Stoke-upon-Trent, described as a village in 1795, grew rapidly from the 1820s and 1830s, by which time a new Anglican church had been built as well as new streets. Noted in a trade directory of 1829 as having 'many handsome houses, wharves, warehouses and earthenware manufactories', it became famous for pottery manufactured by the likes of Spode, Copeland, Minton and Goss. However, Stoke is not just the story of ceramics. Other forces shaped the development of the town, including the North Staffordshire Railway Company, the Michelin Tyre Company and even Stoke City FC. Entertainment venues and public houses contributed conspicuously to community life and were part of a vibrant town that began to decline from the 1970s. As Stoke struggles to reassert itself, this book looks back at more prosperous times.
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 thirteen 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 seventeen Potteries Marathons.