Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire 



Bogey Dean 

The most beautiful orange glowing sky you have ever seen,
Created by Shelton bars mysterious bogey dean.

Bogey dean was Shelton Bar's answer to the bogey man,
Who could light up the night skies with his Furnaces Tan.

Summer night’s tents pitched by the side of the marl hole at back of Blurton,
Sitting by your campfire waiting for Shelton bars magic sky to appear of that we were all certain.

When you were young it felt like the brightest ever sky;
Lit up by the Shelton bars furnaces of molten metal, give us a sunset that never seemed to die.

There might be nicer towns and cities than stoke, which boast of a prettier sight,
But we were the only place in Britain with sunset nearly every night.

Glowing night skies silhouetted by chimneys, church steeples and gas towers,
This was Stoke on Trent in the 60s, a bit murky and not much to look at but it were all ours.

© John Leneghan   05/01/2010

"The poem is about a character called bogey dean - a local bogey man who lit up the Stoke skies at night from Shelton Bar's furnaces.

A lot of people have never heard of bogey dean but I as a child seem to remember his name being mentioned a few times and also recently I saw an article about Shelton bar in the Advertiser paper, Nov 19th 2009, and they mentioned how kids were frightened of the mysterious bogey dean, it also mentions that Shelton bar stretched from Cobridge to Etruria and while under the private ownership of John Summers, at its peak it employed a workforce of 10,000 men.

The main works closed in 1978 just leaving a rolling mill, now alas I think it has all gone completely there is nothing left of it, it's quiet sad really. 

A lot of people in Stoke on Trent who used to work there still believe that if it had stayed as a private company under the ownership of John Summers and not been nationalised it would probably still been going in some shape or form even to this day, but that we will never know."

John Lenegham



a bellowing skyline of curves of smoke

Countless bottle necked chimneys with curves of smoke
The first thing you’d see when you arrived in stoke

Dark and dirty old days of fogs and smog’s
Just another industrial city, just another one of industries cogs

Stoke-on-Trent in those days all seemed so black and white
And certainly not a pretty sight

Your future mapped out, from leaving school to the pot bank you were bound
To bake pottery from bottle necked chimneys with their fat bellies tall and round

The only touch of colour in those darkest of days was stoke city in their red and white stripes
As flat capped men went to watch the match on their battered old wobbly bikes

Centuries of tradition and skills all gone, who would have thought they would ever disappear
Up through the bottle necks, up through the skies, gone forever into the atmosphere

So now the pot banks are mostly gone but not forgotten and the ode place is looking clean
And only on the odd occasion can you even tell where those old fat
Chimneys have ever been

 A bellowing skyline of curves of smoke
That was us that was Stoke


© John Leneghan   22/10/09


The illustrations are from Sid Kirkham's painting
This and other artists can be found exhibiting at theartbay gallery in Christchurch Street, Fenton.


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