North Staffordshire Potteries Workingmen’s Clubs of the Late 1980’s & Early ’90’s

North Staffordshire Potteries Workingmen’s Clubs

Kidsgrove Working-mens-club

North Staffordshire Potteries: Kidsgrove Workingmen’s Club

Bill Cawley: “Peter Kay is not far out when portrays the strange acts at the Phoenix. I recall vividly the Pakistani stand up comedian who told racist jokes against himself, the asthmatic country and western act from Cleverley who stopped for breath half way through his act.” I’ll be with you in a moment “, or the overloud ear-ringing rock bands. Sometimes there were special events like a boxing tournament at the Suburban where one competitor eschewing the basic defensive stance advanced with arms flaying like a windmill to be quickly demolished by punishing jabs that opened his nose up in a crimson torrent. For the turns themselves there was recognition that there efforts were taken with proper regard. As local act Gerry Stephens writing of the time reportedSaturday was the highlight of the week and people would make an effort to look their best. The Committee officers ran them with a grip of iron and membership were as tightly controlled as any freemasons. Instant silence followed the command ” Give order please” and quiet was demanded- and got- when Bingo started. Bingo was a ritual with its language and actions especially when certain numbers were called out ” Ted’s den- Number Ten, Two fat ladies 88, Leg’s eleven” followed by wolf whistles and the clinking of glasses as pens were banging against them. Sometimes a frustrated gamester would call out to the elderly lady caller ” Shake them up, Elsie” if his numbers were not coming up.Then there were the turns.“You’d arrive outside the Club, grab your gear, and go in. The room would be completely empty. Then people start coming in; the room is packed, and it’s your job to entertain them for the night. You’ve only got your guitar, your voice and your patter, to get them going, gets them laughing.It was quite a thing to be an artist in the 70s, there was a lot of respect shown; the audience wasn’t allowed to come in or go out during a bracket”.But the knell- as it was for the working class- was already tolling for the clubs.”

Bill Cawley: “I was born in Stoke in 1955 and lived and worked in the City. I was a City Councillor from 82-7 and a County Councillor from 97-05. I’m a member of the Green party My heroes are Thomas Paine, HL Mencken, Tom Joad and Ernest Everard..,”

Talke’s, Newcastle-under-Lyme, North Staffordshire: Talke Social Club mid-1980’s & early ’90’s:

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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) 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.


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 . . .
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