An article in the local paper today states, very much in passing, that Karl Marx once visited The Potteries district (Stoke-on-Trent, north Staffordshire). It’s news to me and I can find no reference to such a visit, via Google Books. Also, I did a keyword search in the full-text of all the major biographies of Marx — such as those by Werner Blumenberg, Francis Wheen (both titles, one on Marx, one on Kapital) and others. I searched their full-text for keywords: Stoke | Potteries | Hanley | and Staffordshire. The results reveal “no results” on all such searches.
Surely Marx’s major biographers, or some other book accessible via Google Books, would have mentioned Marx making a visit to the Potteries? Surely the venerable local historian and socialist Fred Hughes would have mentioned such a visit in print, at some time in the past thirty years? But no, it seems they didn’t.
I also searched the complete online archive of Marx’s letters at http://www.marxistsfr.org/archive/marx/letters/ for the keywords: Stoke | Potteries | Hanley | and Staffordshire. Again, no mentions. I even tried a search for Pottery. Again, no mention of even so much as a humble pot.
So I can only assume that the author of this rather slight article in the local paper was thinking of the use made by Marx of some questionable statistics on the Potteries, and that he was assuming that these figures must have been collected by Marx during a personal visit to the district. They weren’t.