Archive for the ‘Stoke-on-Trent’ Category


Treezilla beta… “We’re making a monster map of Britain’s trees. Use Treezilla to record the trees near you…” The front page needs a little layout tweaking for Chrome, but it’s still in beta.

On the map

The global OpenStreetMap convention is coming to Birmingham, England, 6th-8th September 2013. Map-makers might also be interested to know that The Society of Cartographers annual conference and summer school will be in Stoke-on-Trent, near Birmingham, on the 2nd-4th September 2013. Lots of Stoke & Staffordshire -specific mapping talks on the programme, plus a map illustrator’s […]

New UK broadband survey – Birmingham fastest, Stoke-on-Trent most consistent

Birmingham has the fastest average UK broadband speeds at peak time: 12.88Mbps, according to a large new survey by “uSwitch [which] used the results of 2.3 million speed tests across the UK”. The city of Stoke-on-Trent also came top, for consistent speeds… “Stoke-on-Trent residents see the most consistent broadband speeds throughout the day”. A similar […]

HS2 through the northern Midlands

Phase 2 of the proposed High Speed 2 rail line (circa 2032, if ever) has just been announced: Birmingham – Crewe – Manchester, and also a spur for Birmingham – Derby/Nottingham – Sheffield – Leeds. No Stoke or Keele station, but there’s interesting talk in today’s Independent of… “a “dedicated link” alongside the high-speed line […]

New 2013 events listing

I made a quick calendar for 2013 digital and creative events in the West Midlands. Doubtless there are many more to come, and the arts in particular haven’t yet got their collective head around 2013.

Rust, Regeneration and Romance

Interesting Midlands conference set for 10th to 14th July 2013, at Ironbridge in Shropshire. Rust, Regeneration and Romance: Iron and Steel Landscapes and Cultures… “This conference seeks to engage in an open multi-disciplinary analysis of iron and steel landscapes and cultures, from the ancient to the modern.”

Katherine Morling in Stoke

Some of Katherine Morling’s new ceramic sculptures, based on creatures depicted in the ancient Staffordshire Hoard. New publicly-funded £70,000 commission for the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. The show opens today, in the Staffordshire Hoard show at the Museum.

Foursquare opens up

Foursquare has opened up its basic location and venue info, so you no longer need to actually register to see the hot spots on a map, and to click through to the page for each venue/location. Foursquare’s initial location search system seems a little confused: tell it you’re in “North Staffordshire” and it takes you […]

“Robinson Crusoe guiding his Raft up the Creek” by Samuel Palmer

“Robinson Crusoe guiding his Raft up the Creek” by Samuel Palmer. My picture of it is a rubbish colour-shifted digicam photo of the original, in low light, which totally fails to catch the subtle central sunburst. There’s also an unfortunate carpet-reflection which appears to continue the sea horizon into the land. But an image of […]

TEDx Stoke: City 2.0

There was something uncannily gothic about much of today’s TEDx Stoke: City 2.0 event. The venue set the gothic mood, a vertiginous room at the very top of a high and crow-haunted tower, surrounded by a mist-shrouded landscape running away in all directions. Above: The YMCA Tower, the tallest public building in the city, on […]

Paine Proffit at The Public

Stoke-on-Trent artist Paine Proffit has a free show opening tomorrow at The Public, West Bromwich. “The Book of Albion” runs from 4th July 2012 – 9th September 2012, and it features a survey of his fine painted work for the covers of the West Browich Albion Football Club programme…

The Midlands and the roots of English Romanticism

An interesting short article at The Spectator this week, by Austen Saunders. It shows that Charles Cotton’s poem “The Retirement” (1676) could well have been a key ideological template for English Romanticism. I’m no expert on Romanticism, but it’s a convincing argument, and all the more so if you also know that Cotton was highly […]

5-day BBC weather forecast gets an elegant design makeover

Loving the new design for the BBC five-day weather forecast on the Web… The forecast has become remarkably accurate over the last decade or so, especially at the 48 hour range. Anyone with old fashioned preconceptions about ‘not being able to trust a weather forecast’ might do well to think again in regard to their […]

The Kidsgrove to Stoke Ridgeway: a walk

My new free ebook, of nearly 100 pages: The Kidsgrove to Stoke Ridgeway: an elevated green route, to walk from Kidsgrove Station to Stoke Station (5Mb PDF). It photographs and describes a new ten-mile ridge walk, going all the way down the edge of the Stoke-on-Trent valley. I’d estimate that about eight miles of the […]


When you average out car speeds, it appears that cars in most parts of the West Midlands are travelling at about the same speed as a fit commuter cyclist, or a sprinting athletic man.


Congratulations to Les Jones of Woore (a village west of Newcastle-under-Lyme in North Staffordshire, right on the Staffordshire/Shropshire border). His one-man creative magazine, titled Elsie, has just been voted one of the top ten new magazines of 2011, by the New York Library Journal. The Journal wrote that… “It’s a bit risky to select the […]

Two Universities Way

I’ve rustled up a quick new photo-guide pamphlet for walkers. The Two Universities Way describes and shows a new green five-mile walk, between Staffordshire University and Keele University. It’s been produced for the North Staffordshire Woodland Walks Week, happening in this first week of May 2012. Much of the walk is dominated by mature trees […]

Creative Stoke is 10

My Creative Stoke website and regular newsletter is now 10 years old.

Time-limited local history research groups

I like the idea of time-limited project-based local history research groups, based in local museums but open to the interested public with suitable research skills. I can’t say I’ve heard of such things before, but one is being advertised locally — to research the life of a town during Elizabethan times and to coincide with […]

Geek or nerd

A pretty good attempt at nailing the obvious differences between geeks and nerds. Nerds also tend to be a lot more productive, making genuinely new stuff, while geeks tend toward a more passive fanboy-ish consumption and a little tinkering at the edges (mild gadget hacking, graphic design tweaks). Geeks, for instance, would never consider creating […]