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Stoke-on-Trent (or Stoke) in Staffordshire is the home of English pottery. It is commonly known as the ‘Potteries’, and local residents are referred to as ‘Potters’. Stoke’s ceramics collection is housed in the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Hanley, while Etruria Industrial Museum and Gladstone Pottery Museum are dedicated to the city’s industrial heritage. Today, most of Stoke’s major pottery companies have factory shops and visitor centres, while Alton Towers Resort to the east of the city remains one of the UK’s best-known attractions.
The city’s Cultural Quarter contains the Regent Theatre and Victoria Hall, along with a nine-screen cinema at The Hive, which is an extension to the Potteries shopping centre. The independent volunteer-run art-house cinema, The Stoke-on-Trent Film Theatre, is located near the railway station, showing art-house and subtitled films, as well as those that have come to the end of their run in larger cinemas. Stoke is also known for its vibrant literature scene. Writer Arnold Bennet was raised in Hanley, while aspiring poets are encouraged by the city’s Young Poet Laureate competition for children aged between 11 and 19. Stoke’s success stories include such famous entertainers as Neil Morrissey, Jonathan Wilkes, Nick Hancock, Bruno Brookes and Robbie Williams.
Pottery companies that were established in the city include Royal Doulton, Spode, Wedgwood, Minton and Emma Bridgewater. It was the local abundance of coal and clay suitable for earthenware production that led to the development of this booming industry here. A centre for coal mining and iron and steel production, Stoke was, however, badly hit by the general decline in the British manufacturing sector in the late 1980s and 1990s, and numerous steelworks, collieries and potteries were closed, paving the way for services industries and distribution centres. Around 9,000 companies are based in the city today. Amongst the most notable are bet365, Michelin (tyres), Sainsbury’s, The Co-operative Pharmacy, Goodwin Steel Castings Ltd, Premier Foods, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Royal Stoke University Hospital. These days, Stoke is ranked as one of the best places to start a business, based on a number of factors including commercial property, energy, virtual offices, public transport and financial access.
Stoke is linked to the nearby M6 motorway at junctions 15 and 16, while the A50 provides an east-west link between the M6 and the M1. Stoke-on-Trent Railway Station lies on the Stafford-Manchester Line between Manchester and London, as well as the Crewe-Derby Line, while public transport on a local level is provided almost exclusively by bus.
There are two higher education colleges in the local area, along with two universities, Staffordshire University and Keele University School of Medicine, which uses facilities at the Royal Stoke University Hospital. And that’s not forgetting the city’s 15 secondary schools.
The average price for property in Stoke stands at £146,286, with flats selling for around £101,707 and terraced houses for £90,831, making it an affordable destination for many. If you wish to experience a taste of Stoke-on-Trent life, be sure to sample a Staffordshire oatcake... It’s a local delicacy!