Staffordshire is a Midlands county to the North West of Leicestershire and North of Birmingham.
The huge Cannock Chase, once a hunting forest and now an airy heathland, acts as a buffer between two great industrial areas, the Black Country (including Walsall and West Bromwich) in the South and the Potteries (around Stoke-on-Trent) in the North.
Stoke-on-Trent was formed when the five towns, immortalised in Arnold Bennett’s novels, coalesced into one. It is the major centre of Britain’s pottery and ceramics industry, with companies such as Wedgwood, Spode and Royale Stratford well to the fore.
Lichfield is a cathedral city. St. Chad’s Cathedral is well known for its three spires, and the town was the birthplace of Dr. Johnson.
Stafford is the county town, where the Ancient House has exhibitions of local history.
Tamworth is another old town, which at one time was the capital of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. It has a fine old castle, outside which is a statue of Ethelfleda, the daughter of Alfred the Great, who won back much of the East Midlands from the Danes.
Burton-on-Trent is famous as one of the major centres of the brewing industry.
Staffordshire also contains part of the new National Forest, as well as a significant part of the Peak District, much of which is in Derbyshire. One of the gateways to the Peak District is Leek.
Other famous people from Staffordshire include Stanley Matthews, Frank Skinner, Izaak Walton and Robbie Williams.