Welcome to The Phoenix Trust’s website.
A not for profit foundation, The Phoenix Trust was established to make the North Staffordshire Coalfield’s Industrial Landscape and the Churnet Valley a World Heritage Site.
World Heritage Site Status is granted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation to recognise the important role a region has played in world history.
Historically, there is nothing to prevent the North Staffordshire Coalfield’s Industrial Landscape and the Churnet Valley becoming a World Heritage Site.
The Industrial Revolution, which made Britain “the workshop of the world” began when James Brindley, who lived at Turnhurst near Chell, devised and constructed a national canal network that linked the new industrial towns with the major ports – London, Liverpool, Hull and Bristol.
North Staffordshire’s industrial heritage began 2000 years ago at Chesterton when the Romans built an industrial village where there were furnaces producing iron and workshops making pottery.
During the middle ages coal was mined in the Biddulph Valley. There were ironstone mines and furnaces at Tunstall and Apedale. Earthenware was manufactured in the small towns and villages which later became the Potteries.
By the beginning of the 18th century pottery was being exported to North America and the West Indies. During the Industrial Revolution our region was at the cutting edge of economic development. Wedgwood, Adams, Minton and Spode laid the foundations of an industrial conurbation which for over 200 years was the centre of the world’s ceramic industry.
At the beginning of the 19th century Hugh Bourne and William Clowes founded Primitive Methodism whose influence gave the six towns their unique culture and a way of life that was so vividly described by Arnold Bennett.
Despite North Staffordshire’s industrial decline, its architectural heritage remains intact.
Tunstall still has its early 19th century market square and late Victorian Civic Centre.
Burslem and Hanley have Heritage Parks which were designed by Thomas Mawson the world’s leading landscape architect.
Pre-federation town halls still survive in the six towns, which have all retained their distinctive character.
We have five major museums – The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, the Wedgwood Museum at Barlaston, the Gladstone Pottery Museum, Etruria Industrial Museum and Ford Green Hall.
A large number of bottle ovens and kilns have survived in Longton but much more importantly we have four things which merit World Heritage Site status in their own right. They are:
- Biddulph Grange
- Chatterley Whitfield Colliery
- The Wedgwood Institute in Burslem and
- The canal and railway tunnels under Harecastle Hill, between Chatterley and Kidsgrove.
To learn more see The North Staffordshire Coalfield – A Potential World Heritage Site at http://www.northstaffordshire.co.uk/?p=8
The Phoenix Trust