Fenton is one of the Six Towns joined together to create Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, in the south-east of the city, north of Longton and south of Stoke. When the novelist Arnold Bennett wrote of his fictionalised version of the Potteries he called it, apparently for euphony, "the Five Towns", and Fenton has been dubbed the town Arnold Bennett forgot.
The name Fenton means "fen village", for its flat, marshy land.
Fenton has been a home of heavy industry, in particular pottery manufacture, but it has always been considered more of a residential area. Fenton is still considered a sprawl of villages by many, and it includes the area of Heron Cross, Mount Pleasant, Saxonfields and Pool Dole.
Fenton was once a quiet village of farms and small-holdings strung along a lane running south from Hanley, a lane since grown huge and turned into the A50. There were two villages; Fenton Vivian and Fenton Culvert.
Fenton lies in the Potteries and as the Potteries were overwhelmed by the industrial revolution, Fenton joined the expansion. In the 1850s, the centre of the village's growth into a substantial town centred on the area around Duke Street and China Street. Potters settled in Fenton in large houses alongside their pot-banks. Such houses include Great Fenton Hall, Heron Cottage and Grove House.
Fenton Vivian and Fenton Culvert grew together as a town and the parish authorities replaced by a single urban district with its own board of guardians in 1894. By this time the six towns were growing together.
Fenton has been the home of a number of potteries such as Coalport. This industrial heritage has left an architectural heritage, and several bottle ovens in Fenton are now listed buildings.
On 1 April 1910, a "county borough" and effectively a new town named Stoke-on-Trent created, uniting Fenton with its five neighbours. By 1925 Stoke-on-Trent became a city. Nevertheless, while part of the single conurbation, Fenton remains a distinctive town within Stoke.
The Great War
During the First World War, Fenton suffered an air-raid, when bombed by a Zeppelin.
Churches in Fenton
- Church of England: Christchurch
- Baptist: Fenton Baptist Church
- Temple Street Methodist Church
- Fenton Park Methodist Church
- Victoria Road Methodist Church
- Salvation Army: Fountain Street
Unique among the Six Towns, Fenton has no retail town centre. Instead, amenities and shops are spread over a sizeable area.
Every Thursday a market is held on City Road, with some 25 stalls. Along Victoria Road, there are DIY shops, home furnishing and electrical stores, while at the retail park, also on Victoria Road has shops of some of the larger national chains.