Administrative (pop., 2001: 806,737), geographic, and historic county, west-central England. Staffordshire's northern moorlands form the southern tip of the Pennines, and it encompasses the coalfield region known as The Potteries. Traces of Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age settlements remain. The Romans built roads through the area; it was the centre of the kingdom of Mercia in the 7th–9th centuries. The Danes ravaged it at the end of the 9th century. Staffordshire has mined coal and iron since the 13th century. Its pottery industry became famous in the 18th century with the innovations of Josiah Wedgwood. The seat of the administrative county of Staffordshire is Stafford.
Learn more about Staffordshire with a free trial on Britannica.com.
The largest city in ceremonial Staffordshire is Stoke-on-Trent. Lichfield also has city status, though only by the archaic definition (it has a cathedral), and is considerably smaller. The much larger Wolverhampton and Walsall were also in Staffordshire until local government reorganisation in 1974, but are now within the West Midlands. Major towns include Burton upon Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Cannock, Tamworth, and Stafford itself.
Staffordshire is divided into a number of districts. These are Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Newcastle-under-Lyme, South Staffordshire, the Borough of Stafford, Staffordshire Moorlands, and Tamworth. Stoke-on-Trent is administered as an independent unitary authority.
The historic boundaries of Staffordshire cover much of what is now the metropolitan county of West Midlands. An administrative county of Staffordshire was set up in 1889 under the Local Government Act 1888 covering the county except the county boroughs of Wolverhampton, Walsall, and West Bromwich in the south (the area known as the Black Country), and Hanley in the north. The Act also saw the towns of Tamworth (partly in Warwickshire) and Burton upon Trent (partly in Derbyshire) united entirely in Staffordshire.
Handsworth and Perry Barr became part of the county borough of Birmingham in the early 20th century, and thus associated with Warwickshire. Burton, in the east of the county, became a county borough in 1901, and was followed by Smethwick, another Black Country town in 1907. In 1910 the six towns of the Staffordshire Potteries, including Hanley, became the single county borough of Stoke-on-Trent.
A major reorganisation in the Black Country in 1966, under the recommendation of the Local Government Commission for England led to the creation of an area of contiguous county boroughs. The County Borough of Warley was formed by the merger of the county borough of Smethwick and municipal borough of Rowley Regis with the Worcestershire borough of Oldbury : the resulting county borough was associated with Worcestershire. Meanwhile, the county borough of Dudley, historically a detached part of Worcestershire, expanded and became associated with Staffordshire instead. This reorganisation led to the administrative county of Staffordshire having a thin protusion passing between the county boroughs (to the east) and Shropshire, to the west, to form a short border with Worcestershire.
Under the Local Government Act 1972, on April 1, 1974 the county boroughs of the Black Country and the Staffordshire urban district of Aldridge-Brownhills became, along with Birmingham, Solihull, and Coventry and other districts, a new metropolitan county of West Midlands. County boroughs were abolished, with Stoke becoming a non-metropolitan district in Staffordshire, and Burton forming an unparished area in the district of East Staffordshire. On April 1, 1997, under a recommendation of the Banham Commission, Stoke-on-Trent became a unitary authority independent of Staffordshire once more.
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
The Britannia Building Society is based in Leek. JCB are based in Rocester near Uttoxeter. Alton Towers is nearby. Alstom has a factory in Stafford, with some (power transmission) being sold in 2003 to Areva.
Staffordshire is also home to the highest village in England, Flash. The village in the Staffordshire Moorlands stands at 463 m (1518ft) above sea level. This record was confirmed in 2007 by the Ordnance Survey after Wanlockhead in Scotland also claimed the record. The BBC's 'The One Show' investigated the case in a bid to settle the argument and Flash turned out to be the highest.
The M42 has a junction in Tamworth at the south-east of the county, and heads south-west towards Birmingham. The M6 runs north through the county and junctions 10A-16 are in the county. The M6 Toll, the UK's first toll motorway, runs through the county with junctions in Weeford near Lichfield, Cannock and joins the M6 heading north towards Stafford.