Stoke on Trent

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    The city now named Stoke-on-Trent is the amalgamation of the 'Six Towns'in 1910. The legacy of this union lives on undiminished, as locals will refer to 'the Potteries', rather than Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle under Lyme or even Staffordshire.

    Tourism is very strong in the Potteries: Large recent developments include the Potteries Shopping Centre in Hanley, and the entertainment complex, Festival Park. The Art Deco Regent Theatre has reopened after renovation, The Wedgwood Story, a £4.5 million interactive tour, new for 2000 is located at the Wedgwood site.

    The theme park Alton Towers is easily accessible from Stoke, while the Peak District National Park and the Staffordshire Moorlands are a short drive from the city in a hire car.

    The cityís history is intimately bound up with that of the ceramics industry; The production of pottery dates back to at least the 17th century, and was founded on the areaís abundant supplies of clay; of salt and lead for glazing; and of coal, used to fire the kilns. By the time Josiah Wedgwood set up business for himself in 1759, the area was supplying a wide variety of earthenware and stoneware produced in and around the villages of the area.

    In 1769 Wedgwood himself built one of Britainís first large factories, in Etruria, the village he established on the outskirts of Burslem, his birthplace. His work, and that of other famous 18th-century Staffordshire potters, such as Joseph Spode I, Thomas Minton, the Wood family, and Thomas Whieldon, helped make the area synonymous with ceramics.

    Stoke on Trent lies just off the M6 motorway, the main highway from south to north. It is roughly halfway between Manchester and Birmingham. Why not use a hire car to explore this fascinating area or take some friends to Alton Towers in a rental minibus. Take all your pottery home in a hire van!

    Stoke -on-Trent car hire branch is at 7 Vale Place Hanley, Stoke On Trent.

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