I am a Smallthorne lad born and bred and now intend to make sure that more Smallthorne history is recorded. If you search for Smallthorne on the internet you will find a few entries and the main one is a Wikipedia page that outlines the beginning of Smallthorne as a rural area with the main farmhouse of Ford Green Hall still standing through its industrial life with an iron works, chain works and coal mines. It was then as is it today with its roundabouts today a hub of sorts. Back then it was rail and canals linking mines and now its roads converge at the top of the hill leading to Burslem, Hanley, and Chell etc.
A part of the moorlands until the late 1800’s connected with Norton le moors until 1894 when it became Smallthorne Urban District then in 1922 it became part of the Urban Borough of Stoke on Trent. As the conurbation of Stoke on Trent became unified it was clear that there was a duplication of Street names which was addressed in the 1950’s when many streets were renamed, details can be found on thepotteries.org website.
The industry of Smallthorne attracted people from other mining communities and folk from the Black Country although the majority of the names appearing on census records are generally the same. As a lad born in the late 1960’s and growing up in the village through the 70’s and 80’s it seemed that everyone knew everyone and as well as working together, in the main industries of coal, steel and the potts, people drank together in the numerous pubs and clubs that seemed to be on every street.
For me and many of those who never seemed to have moved far away it was the epitome of a tight knit community and as an adventurous boy that meant you couldn’t get away with much. People were still called Mr and Mrs and there was a peer group as you grew into manhood and drank in the local pubs. I knew every street as a paper lad and can still remember where I got most of my scrapes and bruises and unlike many of its surrounding neighbourhoods Smallthorne always has and always will hold a special place in my heart and my memory. I hope through perseverance to get the village some of the credit it deserves. Today’s people, places and events are tomorrow’s history and I hope Smallthorne folk will always look back with happy memories.
Written by Barry Ashley