Once the thriving Potteries, now its main industry is Bet365, which, as one of the local Councillors informed me proudly, is the only new industry to come to the area since Michelin did in 1926. The Michelin now shut, alongside most of the Pot banks, pits, steel works, retail and two thirds of the Local Council, the biggest income, presently, is from benefits and student loans. Both of these sectors have grown exponentially. Along with, of course, the drugs trade.
Walk along virtually any SOT street and the whiff of cannabis will arrest the nostrils and if you didn’t know what it smelled like before, you will now. Still, it takes yer mind off just how run down the area has become and the ugliness of the bits that have actually been regenerated, with “modern” architecture so foul that at least one building made it on one of the Ugliest Buildings in the Uk shortlist.
As well as the usual chav element, which seems to be universal in most places these days, with little Chardonnay and her fella Kev tattooed up to the nines decked out in their finest leggings and shell suits. Sipping delicately their Lagers and never without a fag occupying their gobs. This means at least you’ll not be having to try to work out what they’re saying.
Sunny SOT seems to attract some of the worst expectations, with the Government itself reported to understand that the area is suitable only for warehousing and call centres ( this was a headline in the local newspaper a few years ago). Classy. And when you come out of the local Uni, clutching your BA In Jewellery Making, you’ll naturally want to stay in the area coz of the job opportunities.
Still, there are a couple of good employment options – Policing and Social Work – for various reasons and these honourable professions serve ALL the local cultural diversity. And offer real job security to boot.
And Stoke still hasn’t made it, even to number 10 in the list.
The bid for Stoke on Trent City of Culture- 2021. Oops! That went to Coventry……….