Stoke valley pictures in Art UK

A local selection from the Art UK website, a £6m online catalogue of all oil paintings in public ownership

Pratt, Henry Lark I; Trent Vale from Penkhull; The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/trent-vale-from-penkhull-20078

Pratt, Henry Lark I; Trent Vale from Penkhull; The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/trent-vale-from-penkhull-20078

Pratt, Henry Lark I; View of Shelton from Hartshill; The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/view-of-shelton-from-hartshill-20081

Pratt, Henry Lark I; View of Shelton from Hartshill; The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/view-of-shelton-from-hartshill-20081

Pratt, Henry Lark I; Boothen Mill, Stoke; The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/boothen-mill-stoke-20079

Pratt, Henry Lark I; Boothen Mill, Stoke; The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/boothen-mill-stoke-20079

Harper, W. K.; Wood's Pottery, Longport; Brampton Museum; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/woods-pottery-longport-18502

Harper, W. K.; Wood’s Pottery, Longport; Brampton Museum; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/woods-pottery-longport-18502

Wade, Maurice; North Round House and Bridge, Etruria; Wedgwood Museum; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/north-round-house-and-bridge-etruria-20312

Wade, Maurice; North Round House and Bridge, Etruria; Wedgwood Museum; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/north-round-house-and-bridge-etruria-20312

The Star Carr pendant

An 11,000 year old engraved shale pendant discovered by archaeologists during excavations at the Early Mesolithic site at Star Carr in North Yorkshire.”

scarcarr1

starcarr

Given that the scientists have show it was done in stages it’s clearly not a whole design like a tree or leaf. It represents a process, which is most likely to be related to hunting/foraging in a landscape. It looks to me like a map of a local river and its tributaries – plus notches to record hunting/foraging trips in the marshy fringes of that river and their relative success. Perhaps the owner might have had a collection of such pendants, to serve as guides to navigation and hunting along a river at different times of the year.

The Guardian plays ‘fantasy politics’ with Stoke

I spotted a recent letter in the left-wing Guardian newspaper, from someone who comes across as an extreme leftist of some sort…

“As a working-class male who taught in an area of Stoke–on-Trent with an unemployment rate of 80% and a life expectancy among males of 45…”

There may have been such an “area” of Stoke for a brief time, although I must say that I’ve never heard of it. Even Middleport, where I lived for many years, wasn’t that bad. When the steelworks and the mines shut, a great many working men moved rather than stay put and claim the dole. Frankly I have to doubt that the letter’s statistics are correct, unless perhaps they refer a tiny ‘special case’ electoral ward in some especially neglected bit of Normacot in the 1980s.

But the effect of the use of such statistics in The Guardian, in this age of speed-reading and drive-by politics, is to unfairly malign and misrepresent the whole city by elision. The real facts, from the 1980s to the 2000s, are quite quite easily found and are quite different for the city…

   “… in spite of the general decline in the manufacturing sector in the UK economy, the unemployment rate locally [in Stoke-on-Trent] is roughly at the national average, and has been falling both in absolute terms and relative to the average within the UK economy over the relevant period.” — from a detailed paper on Stoke-on-Trent and unemployment in the 1980s, included the major academic book On the Mysteries of Unemployment: Causes, Consequences and Policies, Springer, 2013.

   “… the unemployment rate [for Stoke-on-Trent] in 2006, at 5.1%, lay marginally below the regional (5.5%) and national (5.3%) levels” — report of the House of Lords, Select Committee on Economic Affairs, 2007-8.

   “Male life expectancy at birth in Stoke-on-Trent increased from 76.5 years in 2009-2011 to 76.7 years in 2010-2012.” — Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Earlier male life expectancy figures are given in this graph from another Stoke-on-Trent City Council research document…

lifeexp

George Orwell on Burslem, February 1936

George Orwell’s short account of Burslem, 80 years ago. He briefly saw the town from the road while walking north through England in early February 1936, during the depths of the Great Depression…

“Frightfully cold, bitter wind, and it had been snowing in the night; blackened snow lying about everywhere. Hanley and Burslem about the most dreadful places I have seen. Labyrinths of tiny blackened houses and among them the pot-banks like monstrous burgundy bottles half buried in the soil, belching forth smoke. Signs of poverty everywhere and very poor shops. In places enormous chasms delved out, one of them about 200 yards wide and about as deep, with rusty iron trucks on a chain railway crawling up one side, and here and there on the almost perpendicular face of the other, a few workmen hanging like samphire-gatherers, cutting into the face with their picks apparently aimlessly, but I suppose digging out clay. Walked on [in]to [the countryside at] Eldon and lunch at pub there. Frightfully cold. Hilly country, splendid views, especially when one gets further east and hedges give way to stone walls. Lambs here seem much more backward than down south.