My mother’s family was firmly rooted in this respectable little working-class enclave and according to census information my grandparents moved to Cliff Street somewhere between 1901 and 1911. The men in the family had worked in the coalmines practically ever since mining in North Staffordshire began. Both my grandfather’s and my grandmother’s families previously lived at Brown Lees, Biddulph, within walking distance of Biddulph Colliery. After that closed down, they moved to Nettlebank, near to Norton (Bellerton) and Sneyd Collieries.
When I was a child in the 1940s and 50’s I lived in Nettlebank, Smallthorne. But I was a ‘NETTLEBONKER’ which is distinct from being a ‘SMOTHENER’.
Nettlebank, as it was then, enjoyed an almost ‘Passport to Pimlico’ existence. We were cut off from Smallthorne on the East by the railway line which ran from Bellerton Colliery to the coal wharf. The coal wharf at Nettlebank with its high stone wall, part of which is still there, was our boundary to the North, while to the South lay Sneyd Green which was then thought of as a bit posh and a place to aspire to.