What heritage means to me: Ruth Smeeth MP

Ruth Smeeth MP
Ruth Smeeth MP
In our new series, What Heritage Means To Me, we’re asking MPs to share their top tips for local heritage. This month, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North Ruth Smeeth reveals what's special about her constituency.

What’s the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear the word “heritage”?

I instantly think of British history.

What’s your favourite heritage in Stoke-on-Trent North? 

Burslem Town Hall. It’s Grade II listed and one of the city's most well-known historic buildings.  

Why is Stoke-on-Trent North historically important? 

It’s the Mother Town of the Potteries; an area officially recognised as the World Capital of Ceramics.

Is there a fact about Stoke-on-Trent North that not many people know?  

More tableware is produced in Stoke-on-Trent now than 20 years ago. 

What’s your favourite UK heritage? 

The Houses of Parliament.

Who is your favourite historical figure?

Clement Attlee; he delivered real and lasting change for working people. 

Do you have a favourite bit of parliamentary heritage? 

The plaque to Emily Wilding Davison which was put up in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft by Tony Benn MP. Tony Benn said in the House of Commons in 2001: "I have put up several plaques—quite illegally, without permission; I screwed them up myself. One was in the broom cupboard to commemorate Emily Wilding Davison, and another celebrated the people who fought for democracy and those who run the House.

"If one walks around this place, one sees statues of people, not one of whom believed in democracy, votes for women or anything else. We have to be sure that we are a workshop and not a museum."

Where was the last heritage attraction you visited? 

Middleport Pottery.

Which heritage highlights should visitors to Stoke-on-Trent North make sure to see?

The Arnold Bennett walking tour of Burslem. Burslem Park: a reinstated classical Victorian park. Middleport Pottery. Ford Green Hall: the oldest building in Staffordshire. Tunstall Park and the Floral Hall. Memorials to the former local pits in every community. Victoria Hall in Kidsgrove. Canals in the local area and the beautiful historic canal boats.

Find out more about Stoke-on-Trent North

  • HLF has invested over £12.6million in Stoke-On-Trent North since 1994
  • Burslem Park was awarded over £2.1m in 2008. HLF’s investment was used to revive the heritage and wildlife of the park. Work included the restoration of the pavilion, the terrace, the rose garden and the main entrance as well as environmental and educational programmes for schools and families
    [quote]“More tableware is produced in Stoke-on-Trent now than 20 years ago.”[/quote]
  • The transformation of Middleport Pottery saved traditional skills in danger of being lost and is sparking regeneration of the local area. Opened in 1889, Middleport Pottery is a rare Grade II* listed example of a site still manufacturing world-famous pottery using traditional methods and buildings
  • One of England’s most ‘at risk’ Victorian buildings, the Wedgwood Institute in Burslem is set to be restored thanks to HLF investment of £2.6m. The Grade II* listed building will be transformed into an enterprise centre for start-up businesses; it is estimated that the Institute could provide space for around 20 to 25 businesses, creating up to 150 jobs for local people

Explore and share your local heritage on Twitter using the hashtag #LoveHeritage.

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