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The Lost City of Stoke-on-Trent [Hardcover]

Emma Bridgewater , Matthew Rice
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 19.99
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Book Description

7 Oct 2010
This is a song for Stoke: a fanfare for one of the great cities of the world's first industrial revolution; a lament for the bottle kilns and pot banks, the terraces and mansions that were thrown up or carefully planned to house a global industry and then torn down in the 1960s; and the ballad of a remarkable city - how she was born, how she grew and behaved as a big, bold grown up and how she crumbled as she grew old but, surprisingly, never died. This is not a guide book but an invitation to explore and discover a (deeply flawed) treasure trove

Matthew Rice's detailed - and often funny - architectural watercolours are the basis of this book, but those bones are fleshed out with a narrative of the place: the towering figures of the eighteenth century, Wedgwood, Spode and Brindley; the geological underpinning of coal and clay that fixed its position; the trade with America with cargos mapping the great marches west across the prairies of the New World; the reports of unspeakable humanitarian horrors that sent a thrilling shudder through the drawing rooms of Victorian Britain and the changes those reports brought about; and the sad decline and mismanagements that all but destroyed the city after the second World War. The foreword is written by Matthew's wife Emma Bridgewater, whose first visit to Stoke twenty five years ago inspired her to start a business that still employs over one hundred people in a Victorian factory in the heart of the city.

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The Lost City of Stoke-on-Trent + The Staffordshire Oatcake: A History + Monopoly - Stoke-On-Trent Edition
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln (7 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0711231397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711231399
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 27.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Matthew Rice writes about Architecture but is better known for his illustrations. He is a regular contributor to Country Life Magazine. He lives in Oxford with his wife the potter Emma Bridgewater with whom he works. They have four Children.

Product Description


An architectural fanfare for one of the great cities of the industrial revolution. (Bookseller)

This generously illustrated book makes you long to visit this bizarre wonderland of post-industrial dereliction. (Margaret Drabble Spectator)

This book is a vital record, and appreciation, of some of these buildings as they are today. (Staffordshire Life)

A clarion call to the "Five Towns" to stop knocking down the bottle kilns and pot banks and start preserving one of the civic gems of England.' (Tristram Hunt Observer)

A charming book illustrated with the author's own watercolours that argues for regeneration of the dear old place. (Spectator)

Mr Rice's Osbert Lancaster-ish drawings record the neglected Victorian architectural jewels whose proud preservation he advocates. Stoke, hollowed out by industrial decline, is regarded as a dump by many in nearby Birmingham and Manchester. Mr Rice is a posh bloke from down south. Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out that the local under-acheiver is not as dumb or ugly as sneering neighbours say. (Jonathan Guthrie Financial Times)

Although clear-eyed about its imperfections, their [Matthew and Emma Bridgewater's] love and respect for the city is palpable - the seam that runs beneath this book. (Independent)

A lament for the destruction of our artistic and manufacturing past. The beautiful drawings of Stoke's buildings are annotated. I love the old-fashioned schoolmasterly approach. (Lady)

A delightful book for anyone with an interest in Stoke on Trent. It is a true celebration of all that Stoke has been and what Rice hopes it will be in the future. (Ceramic Review)

This charming book, illustrated throughout by the author's wity and informative watercolours, is a howwl of protest at what has been done to Stoke in the past, and a call to arms to save what remains. (House & Garden)

A visually mesmerising, historically captivating, and unrestrainedly opinionated view of the six towns, with the added edge of being written by an outsider. (North Staffordshire Magazine)

Even if you thought you would never have the slightest interest in Stoke on Trent, you cannot fail to be moved by this gorgeous book and its heartfelt message of hope. (Good Book Guide)

A heartfelt, occasionally critical, often amusing history of Stoke on Trent. (Bookseller Buyer's Guide)

About the Author

Matthew Rice is a painter, designer and writer. He is the author of Village Buildings of Britain (Little Brown), to which Prince Charles contributed a foreword. He lives in Norfolk with his wife, the potter Emma Bridgewater.

From humble beginnings, working a kiln set up in the bathroom of a squat she was living in, Emma Bridgewater has built up her eponymous pottery design business over the last twenty five years to a turnover of £8m. All of her ceramics are made in a nineteenth century factory on the Caldon canal in Stoke on Trent. She is married to Mathew Rice, and they collaborate on pottery designs. Emma and Matthew live in Oxford, but retain a home in Norfolk.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History brought to life. 3 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have lived in Stoke-on-Trent all my life and worked in the pottery industry for 25 years before being made redundant. In all that time i never had any interest in the history of either the industry or the local architecture, untill i read this book. It wouldn't matter if some of the facts weren't correct because the pictures alone are worth buying this book for. They are simmply beautiful to look at and the text turned out to be informative and interesting too. I was so impressed with this book and the interest it has stirred in me that i have just ordered another of Matthew Rice's books. If you have the slightest interest in the pottery industry, architecture, or water colour painted illustrations, then buy this book, it is a brilliant, lovely looking book for the money.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Potteries: the land that time forgot 5 Jan 2011
It takes an outsider to write a book such as this, looking for and finding the treasures of the Potteries which seemingly go unseen by the inhabitants themselves. The description of the "Six Towns" is excellent and the colour drawings (no photos) beautifully evocative, making the reader want to explore. The author is married to the owner of a pottery but the endpaper states that they live in Oxford and Norwich: in other words, as far away from Stoke-on-Trent as possible! A "must" for every exile such as me and a "must" for anyone with an interest in industrial archaeology.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia with a bite 9 Feb 2011
By Dirnan
I was brought up in Stoke, then left to go to university. Return visits have been irregular and always to a city that seemed determined on self destruction. It was never a particularly beautiful home city but it was my home city. In this book Matthew Rice has captured beautifully what is being lost in Stoke and surprised me on page after page of how much he has seen and how much I remember. I've now bought five copies for friends and relatives. Brilliant book and so honest in observation
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In it for the money, or do they really care? 25 Dec 2010
By cg1701
I was initially excited of the prospect of this book from the self named saviors of the pottery industry (well they seem like that with all the press they get!). It is always a delight to see a book about my home town. Having an avid interest in the history and heritage of Stoke-on-Trent myself. But what a disappointment in places. OK the book IS lavishly illustrated and is well laid out. But people that claim they have an interest in Stoke's heritage, who cannot even get the name Longton right (Langton in the book), and who name one of the potteries more noted of the remaining bottle oven sites name wrong, Ensign works!!!! (by the way its Enson Works for those interested)you have to think, are they really interested in our history, or just in it to make an easy bob or two.

The proof reader should be shot, and the author should be more careful and more researched not to have made these glaring errors in the first place.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really lovely book 18 Jan 2011
By Doddy
This a great book of Stoke. You forget about the rich history and beautiful buildings lost in the dereliction that Stoke has now become. Beautifully illustrated.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stoke on Trent Grand Designs 15 Jan 2011
Wonderful book, a work of art, a real treasure. The illustrations are excellent and every page has beautiful detailed drawings by the accomplished artist Emma Bridgewater. The book is well written, a very good read.
Stoke on Trent has some very interesting buildings, grand designs and quirky corners. If you live in the Five Towns check this book out it will open your eyes to some real architectural trasures which may have previously gone unnoticed.
I bought this a a Christmas present for a native of Staffordshire . He was thrilled with the book
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3.0 out of 5 stars Would like more details of various potteries 6 July 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
quite interesting.
Would like more details of various potteries.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed 2 Jan 2014
By Mark H
Having read the reviews, I asked for this for Christmas. I should perhaps, have read more carefully, and realised it is almost entirely dedicated to architecture, whilst my interest in Stoke history is far more general. Given that, I suppose the assumption by the author that the reader should understand all the terms used is not unreasonable, but my days it's full of waffle. There might be 150 pages, but they contain little more than a pamphlet of interesting material.

Worst of all though, are the childish drawings. Why no photos/maps to give context? It might as well be Narnia as Stoke-on-Trent. The captions are semi-literate and utterly unhelpful. 'A terrace in Shelton' - WHERE in Shelton? I was looking forward to using this book as a launch pad for exploration, instead it's going straight to Oxfam.

As mentioned by another reviewer, the proof reading is lamentable, especially when it seems the author knows little about Stoke. One account has a woman travelling North to Stoke on the train, arriving a Etruria, and THEN Stoke station! It makes no sense.

The irony is that I agree entirely with the sentiments, expressed more eloquently in the introduction. The book in no way does it justice.
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