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 was born in Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1961 and became a Green Badge (Heart of England) tourist guide in 1989. He worked at the now-defunct Chatterley Whitfield Mining Museum for four years, becoming Assistant Education Officer, and later becoming a local history tutor for the Workers' Educational Association and Project Officer for the Burslem Heritage Centre. He is a regular contributor to The Way We Were (published by the Staffordshire Sentinel newspaper) and has published nine books on North Staffordshire history prior to this one. Mervyn is a familiar voice on BBC Radio Stoke, Spokesman for the Potteries Pub Preservation Group and a leading member of Burslem History Club. He is also a successful artist and cartoonist and has completed 17 Potteries Marathons.
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