentham, ST4 8JG, there is ample car parking. Alternatively bus 21A runs from Hanley and Stoke Railway Station, or bus 10 from Stafford. For information contact www.trentham.co.uk or by phoning 01782 646646 or email email@example.com.
Gladstone Pottery Museum:
This is the last complete Victorian pottery factory in the country and has original workshops and bottle kilns. These kilns could once be seen in great numbers in their heyday but are a fairly rare sight now. You can watch pottery demonstrations or try your hand yourself at pot making. There is a shop and café with a good range of fare. Located on Uttoxeter Street, Longton, ST3 1PQ, there is an adjacent car park. It is a 10 minute walk from both Longton town centre and Longton Railway station. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday until 5pm. Entrance is £7.50 for adults and £5.25 for children, plus concessions. Full information can be found at website www.stokemuseums.org.uk./visit/gpm/
With a good dozen clubs to be found in Hanley, Etruria Road, Burslem, etc. a good night out can be found. These include current trends, disco and comedy venues. There is also a good range of bars and pubs spread throughout the five towns.
The Regent Theatre is a great night with everything from West End musicals, drama, comedy, ballet, opera etc. being presented. The art deco theatre is located at Piccadilly, ST1 1AP in Hanley. For full info phone 0844 871 7649 or check out www.atgtickets.com.
Victoria Hall is another major venue which produces such diverse programmes as Music, Concerts, Boxing, Wrestling and rock gigs. The building is Grade II listed and can be found at Bagnall Street, ST1 3AD. Contact is by phone at 0870 060 6649 or www.atgtickets.com.
Also check out the New Vic Theatre, Queen’s Theatre (Burslem) and Glee Comedy Club.
For film three venues are the Odeon in Etruria, the Forum in Hanley and the Film Theatre in College Road, Stoke.
Ten Pin Bowling can be found at Festival Park.
A range of cuisines are available in the city, including English, Italian and various Asian cuisines. There are also restaurants open to the general public in hotels and visitor attractions. Pubs and small cafes and takeaways also offer good fare. Staffordshire Oatcakes are a local delicacy and are most enjoyable hot with cheese and bacon fillings. These can be found in bakers, cafes and supermarkets.
Being formed from five towns, each of the towns have their own shopping centres of varying sizes, but in reality the main shopping is found in Hanley. There can be found the Intu mall which houses a range of national chains together with a major department store. There is also an indoor market and refreshment facilities. There are also factory outlet shops in the pottery visitor centres. A good range of budget fashion, art, homeware and health and beauty outletscan be found at the Trentham Shopping Village, to the south of the city.
A good range of hotels, guest houses, pubs and self-catering establishments can be found in the city area and surrounding countryside.
First Potteries buses run 28 services within the five towns, Newcastle-under-Lyme and surrounding areas. Many of these routes join the five towns together. Three bus stations, Hanley, Newcastle and Longton, operate as hubs.
Outside of the immediate area buses run to Crewe, Kidsgrove, Stafford and Keele Univerity. Full details for bus travel can be found at www.firstgroup.com/potteries.
Generally use the M6 when travelling from the north (then A500) or south (then A53). From the west use the A53 (Shrewsbury), A500 (Nantwich) or A525 (Whitchurch). From the east use A50/M1, A52 (Derby) or A53 (Leek).
Stoke Station, located in Winton Square, lies on the London Euston to Manchester line, run by Virgin Trains. There are also connections to Birmingham, Crewe and East Midlands. Timetable and routes can be found at
The nearest airport is Manchester which lies 37 miles to the north. Rail travel to the airport is via Manchester Piccadilly and takes just over the hour.
National Express number 538 serves Stoke (Hanley Bus Station)/Manchester Airport also.
Nearly twenty taxi firms operate in the Stoke-on-Trent area.
Stadium: Vale Park. Hamil Road. Burslem. Stoke-on-Trent. ST6 1AW.
Chairman: Norman Smurthwaite
Manager: Neil Aspin
Current League: League 2
Phone Number: 01782 655826
Formed in 1876 the club was named after the venue in which the inaugural meeting took place, Port Vale House. Moving to Burslem in 1884 the name was changed to Burslem Port Vale.
After playing in the Midland League for several seasons they were invited to be a founder member of Division 2 in 1892. However, life in the League was not easy for the club and they were voted out in 1896 but returned in 1898 after they knocked Sheffield United, of the top division, out of the FA Cup. Unfortunately, due to financial reasons they had to resign from the League in 1907. This was followed with a ground move and the prefix Burslem was dropped.
Then a piece of luck came Valiants way when Leeds City were expelled from the League in 1919 and Port Vale took their place.
In 1929 the club were relegated to Division Three North but bounced back in 1930. This saw them reach their highest ever League position, 5th in Division 2, in 1931.
1936 saw relegation again and Port Vale spent eighteen years in the third level. Unusually, they fluctuated between residing in Division 3 North or South, due to their geographical position in central England.
The Valiants moved to Vale Park in 1950 and in 1954 were promoted as Division 3 North champions and reached the FA Cup semi-final, being disposed of by West Bromwich Albion.
In 1957 after another relegation the club spent 32 years fluctuating between Division 3 and 4, with just a few FA Cup shock wins to excite the fans. They then regained Division 2 status in 1989 but relegation followed in 1992, which meant the end of Derbies with their fellow city club, Stoke City. Sadly, the club have not climbed into the second level again but in fact were relegated to League 2 at end of season 2016/17.
Away fans should check with their own club about buying tickets. There is no pay on the day facility.
The ticket office is open until 5pm Monday to Friday and 3.15pm on Saturday match days. The telephone number is 01782 655821 and web site is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, tickets can be bought via www.portvaletickets.com.
Routes 7. 7A. 7B and 7C connect Stoke-on-Trent bus station with Burslem town centre via Hanley Bus Station.
Routes 20. 20A. 21. 21A and 29 run between Hanley Bus Station and Burslem town centre.
Routes 98 and 98A run between Newcastle-under-Lyme bus station and Burslem town centre.
Take trains to Stoke-on-Trent station and then a bus to Burslem town centre. On arrival it is a short walk to Hamil Road.
Alternatively, if you take a train to Longport station it is a 25 minute walk to the stadium.
There is limited parking at Hamil Road car park (Zone C).
Trains or coach can be taken from Manchester Airport. Then a local bus or taxi to complete the journey.
taking a taxi from the railway stations, or various town centres which form Stoke-on-Trent, is an option worth considering.
The Valiants moved into Vale Park in 1950. At 520 feet it is the third highest ground in the Football League. Historically the record attendance is 49,768 v Aston Villa in an FA Cup tie. In January 1976, due to damage at the Victoria Ground, home of Stoke City, the club allowed their city rivals to play a match v Middlesbrough.
The main stand is the KLF Stand (Lorne Street) and contains executive boxes, press box and the Valiant suite. The GMB Union stand behind one of the goals is the family stand. The largest stand is the two tier BetBright which houses the vocal home fans. Finally is the Signal 1, which is used by away fans, and is found behind the other goal. Signal 1 has good acoustics but is fairly shallow and also holds the electronic scoreboard on its roof.
All the stands have kiosks selling usual stadium fare food and drinks.
Pubs for away fans can be found in the St. John’s Square area.
Stadium: bet365 Stadium. Stanley Matthews Way. Stoke-on-Trent. ST4 4EG
Chairman: Peter Coates
Manager: Gary Rowett
Current League: Championship
Phone Number: 01782 367598
Fans Forum: email@example.com
Although somewhat sketchy, history states that the club was formed in 1863 by apprentices at the North Staffordshire Railway, based in Stoke. They were known as Stoke Ramblers and starting playing matches in 1868. They played their matches at Victoria Cricket Ground until 1875, when they moved to Sweetings Field. In 1878 the club moved to the Victoria Ground where they resided for the next 119 years. Now known as Stoke the club entered the FA Cup in 1883/84 season and were invited to become founder members of the Football League in 1888, together with another eleven elite teams.
Their first season was inauspicious leaving the club bottom of the League. The next season started no better when the first match of the new season was a 0-10 thrashing by Preston North End. Later in the campaign, returning from a League match at Wolverhampton Wanderers, their train was involved in a crash. At the end of the season Stoke was not re-elected and were replaced by Sunderland.
They won the Midland Alliance League next season and were re-elected to Division One of the newly expanded League. They survived playing in the League up until the start of the 20th Century but storm clouds were gathering. Whilst reaching their joint best final League position of sixth in 1903, they were relegated in 1907, and then worst of all they lost their League status and went bust in 1908. Reforming the club they remained out of the League until post World War One and then rejoined the League.
In 1921 they got themselves back into the top level but a relegation followed in the next season followed by another, to Division 3 North in 1926, for one season only. 1928 saw the club change its name to Stoke City after Stoke-on-Trent had been granted city status in 1925 . In 1932, a young man, Stanley Matthews made his debut for the Potters and he turned out to be a lucky omen as they returned to top flight football the following year. The club improved both financially and on the pitch finishing fourth in 1936 and in April 1937 a record ground attendance of 51,373 was achieved when the Potters played the Gunners of Arsenal.
With WW2 stopping the progress in its tracks high hopes were had for post war Stoke City. This was not to be and heartache came when crush barriers at Bolton, where City were playing in a sixth round FA Cup tie, collapsed and 33 spectators died and over 500 were injured. In 1946/47 the Potters needed to win their final game of the season to take the League Championship, but defeat saw Liverpool take the title.
Sadly from this point of strength decline set in when City lost both key players and eventually a decline in attendance figures. In reality Stoke never threatened in the League but a few good skirmishes in cup competitions ended with the League Cup being lifted in 1972, after beating Chelsea 2-1. That, unfortunately, was the only major silverware to be won by Stoke City, even though some very good players passed through the team.
In the League, over the following seasons, the Potters were promoted and relegated between the top two divisions, until the beginning of the 1990s saw City fall to the third level, for the first time in 63 years, and finishing 15th, their lowest ever league position. Under new manager Lou Macari some pride was re- established and the club got back to the second tier. In 1997 City moved into their new ground, The Britannia Stadium. One more relegation to the third level arrived at the end of the century.
From this new low point things could only get better. And they did, with steady progress up the Leagues and eventually, the Promised Land, the Premiership, which they achieved in 2009. Stoke City have now established themselves in that League and have also seen an FA Cup Final appearance and Europa Cup matches.
At thend of season 2017/18 the club were relegated from the Premier League.
League Cup Winners:
Away fans should check with their own club about buying tickets.
The ticket office, based at the ground, is generally open until 5.30pm Monday to Friday and open Saturday/Sunday on match days only.
Online ticket sales are found at www.scfcdirect.com. If you prefer to book by phone ring 01782 367599.
There is also a club shop based in the Intu Mall in Hanley where tickets can also be purchased.
Route 20 runs from Stand N at Stoke Bus Station to the Britannia Stadium via Stoke Railway Station.
See above regarding rail travel to Stoke from other parts of the country. From the station it is a 40 minute, two mile walk from the station to the stadium. Alternatively take the number 20 bus (half hourly) as above, or hop on match day shuttle buses which run from Glebe Street, two minutes from the station, to the ground.
To enter the city by car, as above, head for Stoke, where you will find signs pointing to the stadium. To park at the stadium you should obtain a parking permit. For non-permit holders there is limited parking, on a first come basis, in the South Car Park, located on Stanley Matthews Way.
Air:- All as Air above and then take buses described above, or a taxi.
Access by taxi to the stadium can be made from throughout the five towns.
There is a network of cycle and walking tracks throughout the city many of which end up at or pass the Britannia Stadium.
Full travel details can be found on the official website www.stokecityfc.com.
The Britannia Stadium officially opened on 30th August 1997 after vacating the Victoria Ground, there home for nearly twelve decades previously.
It is an all seater, covered stadium of four stands. The Boothen End/Seddon Stand is L shaped and made up of two connected stands that stretch around the North and East sides. The Q-Railing Stand (West) is the main, two tiered stand and hosts the media and banqueting suite. Finally, the Marston’s Pedigree stand is segregated to house more home fans and the away fans.
The club offices, dressing rooms, board room and Club Superstore are located in the south west of the ground.
As well as football, music gigs, firework displays and other events are staged.
The current capacity, after expansion, is 30,089.
For away fans, because of the stadium construction, leaving two large gaps between stands, it can be fairly cold in mid-winter. The concourse sells usual football fare of pies, sausage rolls and pasties. Beer is also available. Also, to be found, on two popular barges, located on the canal behind the main stand, are local delicacies, oatcakes, and beer.
There a number of pubs, clubs and hotel near the ground who welcome away fans.