China Town is one of the more flattering titles that Longton has attracted over the years, and it is a name that recognises the town's splendid reputation for ceramic production. Big businesses such as Bridgwood, Aynsley, Webberley, Wild and Tams all flourished; the pottery firing process was aided by the so-called 'long-flame coals' particular to the Longton collieries.Surviving photographs of yawning marlholes speak volumes about the town's industrial past - and yet Longton also lays claim to the establishment of the Potteries' first municipal park, in nearby Dresden. The Gladstone Pottery Museum has been hugely successful in interpreting Longton's rich history, and this book similarly celebrates numerous elements of the town's heyday.
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).