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Stoke-on-Trent was formed in 1910 as a federation of six Staffordshire pottery towns—Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton, and Longton. The development of the conurbation was largely 19th cent. and owed much to the canal network, begun with the Trent and Mersey in 1775, which greatly facilitated the transport of pottery. The growing importance of the area was recognized by the Reform Act of 1832 which grouped the towns into the parliamentary borough of Stoke. By 1851 the total population was some 137,000 and by 1901 in excess of 300,000. An experiment after 1910 with the new council meeting in the six towns in turn was soon abandoned in favour of permanent headquarters at Stoke. There was considerable boundary extension and Stoke became a city in 1925. In Stoke City and Port Vale the area has two of the oldest clubs in the Football League. The population in 2002 was 254,400.
J. A. Cannon
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