THE POST-INDUSTRIAL STOKE-ON-TRENT NORTH STAFFORDSHIRE ‘POTTERIES’

Post-industrial society is imploding and the city of Stoke-on-Trent in North Staffordshire is a perfect example of how capitalism has failed the masses.

Longport - Burslem

Photo of pot bank factory and bottle kiln in Longport (nr. Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent). Rebel Juke: 2014

The picture above is of a pot bank factory and bottle kiln in Longport (nr. Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent). I personally would love to learn more about one of the best preserved, real working, industrial bastions in the Potteries: Longport, Stoke-on-Trent. As it’s one of my favorite places in this city of ours and remains one of the only few real working pottery towns / village left in North Staffordshire.

Everywhere else in the city is largely populated with call centres and warehouses that provide the only jobs with the countries lowest wages. Stoke-on-Trent is a very economically depressed area in 2014. Britain’s second poorest city, and that’s official, it’s where two of the main contributors to REBEL JUKE reside and were born. For centuries this city was a hotbed of creativity and industrious success, hundreds of thousands worked in the ‘Pot Bank’ factories producing some of the world’s finest ceramica.

Josiah-Wedgwood-born-1730

Josiah Wedgwood. Born: 1730

Josiah Wedgwood (born 1730) was one of it’s great forefathers and based his Wedgwood factory in Etruria at the heart of the city, producing fine ceramics since the 18th. century (and still do at the Barlaston factory nr. Stone in south Staffordshire). His wise acumen and gile, ensured commercial success for his famous ceramics. Josiah Wedgwood was the one of the first men in the entire world to use cosumerisurism-marketing and commercial entrepreneurship. Selling his Wedgwood-ware to the affluent British middle-classes and the rich North Americans.

But that has all changed today. Nothing much is left of this great creative city.  All this has nearly been destroyed by those with all the power and money. Much of what is left of the once mighty Potteries and its victims: the working classes, the once: ‘Mighty Potters’ are out on their knees and, nearly all, completely destroyed.
It is a real shame to see Stoke’s heritage and people destroyed like this. Soon, to be lost forever.

Arnold_Bennett

Stoke on Trent’s most famous writing son and novelist: Arnold Bennett

Arnold Bennett is Stoke-on-Trent’s most famous writing son. But I find him a  dull read when it comes to novels. Historically accurate, he provides a fascinating record of the better days of ‘The Potteries’ – ‘The Five Towns’ – The City of Stoke-on-Trent. Novels Like ‘The Card’ (Yawn!) ‘Anna of The Five Towns’ and ‘Clay Hanger’ provide amazing insights into the north Staffordshire Potteries. Once an industrial heartland in the north of England.
The Five Towns: Burslem (‘The Mother Town’) Longton, Tunstall, Hanley and Stoke (Fenton was the sixth and forgotten town. So, in fact, there were six!) were all mercilessly exploited during the 18th., 19th. and 20th. centuries by the criminal, conscious-less, capitalist business owners like those at Royal Doulton, Spode, Johnson & Johnson and to a lesser extent: Wedgwood himself. Stoke-on-Trent is now officially Britain’s second poorest city (after ‘Destruction’ Derby just up the the river Trent in Derbyshire).
The once mighty and active pottery firms who wrongly destroyed this city have left this city to employ low-cost, third-world labour in Indonesia and other parts of Asia. And so, continue to mercilessly exploit cheap labour and destroy lives, as they did us!
Where have all the jobs and money gone? Why did those in power and with all the money let this happen?
I will tell you why…
It’s because capitalism doesn’t work and Stoke-on-Trent is a perfect example of a city where capitalism is failing us in this, our post-industrial society.
Marx tells us the exploitation of the lower classes by the upper and middle classes is inherently self-destructive and a society based on right-wing, capitalist ideals, will implode in post-industrial chaos! Unemployment, poverty, illness, family breakdown, emigration by all those who can afford to leave, immigration of the poor, foreign exploiters of those left, social disorder with: drug abuse, riots, rape, child abuse, murder, theft, violence and widespread misery as those who have been exploited and treated like dogs and who implode into hopeless misery. The exploited try to rise up and rebel (or just give up and die from all the social and economic abuse). And, this is all from the disenfranchisement of the lower class, totally exploited masses.

The rich and powerful control everything we do and see and unfairly treat their slaves to THEIR system of capitalism. We feed their unquenchable, unfair and criminal greed. They will not stop until they have drained every last drop of blood, sweat and tear from the working classes. Until one day we say: NO MORE! Then it will be the rich and powerful who will have to reap the whirlwind that they have so, so mercilessly sown by the ills they have inflicted upon the lower class workers.

You poor take courage,
You rich take care, 
This Earth was made a common treasury,
For everyone to share . . .

‘The World Turned Upside Down’ – ‘Back to Basics’ – 1986 – Billy Bragg:

In 1649
To St. George’s Hill,
A ragged band they called the Diggers
Came to show the people’s will
They defied the landlords
They defied the laws
They were the dispossessed reclaiming what was theirs

We come in peace they said
To dig and sow
We come to work the lands in common
And to make the waste ground grow
This earth divided
We will make whole
So it will be
A common treasury for all

The sin of property
We do disdain
No man has any right to buy and sell
The earth for private gain
By theft and murder
They took the land
Mow everywhere the walls
Spring up at their command

They make the laws
To chain us well
The clergy dazzle us with heaven
Or they damn us into hell
We will not worship
The God they serve
The God of greed who feed the rich
While poor folk starve

We work we eat together
We need no swords
We will not bow to the masters
Or pay rent to the lords
Still we are free
Though we are poor
You Diggers all stand up for glory
Stand up now

From the men of property
The orders came
They sent the hired men and troopers
To wipe out the Diggers’ claim
Tear down their cottages
Destroy their corn
They were dispersed
But still the vision lingers on

You poor take courage
You rich take care
This earth was made a common treasury
For everyone to share
All things in common
All people one
We come in peace
The orders came to cut them down

‘To Have and to Have Not’ – ‘Back to Basics’ – 1986 – Billy Bragg

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One comment

  1. Rebel Juke Admin · October 5, 2015

    Andy Dean You are not seriously suggesting Marxism as an answer to Stoke on Trent’s problems? The writer is more than a bit confused. He acknowledges that “the potteries” were created by arch capitalists like Wedgwood but thinks that Marxism is the way forward. If Marx had his way people like Wedgwood would not be able to do what he did.
    Like · Reply · 23 September at 18:09
    Our Talke
    Our Talke Wedgwood eventually took care of it’s workers and offered them generous pay, modern housing, better conditions out at the village of Barlaston than they had previously had in the original factory and in the local areas around the city center and Etruria. None of his more modern counter parts did any of this. Just bled the people and the city dry. Then in the early-mid 1990’s, took all the work away from the city to Indonesia and Asia. To exploit yet more poor, unfortunate workers on low pay and bad living and working conditions, as they did us.They left the workers and city in its present state and gave it’s award of being Britain’s second poorest city (after Derby) with the lowest wages.
    Marxism may not be the answer to our economic and social problems of the 21st. century. But he himself: Karl Marx, was correct in his thinking that post-industrial society loomed! As it does here today in our city.
    The system of capitalism is inherently self destructive as it exploits it’s workers. Capitalists and those that control it (like the pottery owners of Stoke of the 1800’s and 1900’s) wish only to make themselves rich. At the cost of the poor and the destruction of a once mighty working industrial city full of proud, happy, hard working, very tough and creative people.
    Marxism or Communism may not me the answer for us today. But what the writer was trying to say was that Marx, himself (in ‘Das Capital’) was right!
    Society is imploding into post-industrial chaos. No more apparent and evident than in the city of Stoke-on-Trent, today and in the future.

    Like

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