|Area: 93.45 kmē|
Stoke-on-Trent is a city in Staffordshire in the West Midlands region of England. The city is a federation of six older towns (Hanley, Stoke, Burslem, Tunstall, Longton and Fenton) forming a linear city almost twelve miles long with an area of 36 square miles.
Stoke-on-Trent is situated approximately half-way between Manchester and Birmingham and the city adjoins the town and borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme, which is administered separately. Together they form a conurbation with a population in excess of 360,000.
Unlike most English cities, Stoke-on-Trent's council is led by a directly-elected mayor; the first was Mike Wolfe (independent) then, from May 2005 to date, Mark Meredith (Labour Party). The city is the only one of the twelve English districts with elected mayors to use the mayor and council manager system rather than the mayor and cabinet system
The Federation of the Six Towns brought together the county borough of Hanley, the municipal boroughs of Burslem, Longton, and Stoke, together with the urban districts of Tunstall and Fenton as a single county borough of Stoke-on-Trent on April 1, 1910. The combined borough took the name of town of Stoke - the main line railway station has been located there since 1848, and Stoke was also the original ancient parish, with other settlements being chapelries. The six towns run in a rough line: from north to south along the A50 - Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton.
An early proposal for the Federation took place in 1888 when an amendment was raised to the Local Government Bill which would have made the six towns districts within a county of 'Staffordshire Potteries'.
The borough proposed in 1919 to expand further and annex the neighbouring borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme and urban district of Wolstanton United, both to the west of Stoke: this met strong objections from Newcastle's Corporation and never took place. A further attempt was made in 1930, with the promotion of the Stoke-on-Trent Extension Bill. Ultimately, Wolstanton was added to Newcastle-under-Lyme instead in 1932. Although attempts to take Newcastle, Wolstanton and Kidsgrove (north of Tunstall) were never successful, the town did however expand in 1922, taking in Smallthorne urban district, and parts of other parishes around the borough.
The borough was officially granted city status in 1925 with a Lord Mayor from 1928.
Originally through the works of Arnold Bennett, the city's greatest literary son, the 'Six Towns' were also sometimes known as the 'Five Towns'. In his novels Bennett consistently changed all proper names and associations, thus Hanley became Hanbridge, Burslem became Bursley and 'six towns' became 'five towns', which Bennett thought sounded better than six.
The motto of Stoke-on-Trent is Vis Unita Fortior which can be translated as: United Strength is Stronger, or Strength United is the More Powerful or A United Force is Stronger (see heraldic arms in the panel).
Although the city is named after the original town of Stoke, and the City Council offices are located there, conventionally the City Centre is regarded as being in Hanley, which town had earlier developed into a major Commercial Centre. The City's county borough status was abolished in 1974, and it became a non-metropolitan district of Staffordshire. Its status was restored as a unitary authority independent of Staffordshire county council on April 1, 1997.
Since the 17th century the area has been almost exclusively known for its industrial-scale pottery manufacturing, with such world renowned names as Royal Doulton, Spode, Wedgwood and Minton being born and based there. The presence locally of abundant supplies of coal and of suitable clay for earthenware production led to the early but at first limited development of the local pottery industry. The construction of the Trent and Mersey Canal enabled the inport of china clay from Cornwall together with other materials and facilitated the production of creamware and bone china.
However, many other production centres elsewhere in Britain, Europe and worldwide had a considerable lead in the production of high quality wares. It was largely the methodical and highly detailed research and a willingness to experiment carried out over many years, initially by one man, Josiah Wedgwood, and later by other local potters, scientists and engineers, together with the development of great artistic talent throughout the local community, that raised the Staffordshire Potteries to the internationally dominant position that they have held for many years.
Other industries have also occupied important roles in the development of the city both before and after federation. Notably the iron and steel making industry located in the valley at Goldendale and Shelton below the hill towns of Tunstall, Burslem and Hanley. The coal mining industry also developed greatly with new investment in mining projects within the City boundaries as recently as the 1960's and 1970's. From 1864 to 1927 Stoke housed the repair shops of the North Staffordshire Railway and was also the home from 1881 to 1930 of independent railway locomotive manufacturers Kerr Stuart & Co. Ltd.
Two local culinary specialities are the much loved Potteries Oatcake (very different from the Scottish version and traditionally made in corner-shop style oatcake bakeries), whose fame has yet to travel far outside Staffordshire and neighbouring Derbyshire and Cheshire, and though no longer quite so popular lobby, a stew not unlike Lancashire hot pot, is still made by local people.
The local cultural identity has always been strong and there is a distinctive local spoken dialect, although its broadest use is now becoming confined only to older residents.
Stoke-on-Trent is twinned with Erlangen in Germany.