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Potteries Thinkbelt

by CedricPrice, architect, born in Stone, Staffordshire.

Related through marriage (on his maternal side) to Enoch Wood, and so grew up with an intimate knowledge of the Potteries and Collieries.  He was particularly active in the 1960's.  

Cedric Price's proposal was to take the whole rusting and decaying industrial infrastructure of the Potteries, and turn it into a kind of High-Tech think-tank.  It was to be a new kind of university, called the Potteries Thinkbelt.  It was not a "building", but a kind of circuit, or network, with mobile classrooms and laboratories using the existing rail lines to move from place to place, from housing to library to factory to computer center.  

It formed an enormous triangle from Pitts Hill to Madeley to Meir, encompassing all the towns inside, including Stoke.  He also planned a tie-in to the University at Keele. 

Existing factories would be used for study, while new factories could be built to exploit new discoveries and theories.  This, of course, was right in the midst of the Brain Drain, and Price's idea was to break down the wall between "pure" and "applied" science and technology, lure the scientists back to Britain, and put England at the forefront of advanced technologies.  He planned to put the Potteries at the cutting edge of computer technology.   All this in 1965!

Price worked the scheme out quite carefully, and it might well have worked. The Ministry of Education politely accepted his proposal and promised to consider it .....nothing ever came of it. 

map of the Thinkbelt Plan:


Stanley Mathews,
"Cedric Price and the architecture of 'calculated uncertainty':
  The Fun Palace and Potteries Thinkbelt," (doctoral dissertation),
New York: Columbia University, 2001.
email: Stanley Matthews


-- HiazHhzz - 14 Jul 2004
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