One thing that Stoke-on-Trent is really good at is dereliction. Many of the buildings were jerry built anyway, the traditional pottery industry was well known for its chaotic buildings, just read Arnold Bennetts’ Clayhanger for a good description. The housing though has often been made of very good quality brick, though tightly packed and left by successive landlords to rot for over a century. Today’s photographs were taken on Friday in Middleport, it was a cold sunlit morning, ice on the puddles. I had noticed from the bus a few times the completely cleared area and how they had left the street lights standing and ‘houseless’ streets, I’m not sure what they plan eventually, but it has become an odd open area in what was a huddled up community near the canal and opposite the former teapot factory. The plight of communities makes for photogenic images and the boarded up streets of Middleport are no different, other people’s poverty is highly exploitable for interesting images, nice new builds not so! Middleport has been blighted by many plans and grant schemes from outside bodies, none of which ever seem to run to their fruition, it is far too complex to cover here and needs its own history, but as I said it does make for some interesting bleak images.

Click on images to enlarge.

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2 thoughts on “Plight

  1. You put it very well Tim. Some rather haunting photographs but Middleport has been a very sad area for many, many years and by the looks of your photos it’s going to improve any time soon. When I was a student back in the mid 80’s a friend had a maisonette near the canal. I remember lots of the terraced houses that had turned their front room into tiny shops. But they were all rather pathetic…..with hardly any stock and very few customers. The one we frequented was an off licence where we took our own plastic bottles in and got them filled with whatever the cheapest alcohol was. Do they still have any of these places or have they all closed down now?


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