Staffordshire – commonly abbreviated to Staffs is a
landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. Staffordshire
neighbours the ceremonial counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire,
Warwickshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire and Shropshire.
The largest city in Staffordshire is Stoke-on-Trent, which
is administered separately from the rest of the county as an independent
unitary authority. Lichfield also has city status although it is a
significantly smaller cathedral city. Principle towns include Stafford (the
county town), Burton upon Trent, Cannock, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Tamworth.
Wolverhampton and Walsall were also in Staffordshire until local government
reorganisation in 1974 when they were moved for administrative purposes to
within the West Midlands County. Geographically they are considered to be in
Apart from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire is separated into
the administrative districts of Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Lichfield,
Newcastle-under-Lyme, South Staffordshire, Stafford, Staffordshire Moorlands
and Tamworth. This local political division prevents Staffordshire from
effectively punching its weight economically.
In 1553 Queen Mary made Lichfield a county separate from the
rest of Staffordshire and it remained so until 1888. Part of the National
Forest lies within Staffordshire.
In July 2009, the
largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found in Britain was uncovered in a
field near Lichfield. The artefacts, known as The Staffordshire Hoard have
tentatively been dated to the 7th or 8th centuries, placing the origin of the
items in the time of the Kingdom of Mercia.
Two universities are located in Staffordshire. Keele
University is located in Newcastle-under-Lyme whilst Staffordshire University
has four campuses placed in Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford, Lichfield and Shrewsbury.
Stoke City, Port Vale and Burton Albion make up the three professional
football teams of Staffordshire. Stoke City, one of the oldest professional
football clubs in existence, were founded in 1863 and played at the Victoria
Ground for 119 years from 1878 until their relocation to the Britannia Stadium
in 1997. By the late 1930s, they were established First Division members and
boasted arguably the best footballer in England at the time in right-winger
Stanley Matthews, who had two spells with the club between 1930 and his
retirement in 1965 at the age of 50. In 2011 Stoke City reached their
first ever FA Cup final - a feat which made everybody in Staffordshire proud
but unfortunately they lost to a single goal from Manchester City.
Stafford Rangers, Hednesford Town and Leek Town are among
other non-league teams based within Staffordshire.
In the north and in the south Staffordshire is hilly, with
wild moorlands in the far north and Cannock Chase an outstanding area of
natural beauty in the south. In the middle regions the landscape is low and
undulating and Staffordshire's longest river, the Trent, flows across the
can be found throughout Staffordshire as well as abundant iron ore in the South
of the county. This led to the development of the Staffordshire pottery
industry which developed due to the influence of luminaries such as Josiah
Wedgewood and the abundant coal supplies which fired the kilns. Sadly the
industry has moved most of its production from Staffordshire to overseas but
the marketing, sales and specialist production still continues in Staffordshire.
Until the invention and use of machine in farming
agriculture was not really viable due to the large quantities of clay in the
soil but Staffordshire is now home to numerous farming enterprises.
Staffordshire is home to the highest village in Britain,
Flash. This village in the Staffordshire Moorlands stands at 463 m (1518 ft)
above sea level and the record was confirmed in 2007 by the Ordnance Survey
after Wanlockhead in Scotland also claimed the record. In keeping with the
trivial nature of the programme The BBC's The One Show ‘investigated’ the case
in a bid to settle the argument and Flash was confirmed as the highest. The
highest point in Staffordshire is Cheeks Hill.
Staffordshire has an extensive network of canals including the Birmingham and
Fazeley Canal, Caldon Canal, Coventry Canal, Shropshire Union Canal,
Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and Trent and Mersey Canal reflecting
its industrial heritage.
Staffordshire has excellent links to the national roads
network via the M6 and the A50 link to the M1. Several major roads intersect
the county, making Staffordshire a popular location for commuters working in
Birmingham, Manchester and the East Midlands.