Staffordshire’s Senior Museums Officer, Chris Copp, showcases the work of an American photographer who settled in the Potteries …
This selection takes us outside Stone to villages and places to the north of the town. These images were all taken by Longton-based photographer, William Blake, and are part of the collections of the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery.
William John Bailey Blake was born in the USA in 1874 but at an early age emigrated to England with his sister and widowed mother, who was originally from Newcastle-under-Lyme. By the early 1900s the family had settled in Longton, where William set up a stationer’s shop on Stafford Street (now the Strand).
Blake was a skilled and talented photographer and published many of his views as postcards, selling them in his shop. He was also interested in local history and natural history, and was for many years a key member of the North Staffordshire Field Club, acting as librarian for the society’s photograph collection.
Blake died in 1957, but his photographs remain as an invaluable record of working life and social conditions in the pottery and mining industries in the first half of the 20th century, as well as of landscape and buildings in and around the Potteries.
This is just a small section of over 1,400 of William Blake’s photographs which can be seen at www.staffspasttrack.org.uk (the Staffordshire Past Track website).
If you have any images to lend, or any extra information, please contact the Past Track team: Staffordshire Past Track, Staffordshire Archives & Heritage, Shugborough, Milford, Stafford ST17 0XB. Telephone 01889 881388. email: firstname.lastname@example.org