Then And Now In Stoke on Trent

By Paul Homewood




A Factory scape in the Potteries’, (1938)

A couple of weeks ago, I ran a post on Clean Air Day, which featured the above photo of what Britain used to look like when air pollution really was bad.

One reader, Kevin O’Sullivan, has managed to locate that image in Stoke on Trent and has compared it to what the area looks like today. I’ll let him tell the story:


A couple of weeks ago, Paul Homewood posted another brilliant observation via his NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT website, relating to the absurd notion that we are now suffering from crippling air pollution….along with the usual global warming; famine; pestilence; droughts; floods; plagues of Locusts etc, etc.

An image accompanying Paul’s "Clean Air Day" blog was of a Factory Scape ( Fig1), showing what real air pollution was like in the Potteries back in 1938.

Anyway: as I had some spare time over the weekend, I thought I would have a try at discovering the actual location of where that photo was taken, and see what changes, if any, have occurred during the intervening years. I live in the South East and didn’t fancy a long trip up north on a whim, so I used Google Street View and a few old online maps to get my bearings. One great help in establishing the location was seeing the corner of what looked like a football stand in the bottom RH corner. I was then able to establish that the building was in fact the original Stoke City football ground, named Victoria after a nearby pub’. 

I found another photo of the Potteries taken in the 1950’s (Fig 2), showing the faint outline of a church through the pollution, which I was able to identify as St James’ church Stoke. From that information, and using more old maps, I deduced where the original photo had been taken.      

You can see the then and now images below.   






Many thanks to Kevin for his work.


June 28, 2021 at 01:18PM

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