Burslem - History

History

The Domesday Book shows Burslem (listed as Bacardeslim) as a small farming hamlet; strategically sited above a vital ford (crossing) at Longport, part of the major pack horse track out of the Peak District and Staffordshire Moorlands to the Liverpool/London road. As far back as the late 12th century a thriving pottery industry existed, based on the fine & abundant local clays. After the Black Death, Burslem emerges in the records as a medieval town - the 1536 stone church is still standing and in use. Until the mid-1760s Burslem was relatively cut off from the rest of England; it had no navigable river nearby, and there were no good & reliable roads. By 1777 the Trent and Mersey Canal was nearing completion, and the roads had markedly improved. The town boomed on the back of fine pottery production & canals, and became known as 'The Mother Town' of the six towns that make up the city. In 1910 the town was federated into the county borough of Stoke-on-Trent, and the borough was granted city status in 1925.

The famous novels of Arnold Bennett evoke the feel of Victorian Burslem, with its many potteries, mines, and working canal barges. The Burslem of the 1930s to the 1980s is evoked by the paintings and plays of Arthur Berry.

Burslem contains Britain's last real working industrial district (i.e.: where people live within walking distance of the factories of a single heavy industry - in this case, the potteries); and thus much of the nineteenth-century industrial heritage, buildings & character have survived intact.

A recent report suggested the concentration of pottery-based heritage makes the area the richest stretch of canal for industrial heritage in England.

Read more about this topic:  Burslem

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