11 weird Stoke-on-Trent facts (how many did you know?)


From the slightly bizarre to the downright weird, some of these unusual facts linked to our fine city may well surprise you.

1. Sir Stanley Matthews never ate the crusts of bread – he always cut them off. So who knows, kids, if you stop eating your crusts then perhaps you too could become a world-class footballer.

2. We all know that Lemmy, Slash and Robbie Williams are all Stokies but did you know that chart-topper

Murdoc Niccals also hails from the city? Murdoc Faust Niccals (born Murdoc Alphonce Niccals) is the bassist for the band Gorillaz, alongside Damon Albarn from Blur.

Most bizarrely of all though is that Murdoc is a completely fictional character created by Damon Albarn and inspired by a young Keith Richards.

3. The Stoke City squad once included a vicar in midfield. Father Elijah Smith took off his cassock to play for the Potters in the 1880s.

The half-back, who was in charge of a church in Stoke, starred in the club’s first ever league win, over Notts County – but he didn’t bless the team with much luck on their travels. The vicar started 12 away league games and lost 11.

4. We all know that actor Neil Morrissey grew up in a children’s home in Penkhull, but did you know that’s where his tattoos originate from too?

He has reportedly said that other children at the home threatened to beat him up if he didn’t agree to ‘being inked’, and that he now regrets not opting for the beating.

Neil Morrissey

5. Did you know that the tiles on the floor of the Houses of Parliament were made in Stoke-on-Trent, by Minton?

6. Most people know that Edward Smith, the captai of the Titanic, was born in Hanley, but did you know that his grandson was a war hero? Simon Melville, the son of Captain Smith’s daughter, Helen, was in the RAF and lost his life during the Second World War.

7. Calling people ‘duck’ apparently has nothing to do with aquatic birds. It’s said to come from the Saxon word ‘ducas’ from which the title of duke was derived.

8. Not such a cheerful one this, but have you heard about the candle maker who fell into a hole in Hanley and was never seen again? You can read the full story here.

Thomas Holland was walking along St John Street in what is now the city centre back in 1903 when a disused pit shaft opened beneath him. His body has never been found.

Thomas Holland, who was killed when a pit shaft suddenly opened up beneath him.
Thomas Holland, who was killed when a pit shaft suddenly opened up beneath him.

9. Eddie Hall may have been crowned World’s Strongest Man, but at school he was a champion swimmer and was once considered to have Olympic potential. We think he’d make a big splash in the pool.

Should Eddie Hall, who backed Stoke-on-Trent's City of Culture bid, be granted the freedom of the city?
Eddie Hall.

10. Although it’s often referred to as a castle, Mow Cop is actually a folly and was constructed to look as if it had once been part of a larger castle structure.

11. Etruria Industrial Museum is actually the location of the area’s first public hospital. Some people claim that the site is haunted, including the alleged sighting of a ‘ghostly barge’ back in the 1990s.





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