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NOT the place to be!
Stoke-on-Trent in General
Member Name: danxxx
Stoke-on-Trent in General
Date: 27/04/03, updated on 27/04/03 (4053 review reads)
Advantages: Hanley's OK., Near to some nice places.
Disadvantages: Poor, Boring, A mess.
Now, first things first. As I write this review, I see that this is going to be the only negative opinion so far. As far as I am concerned, the other reviews only seem to point out the good parts of the city, so for this review, I'm going to point out the bad parts.
Having said that these people are looking at it through rose coloured specs, maybe the city does have some attractions for the older person - i.e. it has rubbish night life so it isn't noisy, it has plenty of museums for people who enjoy that sort of thing, and it isn't too busy as far as traffic is concerned (I wonder why...)
I have lived in Stoke-on-Trent all my (short) life, but to be totally honest, I can't wait to get away from the place!
If you're a visitor arriving on the train, the first thing you see out of your window when approaching the station are the many redundant factories that are in the area. These building, who it seems nobody has bothered to clean up, make the place look like the whole city is unsafe and that buildings will fall down around you - this of course is untrue but it does create a rather unfavourable impression of the place.
My advice, if you are a visitor, stay on the train and get off somewhere else - it's nice a few miles either direction of Stoke-on-Trent! But if you do decide to visit, this is what greets you.
You leave the station and get on a bus to Stoke (which you believe to be the city centre - well, you would think so wouldn't you?) You get off at a row of bus stops to be greeted by about 3 shops - Woolworth’s (which is the only Woolworth’s in the country that doesn't stock video tapes...) Sainsbury's and a rather smelly cafe on the corner. Ok, maybe there is more than 3 shops, (a small gift shop etc, but not many more.) At this point, you think "what a complete dump. Is that it?" So, you turn round the corner expecting to see loads more shops, only to stumble across a row of shops wh
ich are mostly empty, apart from charity shop and a errr, second hand furniture 'shop'. The of course, there's the market - there's a few good stalls which, may I at this point note, are round the back of Woolworth’s (not the most prestigious of places is it?)
Now, if as you read this, you're think "I'll never visit there" you would be right in thinking this, but you'd also be wrong in that this isn't it (the centre I mean.):
Hanley is the main centre of the city - this is very confusing because you would think its Stoke wouldn't you? Many visitors come to Stoke thinking it's the city centre & still to this day believe it's the city centre! Well, let me tell you, it's not. -
Go to Hanley! It's one of the good things about the city that's ok. (Not fantastic, but ok.) It actually has a decent range of shops, WH Smith, Woolworth’s, HMV (but no Virgin), Tesco, Debenhams, BHS etc. It has an absolutely gorgeous (I think not) 1960's shopping centre (if you can call it that - it now, to my knowledge, has 1 shop left, all the rest have been boarded up.) But don't despair, we also have a good shopping centre - The Potteries Centre - it's modern, has all the shops you could need, including a food court & is actually a nice building - I mean, not too ugly.
So, you've now seen the proper centre, its beginning to go dark - time for a bit of nightlife. Hanley has a few bars, restaurants, but I can't comment on the quality of the food, as I never eat there. There are also some nightclubs, but not fantastic ones.
So what did I mean by Hanley's "not fantastic, but ok"? Well, it has got nothing outstanding. Other cities seem to be going forward in terms of culture, jobs, and entertainment. We seem to be going back. A few years ago, that 1960's shopping arcade I mentioned had just 1 closed down shop. Now, in 2003, practically every shop in there has g
one. Shops aren’t attracted to our city, they seem to come and go (apart from the shops in the main centre like HMV, which are well established.
Out of town, we have Festival Park - an out-of-town retail development which has some large stores - Morrisons, B&Q, Toys 'R' Us etc. It is also home to a leisure complex, 'Waterworld' which is great fun.
There are some good parts to the city as you can see. What really lets it down is the many redundant factories & warehouses which litter the city. Nobody seems to care anymore about presentation and these places are just left, broken windows and all. There also seems to be an increasing amount of vandalism in the way of graffiti, smashed bus shelters etc.
Talking of buses, our service is absolutely dreadful AND expensive. You cannot rely on the buses for anything. They're late, expensive and full because services have been missed out, making people stand at a bus stop for 1 hr+. London has the Underground, which is fast, and regular, we have a ticket called 'The Overground’, which, let me tell you, is not fast and regular.
Housing in the city is a mixed bag. Think of Stoke and you probably get images of line upon line of terraced housing - this is of course true. Many of these homes are now in such a state of disrepair, they have no roofs, and have bricked up windows - not all but some. Despite this, there are also some nice areas (one of which I'm fortunate enough to live in) Trentham is one such area where property prices are some of the most expensive in the city. It's made up of a modern estate with plenty of large family detached and semi-detached houses.
In and around Stoke-on-Trent, you will also find many nice villages, with equally nice properties. We're situated near to the Peak District so a lovely country walk isn't far away - just expect to come back to Stoke with an even lower opinion of the place than before you left (seeing some of the
lovely Peak District villages just makes you realise what a dump Stoke-on-Trent is.)
If you're looking for a job, Stoke is also not the place to be. The area is one of the most poorly paid in the country and also has rubbish career prospects - if you're looking for a well paid career, you need to be in one of the big cities like London or Manchester.
You might then say "yes, but property prices are cheaper so the fact that the pays poor doesn’t matter.” Wrong. Property prices may be cheaper, but cars aren’t cheaper, nor food, or anything else.
If you’re a student, I wouldn’t recommend you come here to study. Trust me, you’ll regret it. The place is unexciting, boring and certainly not vibrant.
So, to sum up Stoke-on-Trent. It does have some good points like Hanley for shopping and the fact that it isn’t too far away from some nice places, but in my view, there are far more bad points than good points. It’s poor, unexciting and a mess.
My advice – stay on the train!