Contact & About

TW's Potbank Dictionary - devised and written by Terry Woolliscroft. The peculiar words of the Staffordshire Potteries explained. Launched in 1976 when a volunteer at Gladstone Pottery Museum, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. This is not an academic work and was never intended to be! But it's a great way (I hope) of introducing you to the very strange and wonderful words used on the potbanks of the Staffordshire Potteries.

This site was archived for preservation
by the British Library
and is part of the following subjects:
Education & Research > Dictionaries, Encyclopaedias, and Reference Works

The UK Web Archive is a consortium of the six UK legal deposit libraries
which aims to collect all UK websites at least once each year

CONTACT ME - If you have any special Potteries words or terms which don't appear in the Potbank Dictionary do send them to me >
Thanks. You will be acknowledged in the text :)

Dialect pronunciation? 

If you read each dialect phrase out loud it will sound like the Potteries dialect. So "CYST WREN LOW" is how Stokies would say "sister in law" and "JO JO TELL" is the way we would pronounce "George Hotel"

Why Blogspot Blogger?

Why have I used a Blogger website and not created a full-blown dot-com website? Well, Blogspot Blogger is free and works OK. Also, it will still be available after I've popped my clogs!

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Finding it useful?  Perhaps buy me a coffee :)
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A Little Bit of History

The Potbank Dictionary has grown from humble beginnings.

I launched it in January 1976 as a regular column in The Friends of Gladstone Broadsheet and my first word was ARK. What a great word to launch it! Gladstone Pottery Museum in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, had just been opened by the Duke of Gloucester. David Sekers was the Director and The Honorable Hugh Gibson was the Friends Chairman.

The Gladstone Working Pottery Museum Story here>

I started my career in the pottery industry as a Production Management Trainee at Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent and it was there, during my 5-year training course, that I started collecting the wonderful words of the potteries. Actually, I don't know why I did it. But it seemed the 'right thing to do' and it was a fun way of learning. Getting the words and their definitions into print was very satisfying!

And having the Stokie dialect printed on a mug was even better! The mug was made by KilnCraft in two colours. Here's a flyer from about 1978.

This blog was created 30 years later when I had a little more time on my hands and the digital technology was developing and becoming easier ti use.

I visit the site regularly to refine the definitions, add more words and add more images. I'm delighted that the blog  has been archived for preservation by the British Library and is part of the following subjects: Education & Research - Dictionaries, Encyclopaedias, and Reference Works.   Hope you like it!


The must-see blog about Spode and its history. Everything you need to know - well almost!  here>

This site has been archived for preservation by the British Library


Lots of Spode history stored alphabetically. Explore and enjoy and keep coming back to see more entries as the blog is updated here>


From a crumbling and derelict shell of a potbank to an internationally renowned and unique museum of the Stoke-on-Trent Pottery Industry. Four coal fired bottle ovens still stand in the potbank yard. Steam engine, sliphouse, galleries of sanitaryware, tiles and pottery colour, workshops and of course the potters themselves ... follow The Gladstone Pottery Museum Story here>

Copyright Information

This website/blog has been created entirely for fun. I've enjoyed researching and making the information available to everyone. It's all about sharing knowledge. The site has no commercial interests and is for reference and educational purposes. Users of the site may use the content themselves only for educational, or personal, non-commercial use. Please fee free to make use of the information on the site for your personal use. I'd love you to acknowledge where you found the information and if you could create a link to the site that would be great.

Some material on the site has been assumed to be in the public domain - if you think that this is not so then please contact us so that I can correct any errors. 

The Author - Terry Woolliscroft

Stoke-on-Trent born Terry Woolliscroft enjoyed his entire career in the ceramics industry. At the age of 16, straight from school, he joined Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Ltd. The company sponsored his attendance at the North Staffordshire Polytechnic (now Staffordshire University) where he gained an Honours Degree in Ceramic Technology.

In 1976 he was a member of the team which surveyed the remaining bottle ovens in The Potteries. 

In 1978 he was a member of the organising committee of The Last Bottle Oven Firing in The Potteries. It was at this event that he met Alfred Clough, the 'fireman' responsible for the Final Firing. In 2018 he co-authored a book - the first written account of what went on during the last firing of a Potteries bottle oven.

Latterly he was employed in the sanitaryware industry working for Twyfords, Roca, Lecico, Laufen, The Bathroom Manufacturers Association, The John Lewis Partnership and B&Q. The last decade or so has seen him travelling the world passing on his knowledge of the industry in special training seminars. Now retired.

In his spare time he created specialist information websites which have been archived by The British Library: 
The Potbank Dictionary 

The Potteries Bottle Oven 

The Last Bottle Oven Firing 1978 

The Gladstone Pottery Museum Story

The History of Twyford Bathrooms

The History of the North Staffordshire Symphony Orchestra

He chose the Blogspot Blogger platform for the sites mainly because it is free (!) and hopefully will last longer than himself! 


If you would like to get in touch please email me here>

Do let us know if you find any errors, typos, or inaccuracies. We'd also love to know if you have any information which would add to the site - you will, of course, be acknowledged for it.

No personal data is stored on this site. No marketing communications are sent to anyone in the EU/UK.