Stoke - one of the Six Towns of Stoke-on-Trent
Tunstall Burslem  Hanley  Stoke-upon-Trent Fenton  Longton



"Edwin and Janet stood together on the windy and bleak down-platform of Knype Station, awaiting the express, which had been signalled. Edwin was undoubtedly very nervous and constrained, and it seemed to him that Janet's demeanour lacked naturalness. Then the train appeared, obscure round the curve, and bore down formidable and dark upon them, growing at every instant in stature and in noise until it deafened and seemed to fill the station; and the platform was suddenly in an uproar."

 Arnold Bennett
| Arnold Bennett's Stoke

Trent Potteries (later Crescent Potteries), Stoke-upon-Trent - build c.1865
Trent Potteries (later Crescent Potteries), Stoke-upon-Trent - build c.1865
photos: c.1957

This was the works of George Jones & Sons

Stoke is known for the development of the famous Potteries loop line, the railway system which once linked the six towns with outlying communities, Stoke City Football Club and famous pottery manufacturer, Spode which stood in the centre of the town since 1770.

The town is currently the administrative centre of the city although moves are being made to return the civic centre to Hanley.

Charles Dickens once described Stoke as "a picturesque heap of houses, kilns, smoke, wharfs, canals and river lying as was most appropriate, in a basin."

The town of Stoke has the full name of 'Stoke-upon-Trent' as against the name of the City (comprising the Six Towns) which is 'Stoke-on-Trent'. This leads to much confusion for visitors who sometimes think that the extent of the City is the small town of Stoke. (The main centre is in fact nearby Hanley).

Although Hanley is the main shopping centre the town of Stoke has dominated in name by virtue of its ecclesiastical supremacy as the controlling parish of the area. 

The valley setting of Stoke gave it the early advantage of canal transport and later the main railway station to serve the area.

"STOKE-UPON-TRENT, as its name implies, is pleasantly situated upon that river, in an extensive and populous parish, to which it gives name, about one mile and a half east of Newcastle, upon the sides of the Grand Trunk canal. The town contains many handsome houses, wharfs, warehouses and earthenware manufactories, and is deemed the parish town of the potteries. 
The whole parish of Stoke, by the returns for 1821, contained 29,223 inhabitants; and the parish, exclusive of its several extensive dependencies, 3,969 of that number."
1828 journal

"In 1874, Stoke-on-Trent, whose parish includes nearly the whole of the pottery district, was made a municipal borough by Royal Charter, and is now governed by a Corporation consisting of the Mayor, six Aldermen, and eighteen councilors."
1893 journal

Dates in the history of Stoke

1719 - Thomas Whieldon born in Penkhull in September.

1749 - Josiah Spode I was apprenticed to Thomas Whieldon, for whom he worked until at least 1754.

1775 - Josiah Spode II traded in London as a dealer in earthenware, glass and porcelain. In this year he married Elizabeth Barker and had two sons (including Josiah Spode III) and three daughters.

1802 - Josiah Spode II installs a steam engine at his works.

1803 - Josiah Spode II built The Mount, Penkhull for his home.

1810 - Josiah Spode II built houses for his factory workers, these included Penkhull Square, Ten Row, Nine Row and some in Penkhull New Road.

1834 - Work begins on Stoke Town Hall in Glebe Street (not completed until 1850) - designed by Henry Ward.

1845 - The North Staffordshire Railway Company ('The Knotty') was constituted.

1846- 'The Knotty's' first trains ran from a temporary station at Whieldon Grove to Norton Bridge near Stone.

1874 - Stoke created a borough.

1911 - The King's Hall was built onto the back of Stoke Town Hall.

1927 - The French Michelin Tyre Company chooses Stoke as the site of its first British factory.

Dates in the history of Stoke-on-Trent

Facts about Stoke from old journals

The Corporation has done much to improve the district under its control, and few towns in the kingdom of its size contain so many wide and well-paved streets and handsome public buildings as Stoke-on-Trent. The town is admirably lighted by gas, from works the property of the Corporation; while there is also a copious supply of excellent water by a private company.

What was properly called Stoke, until about 70 years ago, [1780] consisted of only five houses, but the name is now applied to the town, situate at a short distance to the west, under the lofty hill on which stands the large village of Penkhull, which appears to be one of the oldest seats of the earthenware manufacture, for it had three brown ware potteries in 1600. 

Here are several of the largest porcelain and earthenware manufacturies in the Potteries, and a commodious range of warehouses and wharfs on the Trent & Mersey Canal. 
Here also are the head offices and station of the North Staffordshire Railway


"Walks" and articles on Stoke
and the surrounding area

Stoke Road, Howard Place & Snow Hill - 'This road well travelled deserves a second look'.

Winton Square - the best face of the Potteries.

A photo walk across Stoke Fields to Winton's Wood - the parish of St. Simon and St. Jude (Hanley), the area around Staffordshire University. Winton's Wood and Poxon's field.
Trent Vale, probably the most important place in Stoke-on-Trent - From its boundary with the City General Hospital the geography of Trent Vale is shaped like a triangle with Springfields and Penkhull in the north falling to the Trent Valley through Boothen and Oakhill.
Stoke-upon-Trent, is as it was, motionless - Historically Stoke was an important stockade and an inland port as far as the currents of the River Trent could reach, and its physical outlook really does have more going for it than any of the other five towns that make up Stoke-on-Trent. So why does Stoke have such a hard time with its identity?
Penkhull: Josiah Spode & the Mount Estate - A look at The Mount - home and estate created by Josiah Spode II (1754-1827), master potter, of Stoke and also to examine the relationship between the estate and the village of Penkhull.
Hartshill - 99% of us will visit. There was a time when it was essential to have a bit of class to live in Hartshill. But to be buried there you really had to mind your place.
Colin Minton Campbell & Hartshill Cemetery - The Municipal cemetery reflects Victorian society class divisions. The cemetery is divided into 4 classes for different denominations.

Stoke to Newcastle Canal :-
The Newcastle-under-Lyme to Stoke canal was a 4 mile level canal from the Trent & Mersey Canal at Stoke to Newcastle-under-Lyme.
It was authorised by an Act of 1795 and completed in about 1800, part closed in 1921 and abandoned in 1935 - subsequently filled in.
It was very little used, except by Spode, Minton and Wolfe whose pottery works were adjacent to it's Stoke terminal. As a dividend earner, it was a disastrous failure.


Famous potters located in the town have been the Royal Doulton Minton Works and Biltons, the frontage of Minton-Hollins tile works still stands and is used as offices by a communications company. 

Portmeirion still manufacture - occupying the Falcon works where Goss china was made, part of the original factory and bottle kilns still stand. 

Spode china was produced on the same site in the centre of the town from 1770 to 2009 when the works were closed and the name and pattern book purchased by Portmeirion.  

List of potters who were located in Stoke

Stoke from W. Yates' A Map of the County of Stafford, 1775
from W. Yates'
A Map of the County of Stafford,
- click for bigger map -

maps on Stoke


Stoke Town Hall
Stoke has had two Town Halls 
on Stoke's Town Halls

Bottle Kilns:

Kilns at Portmeirion
There are 3 bottle kilns left in Stoke.

Arnold Bennett
Arnold Bennett called the town "Knype"
on Bennett

on Stoke's arms

Trade gazetteer entries on Stoke 

Stoke-on-Trent possesses one of the finest gateways in the country in Winton Square; step off the train in Stoke-on-Trent and you are met with one of the finest examples of Victorian urban planning you are likely to come across

Listed buildings in Stoke

"Although Stoke has the grandest town hall of the six towns and remains of the medieval parish church, it has no civic centre. Leave the place where town hall and parish church are seen together, and you are at once, visually, in a small town."

Pevsner and the buildings of Stoke

Historical Stoke
Stoke Churches
Stoke Pubs
Stoke Streets

Postcards of Stoke...

St.Peter's Church c.1912

Stoke: - birthplace of.......
Sir Oliver Lodge (first person to transmit a message by radio telegraphy)

library c.1878 designed by Charles Lynam

Stoke Minster