The bottle ovens of Stoke are a familiar sight and a reminder of an era when thousands of local people were employed in the pottery industry. There were over 2,500 coal-fired ovens and kilns in operation before 1936 and 'Smokey Stoke' earned its soubriquet from its billowing clouds of black smoke. Net curtains never stayed white for long and mothers, putting babies outside for 'fresh air' found prams and their contents covered in a thin layer of soot within minutes. Before the memories are lost forever author Mervyn Edwards has taken the time to talk to the local people who lived and worked in the Potteries. With firsthand accounts and a fascinating collection of contemporary photographs.