Who are the contenders alongside Stoke-on-Trent for City of Culture 2021?

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Eleven cities, including Stoke-on-Trent, have thrown their hats in the City of Culture 2021 ring.

But how do the runners and riders shape up as the nine-month race begins to win the prize?

City of Culture 2017 is Hull, where they have enjoyed more than £1 billion investment in the city, with the remodelling of buildings, pavements and museums.

This year’s hopefuls have been promised £3 million by the Heritage Lottery fund if they are successful.

StaffsLive takes a look at who the bidders are – and who are shaping up as favourites.

Coventry coat of arms

Coventry – Here we have one of the top contenders for first place in the battle for City of Culture 2021. The second largest city in the midlands and once called the capital of England, Coventry boasts plenty of promise for the race. The inventors of the jet engine, watch-making and the centre of the motor industry, bookies place Coventry as one of their favourites.
ODDS – 3/1

Hereford emblem

Hereford – The blacksmiths of the competition, the traditional Hereford is in dire need of a revamp and promises to transform into a modern city. Containing one of the poorest neighbourhoods in England, the forgotten backwater is attempting to push itself into pole position.
ODDS – 16/1

Paisley coat of arms

Paisley – Paisley will attempt to ‘weave’ its way into the number one spot with plenty of support from its famous sons Paolo Nutini and David Tennant. The city which is famous for its paisley pattern shawls, made popular in the industrial revolution, is hoping their skills with cloth are as good as their skills as runners in the race for number one City of Culture.
ODDS – 8/1

Perth emblem

Perth – An old contender is Perth which has Royal Assent due to its connections to the crownings of Scottish Kings. As it is the youngest city to be granted city status in 2012, Perth has plenty of energy when it comes to its nightlife and its competitive strive.
ODDS – 5/2

Portsmouth emblem

Portsmouth – Famous for its war ships, Portsmouth has admitted they are not prepared for the race ahead. Charles Dickens will be cheering on his birthplace as they sail into battle with the other 10 cities. A huge advocate for theatre, Portsmouth are high on the bookies favourites for number one.
ODDS – 6/1

Stoke-on-Trent coat of armsStoke-on-Trent – Our beloved Potteries are giving it their best shot in the race, with a combination of six towns joining as one. Home to Staffordshire University, the top creative media base, this ‘potterific’ city is sure of its chances as the City of Culture 2021.
ODDS – 10/1

Emblem of the Diocese of St Davids

St Davids – The smallest contender is tiny Welsh city St Davids. With a population of only 2,000 people, this city offers an entire coastline which forms part of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Smallest city in the country. But, does this micro-city have a micro chance?
ODDS – 16/1

Sunderland coat of arms

Sunderland – Leading the way in artistry is Sunderland presenting the first ever stained glass window in 647 AD. Famous for being the greatest shipbuilding city in the country, this North East giant with a proud industrial background also show big promise in the race for the top spot.
ODDS – 8/1

Swansea emblem

Swansea – The losers of the previous battle for City of Culture 2017 are hoping that they will be second-time lucky. Swansea, who reached the shortlist for the 2017 title, were pipped to the post by current winner, Hull. Home to the Palace Theatre and famous poet Dylan Thomas, Swansea still have a good chance of winning a spot at the top.
ODDS – 6/1

Warrington emblem

Warrington – The ‘City for Peace’ is another contender for City of Culture 2021. Close to the M62, Warrington is the music to our ears with bands such as The Stone Roses and Viola Beach. However, described in the national press as “the least cultural place in Britain” Warrington has a long way to go before it reaches the top.
ODDS – 16/1

Emblem of the Diocese of Wells

Wells – Our final tiny contender is Wells, the smallest city in England. Famous for their town of Glastonbury and its popular Cheddar-making gorges, Wells may be the underdog of the race.
ODDS – 16/1

All contenders have until April 28 to submit their first plans.

In July there will be a series of short-listings and guidance, to which the cities will have until September to place their final bid.

The winner will be announced in November/December, 2017.

You can find more about the bookies bets here.

(Photography by Richard Holmes)

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