Hanley has been the dominant Potteries town since the early nineteenth century. From being 'a humble collection of dwellings' in the early eighteenth century, it grew into a recognisable town and ultimately emerged as the Potteries metropolis and the city centre that we know today. From 1801 it was the largest of the six towns, and it was politically dominant too. It was in Hanley that the meeting that many regard as being the first step towards federation took place in 1817. Hanley might perhaps be considered the cultural centre of the potteries towns too, with many cultural amenities here, from the Pottery Subscription Library to the modern day Potteries Museum. With its grand Victoria Hall, Hanley Park and a diverse shopping centre, Hanley continues to be one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods in Stoke-on-Trent. Here we take a look at the evolution of the town through fascinating photographs spanning the last 100 years.
Mervyn Edwards is the author of many published books on North Staffordshire history and is a weekly columnist for the Sentinel's The Way We Were nostalgia magazine. He has appeared on BBC TV's The One Show and Twenty Four Hours in the Past, and is a familiar voice on Radio Stoke. He was a local history tutor for the Workers' Educational Association for eight years and helped to develop the education department at the now-defunct Chatterley Whitfield Mining Museum, where he often acted in period drama for school groups. Mervyn runs an annual history programme in North Staffordshire. He is also MC of Burslem History Club and a member of the Potteries branch of the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA).