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The North Staffordshire village of Audley where Joseph Emberton was born lies on a hill. To the west and north lies the countryside of the Cheshire and Shropshire plains. To the east lies the industrial landscape of the Potteries which in Emberton's time still had their characteristic bottle-shaped brick pottery kilns, as well as the canals and railways.

This is an ancient village. At one end of the main street is the surviving mound of a Norman castle. A little further along is the medieval church of St James. Joseph Emberton was baptized here, as well as all his Emberton forebears back to when records began in 1710.

Although the Embertons had been in Audley such a long time, they were quite modest people. There had been an Emberton brickworks in Audley (bricks with the name stamped on them can still be found in the locality), and some Embertons were miners, others are recorded as having been nailmakers.

The work ethic is well appreciated in The Potteries (including its football team) . And perhaps it partly explains how Joe Emberton's output during his life as an architect was formidable, and how he was also known for working his staff in London hard.

St James Church Audley (for which I have been told Joseph Emberton designed a screen for the font when he was 12)

Joseph's parents owned and ran the local drapery and outfitting store, shown here in present day with new owners and name of Boon's. In his career Emberton was at the cutting edge of the retailing revolution, leading the design team at Simpson's of Piccadilly. He also wrote for instance an article called "Is your Counter a Barricade?" - perhaps signs of his backgound in a shopkeeping family.

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