The town of Stoke-upon-Trent is often confused with the City of Stoke-on-Trent. The twelve mile chain of loosely connected towns and villages running north in a roughly diagonal line from the south-east, collectively known as The Potteries, was established first as a borough in 1832. Nearly a century later, in 1925, it received City status. Despite the gradual industrialization of the landscape, the countryside is nearby and often visible. Stoke-upon-Trent, where the Spode family lived and worked, is one of the oldest towns of the district.
Dated to about 1670, Dr. Robert Plot’s map shows Stoke-upon-Trent, complete with its own church. Dedicated to St. Peter ad Vincula (St. Peter in Chains), it was the first place of meeting and worship in the area. The first church, built of wood in 1670, was rebuilt of stone in 1805 and extended over the years until it was demolished in 1826 to make way for the present building. It was almost in the shadow of this church that the first Josiah Spode lived most of his life.
William Yates’ map of 1775 (to the right) shows the townships and communities as they began to develop around the center of the major pottery-making towns, from Tunstall through Burslem, Handley Green (Hanley), Stoke, Lane Delph (Fenton) and Lane End (Longton).
In A View of the Staffordshire Potteriesprinted in 1800 by Thomas Allbut, Stoke -upon-Trent was described as " a pleasant rural place, and contains some handsome buildings. It has many earthenware manufactories, some of which are upon an extensive scale.” It was in these environs that Josiah Spode grew up and began his illustrious pottery.
The 1832 Thomas Hargreaves’ Map of the Staffordshire Potteries and Newcastle-under-Lyme,
was much more detailed than previous maps. This map was so detailed that not only did it delineate public buildings and churches, it also marked pottery factory sites with individual pottery ovens with circles. Comparing the Hargreaves map to earlier maps by Dr. Plot and Thomas Allbut shows how much the North Staffordshire Potteries had expanded as a successful manufacturing district.
Stoke-upon-Trent 1800 Stoke-upon-Trent 1832
Detail of Dr. Robert Plot's map of Staffordshire, about 1670
Detail of Wiliam Yates map of Staffordshire, 1775, with major towns highlighted.
Spode Works Stoke-upon-Trent
Spode II's Return to Stoke-upon-Trent
From Potters to Landed Gentry
Working in the Potteries