History ~ Geography ~ ICT ~ Art & Design ~ D&T ~ PSHE ~ Cultural Capital
* Local History: The Potteries (What Makes us Unique?) *
"Let me tell you somethin' 'bout me
I've got a head full of stories
an old pair of boots
and a heart full of history
I've got a lung full of coal
a backbone of steel
and a home in the Potteries
beneath an iconic skyline
you hear the people say:
'we're made, made, made of clay
made, made, made of clay
made, made, made of clay
we're made, made, made . . .' "
Lyrical extract from Made of Clay by Merrym'n
"Songs without pretence. Songs with nothing but passion for a city that offers so much to the imagination."
* Our Hook ~ Making Lobby *
A traditional dish (stew) from North Staffordshire, lobby was eaten by poorly-paid potters who could not afford fresh food every day; it was made using cheaper cuts of meat, root vegetables and pearl barley.
Many families had and have their own variations on the recipe.
Many people say that lobby is so called because, traditionally, it was made by 'lobbing' left over veg into a pot. However, others think it's connected to lobscouse, a dish brought to the North West of England (ports of Liverpool) by German and Dutch sailors. Lobscouse is also called scouse. Find out more at:
Lobby Night by Sid Kirkham
* Our Recipe *
3 Large White Potatoes
3 Sweet Potatoes
3 Large Carrots
3 Large White Onions
2 tbsp Pearl Barley
2 tins of Chunky Steak (M&S)
4 Oxo Stock Pots (Original Beef)
Dumpling Mix (Goldenfry ~ Farmhouse Style)
Cornflour (for rolling the dumplings)
I hope and want you to enjoy this topic, as much as I love the rich, varied and proud history of the Potteries and all things Josiah Wedgwood. Throughout, and once complete, I would love to see what you've discovered, learnt, sketched, painted, modelled etc. Work completed or collated in an exercise book, scrapbook, file, folder etc. would be splendiferous to see ~ 10 Golden Tickets will be awarded for each completed 'book'.
I've organised this topic into chapters rather than lessons, and depending on the content and subjects included, some chapters may take longer to complete.
The following book will prove very helpful when researching particular information, and finding the answer to particular questions ~ click here to access a scanned copy. Not only that, the book makes an interesting and informative read; besides much more, you can discover about the Celtic and Roman presence within the Potteries ~ you may be pleasantly surprised by what you discover :)
Published in 2011, the book is available to buy via Amazon and eBay should you wish to purchase your own copy.
* The Potteries Landscape *
On a map, name and locate the river and brooks of Stoke-on-Trent.
Explain the difference(s) between a river and brook.
Find out where the river through Stoke-on-Trent begins (its source) and ends (its mouth).
Identify two or more interesting facts about the river.
Use the web links already provided, as well as the new ones listed below:
Identify the hills and valleys of the Potteries.
How many towns and what towns is Stoke-on-Trent made up of?
Which town is considered to be the 'Mother' town and why?
Find, locate and list landmarks of the Potteries ~ how many is your choice.
Download the Sculpture Trail leaflet and discover so much more about the history and geography of the Potteries, as well as identifying and locating landmarks.
Art & Design: Choose your favourite landmark to draw, sketch or paint.
D&T: Create a 3D model of your favourite landmark or any other of your choosing.
5 Golden Tickets will be awarded for each completed 3D model.
Ford Green Hall ~ a well-known landmark visited in Year 2
Where have you seen this well-known landmark?
'Fire is at the root of all things both visible and invisible'
What is the sculpture called?
What does the sculpture symbolise about the Potteries?
* The Industrial Revolution *
What was the Industrial Revolution?
What industries developed in the Potteries as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution and why?
To help answer the 'why', find out what lies beneath our feet.
What was life like for children in the Potteries during this period?
Feel free to read all the worker's testimonies using the web link below, but focus on those of children around and your own age; I've included three examples ~ remember that the testimonies are not a work of fiction like Oliver Twist, they were actually spoken by real children living and working in the Potteries:
List similarities and differences between children today and children back then.
Are there more similarities or more differences?
What does the answer tell you about the lives of children, from the past, working in the pottery and coal industries?
"work, terrible work . . . from very young ages . . . paid pitiful wages . . . there's no health or safety . . .
dangerous and demeaning . . ."
"Guess what we are dreaming? ~ school, glorious school ~ wonderful school ~ marvellous school ~
wish we went to school"
What was the purpose and importance of the Trent and Mersey Canal?
Why was the canal called the Trent and Mersey?
Have you ever wondered why there's a pub in Newcastle-under-Lyme called the Boat & Horses?
Would you be surprised to know that Newcastle-under-Lyme had its very own canal?
Find out more using the following links, and discover the heroic story of Timothy Trow as you do:
For your daily exercise, trace and walk part of the canal route with your mum and/or dad ~ I'm sure you've done this many times without realising.
Art & Design
'In 1910 Stoke-on-Trent novelist Arnold Bennett wrote of the "tall chimneys and rounded ovens, schools, the new scarlet market . . . rows of little red houses with amber chimney pots, and the gold angel of the blackened town hall topping the whole".
Stoke-on-Trent is one of the great cities of the industrial revolution. It was here that Josiah Wedgwood turned his stunning designs into mass-produced ceramics, and the Six Towns of Stoke-on-Trent became the Potteries. In the process, the sky blackened beneath a brick Manhattan of bottle-kilns. But Bennett thought the smoke only transformed the city's ugliness, "into a beauty transcending the work of architects and of time".'
I've taken the above two paragraphs from a newspaper article written for the Guardian by Tristram Hunt (former MP for Stoke-on-Trent and, presently, director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London).
Examples of a Manhattan (New York) skyline.
I would like you to create your own piece of art to reflect a Potteries skyline from its industrial past ~ your very own interpretation of "a brick Manhattan of bottle kilns".
In order for you to do this, I'd like you to take inspiration from Sid Kirkham who was known as the 'Lowry of the Potteries'. Sid, who sadly passed away in 2018, was renowned/well-known for his pictures of pot banks (pottery factories), football stadia (more of that later on) and scenes of everyday life.
Firstly, who was Lowry?
Now, explore some of Sid Kirkham's work:
Finally, view some of the reality behind Sid Kirkham's art:
Hopefully, you're feeling inspired to create your own piece of art ~ please do not include football fans of any kind.
Find all examples of Sid's work below:
Why am I unable to include videos and photographs from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution?
* Famous and Noteworthy Sons & Daughters *
Research past and present famous, notable, interesting and significant people born and/or who grew up in the Potteries ~ you may be surprised by what and who you discover.
Your research should cover those who have achieved, contributed to or been successful in the following areas: Literature ~ Science ~ Technology/Engineering/Industry ~ Art & Design ~ Music ~ Sport ~ Entertainment and Any Other.
Don't forget to use the book: Children's History of the Potteries ~ you may also find the following links useful.
Josiah Wedgwood (1730~1795)
I admire Josiah Wedgwood for many, many reasons, and I'd like you to discover the reasons why ~ not simply because I want you to, but because he is of great historical significance to the Potteries and the wider world.
To introduce him, I will quote the official Wedgwood website:
'The most famous potter in history couldn't use a potter's wheel but that did not prevent him from building a ceramics empire. Josiah Wedgwood was a man who triumphed against all odds. After overcoming smallpox in his youth, he later chose to have his right leg amputated to relieve his pain. Although he was left unable to use his beloved potter's wheel, he remained unstoppable in his business conviction. Josiah was a survivor, and his reduced mobility only inspired him to evolve new ways to pursue his objectives and certainly never dimmed his pioneering brilliance.'
Josiah Wedgwood's leg was removed at a time in history when there was no anaesthesia to put him safely to sleep throughout the amputation, or antibiotics to treat any infection afterwards ~ ouch! (Bit of an understatement really.)
Now, over to you ~ research Josiah Wedgwood using the book, and the web links and YouTube videos below. Create a fact-file to record interesting facts about him, his family, life and work. Make a special feature of at least two facts you find to be the most surprising, interesting, memorable and inspirational ~ explain the reasons for your choices.
A great video directly above ~ you simply have to switch off from the subtitles.
Art & Design
Design your own version of Wedgwood's Abolition Medallion:
Sketch Wedgwood's Portland Vase.
If you're feeling really creative, model and decorate a 3D Portland Vase using papier-mâché and an inflated balloon ~ this could be quite stunning. I'll award 10 Golden Tickets for a completed vase.
* Artists in Residence *
Between the First and Second World Wars in the middle of the 1920s, the design style (or design movement) of Art Deco arrived transforming art, design and architecture through the use of colour, bold patterns and geometric shapes. Art Deco continued into the 1930s influencing the style of buildings, interior design, furniture, textiles, fashion, pottery, jewellery, glass, art work and graphics etc.
Art Deco symbolised luxury and sophistication.
Art Deco had many influences, including Cubism (think Pablo Picasso); decorative ideas came from Egyptian and Aztec art, and other cultures and civilisations, as well as from nature (animals, plants and sun rays).
Watch the YouTube videos below to learn a little more:
In the Potteries, Art Deco influenced the shape and design of pottery ware, as well as the designs for decorating pottery, and in the process many ceramic artists/designers made a name for themselves, including: Charlotte Rhead, Susie Cooper and Clarice Cliff.
Charlotte Rhead (1885~1947)
Charlotte Rhead was a talented and gifted designer, and an exceptional craft potter who came from a talented family with a strong Potteries background, and a connection to the pottery industry. She was extremely successful as a ceramic artist, known for her cheerful tubelined designs. Her style was more traditional than that of Susie Cooper and Clarice Cliff. Charlotte Rhead's designs are highly collectable, continuing to sell at auction today, with some selling for hundreds of pounds, and others for thousands of pounds.
Charlotte Rhead championed the rights, pay and conditions of women who worked for her ~ What women's movement made history during Charlotte's earlier life?
Find out more about Charlotte Rhead at: https://pottery-english.com/charlotte-rhead/
The above shows two examples of Charlotte Rhead's tubelined designs ~ search online to view more of her work. The Art Deco influence is more obvious in the first example.
Which pottery producing ware today is well-known and sought after (much wanted) for its beautiful tubelined ware?
Susie Cooper OBE (1902~1995)
"No home is complete without Susie Cooper pottery"
Susie Cooper is considered to be the most influential and important woman in the British pottery industry during the last century. She worked in the Potteries for 64 years as a designer, innovator and factory owner, and continued to design during her very active retirement.
Susie Cooper's designs were elegant and practical ~ the 1930s advertising slogan read: 'Elegance combined with utility'. Her designs were considered to be always of interest, ahead of fashion and leading the way. In 1940, Susie was awarded Royal Designer for Industry by the Royal Society of Arts ~ the only woman and only exclusive pottery designer to be given this award at this time. She was appointed OBE in 1979 for her 'contribution to the maintenance of excellence in industrial ceramic design'.
Watch the YouTube video below to find out more ~ Susie will talk about the figurine shown in the photographs above. In the video, I found Susie Cooper to be truly inspirational, especially with what she continued to do and achieve in her 90s.
The images above show examples of Art Deco influencing Susie Cooper's earlier designs.
Search online for further examples of Susie Cooper's work.
Clarice Cliff (1899~1972)
Clarice Cliff, rightly or wrongly, is more famous and well-known than Susie Cooper and Charlotte Rhead. She is regarded as being one of the most influential ceramic artists of the 20th century. When given her own studio in 1927, Clarice Cliff developed a new design for pottery called Bizarre (see below) ~ it was unlike anything that had been seen before being made up of bright colours and shapes, especially triangles. The 'Bizarre' pattern was created when Clarice began experimenting with her own freehand patterns of triangles to cover mistakes and imperfections in pottery ware.
In 2004, a Clarice Cliff platter sold for £40,000 ~ it was originally bought in 1933 for only 25 shillings (£1.25). The platter was decorated with the 'May Avenue' pattern (see below) produced in 1932 ~1933.
After 'Bizarre', Clarice Cliff was famous for her 'Crocus' pattern (1928) ~ a simple hand-painted pattern of orange, blue and purple flowers with each flower having been painted with upward strokes of the brush.
What design style/movement influenced Clarice Cliff?
Interestingly, a local Potteries school is named after Clarice Cliff: Clarice Cliff Primary School in the town of Fenton ~ the town that Arnold Bennett forgot! Well, actually he didn't ~ he simply felt that five towns sounded better than six towns for the title of his famous novel: Anna of the Five Towns.
What influences can you see in the design of the school's logo ~ see below?
In what way is the One Smithfield building, Hanley, inspired by Clarice Cliff?
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, exhibits some of Clarice Cliff's work:
Click on the links below and watch the YouTube video to discover more:
Search online for further patterns designed by Clarice Cliff.
Referring back to the work on landmarks, do any of you recognise the house below? ~ Chetwynd House (Clayton) is the former home of Clarice Cliff and her husband, Colley Shorter.
Art & Design
Discover the ceramic designer and artist within by creating your own Art Deco design inspired by our 'artists in residence'. You can draw freehand to create the template you want, trace around a plate of your choosing etc., or download and print one or more of the templates included below:
Which ceramic artist today is famous for her ceramic designs?
* Football Mania *
The Potteries have two football clubs playing in the English Football League: Port Vale and Stoke City. Matches between the two clubs are known as the Potteries Derby ~ find out more, including some very interesting facts:
Port Vale: The Valiants
Founder members of the Football League Division Two (1892)
Most surprising supporter: Sir Stanley Matthews
Supported and loved by Robbie Williams.
Name Origin: venue/place of the inaugural/first meeting ~ Port Vale House
Stadium: Vale Park
Stadium Capacity: 19,052
Current League: Two
Club Legend: Roy Sproson
Explore more club legends: https://www.onevalefan.co.uk/port-vale-player-database/
Roy Sproson (1930~1997)
Who was Roy Sproson?
What were his achievements?
What qualities of character could we learn from Roy Sproson?
Stoke City: The Potters
Second oldest football club in Britain.
Responsible for the penalty kick and injury time.
Name Origin: Stoke (geographical location) ~ The Potters (pottery industry)
Stadium: bet365 Stadium
Stadium Capacity: 30,089 (all seated)
Mascots: Pottermus & Pottermiss
Current League: Championship
Club Legend: Sir Stanley Matthews
Explore more club legends: https://www.stokecityfc.com/news/introducing-your-greatest-xi
Sir Stanley Matthews CBE (1915~2000)
'The Wizard of the Dribble'
"The man who taught us the way football should be played" Pele
Who was Stanley Matthews?
What were his achievements?
Below, read the two extracts taken from Stanley Matthews' autobiography: The Way it Was.
What qualities of character can we learn from Stanley Matthews?
What does he teach us about the importance of rules, not just in football, but in all things?
Just like Clarice Cliff, Sir Stanley Matthews has been honoured by having a Potteries school named after him: Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy, Blurton.
Art & Design
Football art in the style of Sid Kirkham
Watch Sid Kirkham talk about Sir Stanley Matthews and using him as an inspiration for his paintings:
Sir Stanley Matthews
Supporting Stoke City
Supporting Port Vale
Explore further examples of the above topics using the following link:
Taking inspiration from all that you've learnt in 'Football Mania', sketch, draw or paint a picture in the style of Sid Kirkham based on one or more of the above topics.
These could be quite sensational, and I look forward to seeing your examples :)
* Oatcakes *
Sunday Morning Oatcakes by Sid Kirkham ~ Oatcakes by Paine Profitt
'Whuts up with thee, woman! Thay kneowst ah oweeys ave brine seowce not ketchup with me lobby, eowtceeks, payklets, wrayts pie, fish un chips, mushy pays un batter bits'
Extract taken from 'May un Mar Lady' cartoon by cartoonist: Dave Follows ~ Can you decipher the old Potteries dialect?
Ode to the Oatcake
'Let us pay homage to the Oatcake
Or Oatcake or woodcake as the old men called them.
The oatcake is not a cake at all really
Not like the fairy cake or the Eccles cake
Not a cake in that way
More of a Potteries Papadum
A sort of Tunstall Tortilla
A Clay Suzette.'
Extract by Arthur Berry
Oatcakes have become a cultural icon of the Potteries, and are included in the European Union's list of traditional regional food; they are also popular in Newcastle-under-Lyme, as well as the Staffordshire Moorlands.
Being around since the 17th Century, oatcakes have a long history and tradition that began in the moorlands of the Staffordshire Pennines (Peak District) providing reliable and nutritious food for the farmers, their families, and workers who grew oats rather than wheat because oats were more suited to the local climate.
During the Industrial Revolution (explored in Chapter Two), oatcakes became a popular, cheap and nutritious food for the owners of mines and potteries to feed their huge workforces. Later on, the poor of the Potteries made oatcakes at home to sell, with some selling directly from their homes through front-room windows ~ the tradition of 'hole in the wall' oatcake shops.
'I remember several houses in the Botteslow Street and Waterloo Road area who had oatcakes for sale, spread out on tea towels on the front window sill ~ the sash window open about 12 inches. On Sunday mornings a young girl came to our house with hot oatcakes wrapped in a tea towel carried in a large wicker basket. We had a regular order. When the war came terraced houses seemed to stop making and selling them.'
The above is taken from a 1970 interview by Pamela Sambrook (author of The Staffordshire Oatcake: a History) with a lady, from Hanley, recalling oatcakes and the extreme poverty of the 1930s.
Extreme poverty did not end with the Victorians, it continued into the 20th century, especially during the Great Depression of the 1930s. This was not helped by the rationing of food throughout World War II (1939~1945) and beyond into the 1950s. Fortunately, oats were not rationed, so oatcakes could still be made to provide a healthy and nutritious source of food.
Oatcakes allowed hungry potters, miners, steelworkers and their families etc. to buy cheap and nutritious 'fast food'.
Discover more through the YouTube videos below:
Watch out for Robbie Williams' dad: Pete Conway, and the interview with the owner of the very last 'hole in the wall' oatcake shop.
With video two, you do not need to continue watching when Jay Rayner returns to the One Show Studio.
Meet Kay Mundy and her B'oatcake:
The above videos are a wonderful example of how different people have differing interpretations of the past ~ in this case the origins of the Staffordshire oatcake.
I've completed my research using credible and reliable sources to verify/confirm that oatcakes originated in the Staffordshire Moorlands.
Oatcake Day: Since 2010, August 8th is the day to celebrate all things Staffordshire oatcake.
Stoke City Football Club's Fanzine is called: The Oatcake.
Now you've learnt about the Staffordshire oatcake, use one of the following recipes to make your own:
* Seven Wonders *
I've deliberately planned our Local History topic into seven chapters, so this seventh chapter is where we conclude all the learning that has taken place ~ we will end where we began.
For fans of Stoke City Football Club, the number seven is synonymous with Sir Stanley Matthews, a truly inspirational and remarkable man, whether you're in to football, or whether you're not.
Additionally, only 47 bottle kilns remain in the Potteries compared to the approximate number of 4,000 that existed when the Pottery industry was at its peak. The Clean Air Act (1956) 'sounded the death-knell for the smoky, coal fired ovens', and so, the once mighty and proud bottle kilns were demolished in favour of gas and electricity.
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
The Ancient Greeks considered seven to be a magical number, and as they loved lists, they decided to create a list of the world's most magnificent structures they called 'wonders'. These 'wonders' were sights or things to be seen and not missed, almost like a modern-day tourist guide or 'bucket list' of 'must-sees'. As you can imagine, there was a lot of disagreement until Philo, a Greek engineer and mathematician, decided on the list we still use today:
Seven Wonders of the Modern World
Bernard Weber, a Swiss film-maker, business man and avid traveller, wanted people to know about all the wonderful things he'd seen on his travels to nearly every nation on Earth, so, democratically, he asked people from all around the world to vote for their favourites on a website created especially for the purpose. After receiving over 100 million votes, the Seven Wonders of the Modern World were chosen with the seven winners announced on 7th July 2007 ~ 07/07/07.
Seven Wonders of the Potteries
Now, over to you ~ demonstrate what you've learnt, including all that you already know by selecting seven wonders of the Potteries that you'd want a first-time visitor to see, explore, visit etc. Compile/create your own list using pictures, labels and reasons why.
The 'wonders' can include buildings, stadiums, sculptures, statues, tourist attractions, parks, items and anything else that you think shows a first time visitor exactly what makes the Potteries unique.
Links you may find useful:
* The End *