Fenton is the `forgotten town' in the vels of Hanley-born author Arld Bennett. He chose to write of the Five Towns, deliberately omitting Fenton, which at the time of his writing was only an urban district. He argued that `five' - with its open vowel - suited the broad tongue of the Potteries people better than `six'. Fenton has never really forgiven him - but in truth, its battle to forge an identity of its own has been ongoing. Historically, it consisted of a number of scattered settlements radiating from that section of the old turnpike road between Stoke and Longton. Most people passed straight through it. However, the enterprise of pottery manufacturers and the prevalence of local collieries established Fenton as a town of grit and graft. Though t always a pretty place, there is better town than Fenton to study the history of the potteries.
Mervyn Edwards is the author of many published books on North Staffordshire history and is a weekly columnist for the Sentinel's The Way We Were nostalgia magazine. He has appeared on BBC TV's The One Show and Twenty Four Hours in the Past, and is a familiar voice on Radio Stoke. He was a local history tutor for the Workers' Educational Association for eight years and helped to develop the education department at the now-defunct Chatterley Whitfield Mining Museum, where he often acted in period drama for school groups. Mervyn runs an annual history programme in North Staffordshire. He is also MC of Burslem History Club and a member of the Potteries branch of the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA).