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The Potteries

The Potteries

I’m old enough to remember when many towns in England had their own specific identity, and much of that came from what those towns produced. The football teams of some of these places give us a clue as to what they produced by their nicknames: For example, Northampton Town are called The Cobblers (shoes), Sheffield United are known as The Blades (cutlery), and there are no prizes for guessing what was made in Stockport who are called The Hatters. To this list can be added Stoke City whose nickname is The Potters.

My first recollection of Stoke-on-Trent was from a Bristol City football supporters coach on our way to Huddersfield. We travelled north up to Manchester and across the Pennines into Yorkshire. The roads weren’t so good in those days and it was grim up north weatherwise. Wherever I looked there were chimneys and factories reminiscent of those dark satanic mills immortalised by William Blake. None of this was unexpected in Lancashire and Yorkshire, but what I wasn’t expecting to see was the vast number of pottery kilns dominating the skyline as we drove through the Midlands past The Potteries. This was definitely not a part of “England’s Green and Pleasant Land” that Blake wrote about.

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