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Thursday, July 02, 2009


The only thing about coming off the Maccie canal is that after passing through Harecastle Tunnel and spending a very pleasant night moored alongside Westport Lake the depressing journey through Stoke on Trent is ahead.
All the way through old factory's and Kilns that once made Stoke the china capital of England but now they stand dirty and empty providing homes for the local pigeons and in one case a group of travellers and their caravans. Just a few of the hundreds of chimneys still stand to attention the remains of a defeated army.

Small canal arms that once were busy with working boats fetching coal to feed the furnaces and taking away china products that would end up all over the world.
Above all that`s left of the Etruria factory built by Josiah Wedgwood in 1769 now home to a local newspaper and below what it looked like in 1936. In 1940 the factory moved to Barlaston and a station was built and named Wedgwood to serve the factory. Now even the trains just rush through having been replaced by a bus service.

In 1986 Waterford Glass bought out Wedgwood and early this year Wedgwood went into administration and some fancy investment company is to pump in 100 million euros and move production to Asia. A Wedgwood factory in Indonesia already employs 1,500 so another nail in the coffin of British manufacturing.

Wedgwood founded in 1759 was 250 yrs old this year and i bet poor old Josiah Wedgwood is shuddering in his grave as these events take place.

At least below the Bone & Flint mill built in 1857 still stands and is part of an industrial museum.
It used to grind Bone, Flint & Stone for the pottery industry and the steam powered machinery can be seen on specific days working.

The Mill cheered me a bit but not for long as below more signs of the past
and further on signs of the present in the form of graffiti. I came across an interesting article in one of the online national newspapers "Why i weep for Wedgwood" by a Mr A N Wilson who`s father was Managing Director of Wedgwood in the 1950`s. It`s a bit long but is very interesting, " Stoke on Trent had never been a pretty place but it was thriving and it had a purpose" is one quote from the article another is "it is now a wasteland and a dump"
Give it a read HERE it is very interesting.


Anonymous said...

I always liked cruising through The Potteries but then I'm a local lass - and as such I must point out, there's only one 'e' in Wedgwood :-)
Ta duck!

Les Biggs said...

Hi Annon
All corrected now as it was before i published but for some reason the corrections didn`t save, even now when i have soted the extra `e` some words are showing incorrect although they are ok.
Sorry to winge about Stoke but it`s just my view.

Anonymous said...

Hi Les,
I rem that article (A N Wilson) from early this year and also felt sad that British products had slipped so far in the world wide market. I wonder what it will take to to reverse that decline?

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs