Burslem (/ˈbɜːrzləm/ BURZ-ləm) is one of the six towns that
amalgamated to form the city of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire,
2.1 Trade journals
3 Population and housing
8 The environment
10 Notable people
11 In popular culture
12 See also
14 External links
Burslem is on the eastern ridge of the Fowlea Valley, the Fowlea being
one of the main early tributaries of the River Trent.
the areas of Middleport, Dalehall, Longport, Westport, Trubshaw Cross,
and Brownhills. The Trent & Mersey
Canal cuts through, to the west
and south of the town centre. A little further west, the West Coast
Main Line railway and the
A500 road run in parallel, forming a
distinct boundary between
Burslem and the abutting town of
Newcastle-under-Lyme. To the south is Grange
Park and Festival Park,
reclaimed by the
Stoke-on-Trent Garden Festival.
Domesday Book shows
Burslem (listed as Bacardeslim) as a small
farming hamlet; strategically sited above a vital ford (crossing) at
Longport, part of the major pack horse track out of the Peak District
Staffordshire Moorlands to the Liverpool/London road. As far back
as the late 12th century a thriving pottery industry existed, based on
the fine & abundant local clays. After the Black Death, Burslem
emerges in the records as a medieval town - the 1536 stone church is
still standing and in use. Until the mid-1760s
Burslem was relatively
cut off from the rest of England; it had no navigable river nearby,
and there were no good & reliable roads. By 1777 the Trent and
Canal was nearing completion, and the roads had markedly
improved. The town boomed on the back of fine pottery production &
canals, and became known as 'The Mother Town' of the six towns that
make up the city. In 1910 the town was federated into the county
borough of Stoke-on-Trent, and the borough was granted city status in
Many of the novels of
Arnold Bennett evoke Victorian Burslem, with its
many potteries, mines, and working canal barges. The
Burslem of the
1930s to the 1980s is evoked by the paintings and plays of Arthur
Burslem contains Britain's last real working industrial district
(i.e.: where people live within walking distance of the factories of a
single heavy industry - in this case, the potteries); and thus much of
the nineteenth-century industrial heritage, buildings & character
have survived intact.
Disused Bottle ovens of Acme Marls on Bourne's Bank, Burslem,
Stoke-on-Trent, with St. John's Church, Woodbank Street, in the
background whose sandstone tower dates from 1536 (Photographed May
A recent report suggested the concentration of pottery-based heritage
makes the area the richest stretch of canal for industrial heritage in
"BURSLEM, an ancient town, with a market held for a long period by
custom, and subsequently sanctioned by an act of parliament, is about
three miles from Newcastle and two from Hanley, entitled to the
precedence of other towns in this district, as claiming to be the
mother, as it is the metropolis, of the
Staffordshire Potteries." 1828
"In the Doomsday Survey - for even in that early date
Burslem was a
place of some importance - the town appears, as "Burwardeslyn;" and
frequent mention is made of it in ancient documents during the Middle
Ages." 1893 journal
Population and housing
At the 1991 census count, the population of
Burslem was 21,400. A
study by consultants Atkins, working from the
United Kingdom Census
2001 data, showed that the
Burslem population is steady and has not
declined despite a manufacturing decline during the 1980s and '90s.
Victorian architecture and
Edwardian period terraced
houses dominate the town. New housing developments are underway on the
Sadlers Factory site and around Woodbank Street.
Heavy industrial employment (mines, steel and pots) has left a legacy
of ill-health among many older people, but there is the Haywood
Hospital (High Lane, Burslem) and the new £300-million University
Hospital of North
Staffordshire is just three miles away by road.
There were two electoral wards covering
Burslem at the 2011 Census,
Burslem Central and
At the 2011
Census the ethnic demographics of the
Burslem Central ward
White British and White Other - 83.5% Asian/Asian British - 9.0%
Mixed/multiple ethnic groups - 2.7% Black/African/Caribbean/Black
British - 2.3% Other ethnic group - 1.0%
At the 2011
Census the ethnic demographics of the
White British and White Other - 90.3% Asian/Asian British - 5.50%
Mixed/multiple ethnic groups - 1.92% Black/African/Caribbean/Black
British - 1.38% Other ethnic group - 0.8%
Industrial scale pottery production has drastically declined since the
1970s; but specialist makers (Steelite) and smaller producers of
high-value ceramics (Burleigh, Wade, Moorcroft) are thriving. Burslem
is emerging as a centre for small, freelance creative businesses
working in sectors such as fine art, animation and crafts as well as
The number of shops in the town centre have markedly declined, hit by
the impact of nearby out-of-town retail parks that offer free parking.
However, the evening economy is still active with a wide range of bars
and restaurants mainly serving English and Indian food.
The Leopard Inn is a listed building in Burslem, it is steeped in
history and the discovery of tunnels and 58 bedrooms that have been
left exactly as they were when they were sealed between the 1930s and
1950s. The Leopard Inn dates from the early 1700s. Initially a
coaching house and Inn, there has been a working pub on this site for
300 years or more. In 1878 a three-storey extension including 57 rooms
were built. The ambition was to create in
Burslem 'The Savoy of the
North'. The rooms to the front of the Leopard are today in use as a
pub and restaurant, and to the rear the hotel lies abandoned and
At Spring 2002 unemployment was 4.1% or 1,526 people in the
Stoke-on-Trent North constituency; almost the same rate as the West
Midlands as a whole. In
Burslem at 2001 unemployment was 3.2% and
In 2005, the building of business park units in the town. Further
business parks are planned for 2006/7 just to the north in Chatterley
Valley, and the south in Etruria Valley.
In 2007 a social enterprise newspaper, Local Edition, become one of
the first newspapers to cover the area regularly. The newspaper
covered Burslem, as well as surrounding areas including Tunstall,
Middleport and Cobridge, giving a voice to the people in the
community. The newspaper ceased publication in 2008 and its archive is
The old town hall, Burslem, built in 1854. Architect: G.T. Robinson.
Clayhanger Street, Burslem, by the side of the
showing the clock tower of
Burslem Town Hall in the background, May
Around 5 million tourists visit
Stoke-on-Trent each year,
supporting around 4,400 direct jobs. Stoke shows its popularity
through the number of repeat visits; around 80 percent of visitors
have previously been here.
Burslem has a variety of strong tourist
attractions; Burleigh, Moorcroft, Festival Park, its many pubs, and
the Trent & Mersey Canal.
Ceramica is one of the largest buildings
in Burslem, and was once the town hall.
It also has the legacy of novelist Arnold Bennett, who refers to the
town and many of its streets with thinly disguised names: e.g.
Burslem/"Bursley", Swan (Square and Pub)/"Duck". It is the setting for
one of his most famous works, the Clayhanger trilogy. Burslem's centre
benefits from having an almost-intact medieval street-plan and
countless fine old buildings, and a townscape which almost-totally
escaped re-development during the 1960s and 1970s.
After being under-used for years, the
Burslem School of Art
Burslem School of Art has been
refurbished at a cost of £2.1m and offers several large free art
galleries. The free Public Library is currently based in the School of
Art, after the Venetian Gothic
Wedgwood Institute closed for safety
reasons early in 2009.
Ceramica was a new award-winning ceramics
family attraction, based in the imposing old Town Hall and funded by
Millennium Lottery money but due to the loss of council funding has
been closed. The Queen's Theatre has regular concerts and an annual
There is a traditional Friday street market, and street carnivals in
May and December.
The major football club
Port Vale F.C.
Port Vale F.C. is based in
Burslem at Vale
Park. The team currently plays in League Two, England's fourth
Near to the town is
Burslem Golf Club - a 9-hole course which once had
Robbie Williams as a Junior Captain. It was opened on 28
September 1907 by vaudeville entertainer and golfer Sir Harry Lauder.
On 29 September 2007 his great-nephew Gregory Lauder-Frost as
guest-of-honour rededicated it for another century in a formal
Professional darts player, Phil Taylor is from Burslem.
Burslem is the site of the main campus of
Stoke-on-Trent College, the
Further Education college in England. The campus specialises
in media-production and drama. Stoke Studio College, a studio school
for 13- to 19-year-olds opened at the college campus in September
Within a six-mile radius from
Burslem there are three universities;
Staffordshire at Shelton, Keele University, and Manchester
Art & Design campus at Alsager.
The town is elevated and is not prone to flooding.
Burslem has a Victorian park designed by Thomas Hayton Mawson, and a
large amount of reclaimed green space, such as the Westport Lakes and
the later legacy of the 1986 National Garden Festival, which
imaginatively reclaimed part of the
Shelton Bar steelworks site. The
Peak District National
Park begins just ten miles north-east of
The nearby A500 gives access to the M6 motorway. Longport railway
station offers direct connections south into Stoke, east to
Nottingham, and north to
Crewe & Manchester. The town is straddled
by two major off-road cycle paths, part of the National Cycle Network.
The Trent and Mersey canal is said to see over 10,000 narrowboats a
year using it. The former
Canal was constructed in 1805 and
remained open until 1961 when it was breached. The
Canal was a
branch of the
Trent and Mersey Canal
Trent and Mersey Canal running from the junction near to
Newport Lane (opposite the old steel works) though to Furlong Lane
area of Middleport.
The nearest international airports are
Manchester & Birmingham
International; each is about 60 minutes away by train.
Burslem was served by a railway station which was opened by the North
Staffordshire Railway on 1 November 1873.
Burslem's most famous sons include the potter Josiah Wedgwood, the
watercolour painter James Holland (1800–1870), Ian "Lemmy"
Kilmister, the founder, bassist and lead singer of Motörhead, and
Robbie Williams, who was a major shareholder in Port Vale and whose
family are still resident in the area.
Darts legend and 16-time world
champion, Phil Taylor who was born, raised and also worked in the
In the 17th century,
Molly Leigh was resident of the town before being
accused of being a witch and dying before her trial. Painter James
Astbury Hammersley also came from Burslem.
William Frederick Horry owned the George Hotel in the 1860s before
murdering his wife Jane at his father's house in Boston, Lincolnshire.
Despite pleas for clemency he was hanged at
Lincoln Castle on 1 April
1872 and his body interred with other executed felons in the interior
of the Castle's Lucy Tower, where it can still be seen.
Also: William Clowes (Primitive Methodist); John Bennett (potter).
In popular culture
George Formby's first sound film, Boots! Boots!, got its world
Burslem in 1934.
The film adaptation of Arnold Bennett's The Card was partly filmed on
location in the town.
Robbie Williams included the song "
Burslem Normals"' on his album
Rudebox, released in 2006. A short film, "Goodbye to the Normals" was
A song "Waterloo Road" performed by
Jason Crest was written (by Mike
Deighan and Mike Wilsh) about the Waterloo Road in Burslem. The song
became very popular and even reached no. 1 in
France when the French
Joe Dassin covered it under the title "Les Champs Élysées".
The guitarist Slash, the former lead guitarist of Guns N' Roses, was
also an inhabitant of
Stoke-on-Trent in his early years. Ian Fraser
Kilmister, known as Lemmy, was an English musician, singer and
songwriter who founded and fronted the rock band Motörhead.
Burslem (UK Parliament constituency), abolished Parliamentary
Smallthorne, nearby area
Burslem Central Ward. Stoke MBC population 2011". Retrieved 21
Park ward, Stoke MBC population 2011". Retrieved 21
^ "Ward Profile with 2011
Census data. VERSION 3.0", Aug-16, Burslem
Census Data at http://www.ukcensusdata.com/
The Sentinel (Staffordshire)
The Sentinel (Staffordshire) (newspaper), Stoke-on-Trent, 4 October
2007, p. 47 (includes photo).
^ "Memory Lane". This Is Staffordshire. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
^ "Popular Music on Film". Google Books. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
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Burslem - one of the Six Towns
Burslem - in trade journals
Use interactive maps to search for historic artefacts and photographs
from old Burslem[permanent dead link]
Local Edition the local newspaper for Burslem
City and Unitary Authority area of Stoke-on-Trent
towns and wards
Abbey Green ward
Norton le Moors
Ceramic and Allied Trades Union
Federation of Stoke-on-Trent
History of Port Vale F.C.
History of Stoke City F.C.
Pottery In Stoke-on-Trent
Bethesda Methodist Chapel
Our Lady of the Angels and St Peter in Chains Church
Ford Green Hall
Winton Square (North
Burslem School of Art
Etruria Industrial Museum
Montagu C. Butler Library
Potteries Museum &
Potteries Shopping Centre
Stoke-on-Trent Garden Festival
Longton Cricket Club Ground
Meir Heath Cricket Club
Pits n Pots
BBC Radio Stoke
Cross Rhythms City Radio
Stafford (DAB Multiplex)
List of schools
Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College
Royal Stoke University Hospital
James Sadler and Sons Ltd
J. & G. Meakin
W H Grindley
Goodwin Steel Castings
Hanley Economic Building Society
Randles Motor Group
Association football teams
Trent and Mersey Canal
Longport railway station
Longton railway station
Stoke-on-Trent railway station
Stoke railway works
List of people
May un Mar Lady
Owd Grandad Piggott
Start Up Citywide
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Ceremonial county of Staffordshire
Boroughs or districts
Burton upon Trent
See also: List of civil parishes in Staffordshire
Birmingham & Fazeley
Staffs & Worcestershire
Trent & Mersey
Wyrley & Essington
Grade I buildings
Grade II* buildings