I know it's been a while since I was able to write in here, but whilst on the bus today I HAD to share my thoughts.
The novel's definitely going to be in Stoke on Trent/Staffordshire now. Having looked around the area and getting to know the feel for the difference in feel etc, there's too much history and scope here for me to pass up! The main character George, though, will NOT be a Stokie. I'll have to work that into some form of explanation earlier on.