1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Stoke-on-Trent

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STOKE-ON-TRENT, a market town and municipal and parliamentary borough of Staffordshire, England, on the upper Trent, in the heart of the Potteries district. Pop. (1901), 30,458, This was the population of the separate borough of Stoke-upon-Trent (area, 1882 acres) which existed until 1910. In 1908 arrangements were made whereby Stoke-upon-Trent, Burslem, Fenton, Hanley, Longton and Tunstall should be amalgamated as one borough, under the name of Stoke-on-Trent, from the 31st of March 1910. The new corporation consists of a mayor, 26 aldermen and 78 councillors. Stoke is on the North Staffordshire railway, 146 m. north-west from London by the London & North-Western railway; and on the Grand Trunk (Trent and Mersey) Canal. The principal public buildings in the old town of Stoke are the town hall, with assembly rooms, law library and art gallery, the market hall, the Minton memorial building, containing a school of art and science; the free library and museum, and the North Staffordshire infirmary, founded in 1815 at Etruria, and removed to its present site in 1868. The head offices of the North Staffordshire Railway Company are here. Four large firms manufacturing every variety of art china and earthenware alone employ over 5000 hands. Coal-mining and iron and machine manufactures are also carried on. A statue commemorates Josiah Wedgwood, born at Burslem in 1730; but other famous names in the pottery trade are more intimately connected with Stoke. Thus Josiah Spode the second was born here in 1754, and had a great house at Penkhull, on the western outskirts of Stoke. He entered into partnership with the Copelands, who continued his business. Herbert Minton (1793–1858) was the founder of another of the large works. The parliamentary borough returns one member.

In the Domesday Survey of 1086 half the church of Stoke and lands in Stoca are said to have belonged to Robert of Stafford. Part of Stoke (Stoche or Stoca) at this time belonged to the Crown, since the royal estate of Penculla (now Penkhull) was included within its bounds. Frequent references to the parish church of Stoke are found during the 14th and 15th centuries. Contemporary writers from 1787 onwards describe Stoke as a market town, but the official evidence states that the market rights were not acquired until 1845. Since then the market days have been Saturday and Monday. Stoke-upon-Trent became the railway centre and head of the parliamentary borough of Stoke-upon-Trent, comprising the whole of the Staffordshire Potteries, which was created by the Reform Bill of 1832. In 1874 it was incorporated as a municipality. From 1833 to 1885 Stoke returned two members to parliament. From the early 17th century, if not earlier, porcelain and earthenware manufactories existed at Stoke-upon-Trent, but they remained unnoticed until in 1686 Dr Plot wrote his survey of Staffordshire. In the middle of the 18th century there was a great industrial development in the Pottery district.

See John Ward, The Borough of Stoke-upon-Trent (London, 1843).