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Report - Enson Works, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. 'A Different View'

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by layz, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. layz

    layz Conquistador d'Wolverton
    28DL Full Member

    Sep 21, 2008
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    Visiting Stoke I saw that construction of the new Centre of Refurbishment Excellence (CoRE) at the former Enson Works Longton was now complete, and phase two of the construction was underway. This involves renovating the former Enson works into a workshop. The site is covered by a blanket of scaffold and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a closer look at the kilns.

    Sadly the 4 bottle kilns will be sealed as part of the renovation and used for air handling, so the last time to see inside them is now!


    The Enson Works (or as it was originally called: The Dresden Works), was opened by John Procter and began life in 1843. Procter was declared bankrupt in 1847 and the works was subsequently occupied by Messrs. Glover and Colclough, who owned a number of potteries in Longton. In 1856 The works changed hands again and was bought by Mason Holt & Co.

    The Dresden Works first appears on the 1856 Ordnance Survey map, labelled as a ‘china works’. This works appears as a smaller cluster of buildings to the north of the site, and included buildings for packing, clay storage, slip preparation and one rectangular kiln (indicative of a smaller muffle kiln used for enamel ware).This suggests that the site was used for ceramic production as part of a larger works. Between 1878 and 1900 the works expanded greatly, absorbing land previously occupied by terrace houses, occupying most of the land between Chelson St and Shorts St.

    Towards the south the works was extended to a former empty plot, establishing a boundary which exists to this day. Manson Holt & Co departed the site in 1884, and the works is believed to have been acquired by J.H. Middleton. Between 1913 and 1924 further modifications were made, along with the erection of four bottle kilns, three of which remain in situ. A later kiln (E) was added in the 1950s and remains extant.

    In 1941 the works closed and was commandeered by the Government for ammunition storage purposes4, reopening briefly in 1945 before J. H. Middleton was relocated. In 1948 the site was bought by Spencer Stevenson & Co who renamed it ‘The Enson Works’ in 1953. The works specialised in bone china domestic wares and hotel tablewares until 1963 when the site became a distributors only. After this date the site was slowly broken up into smaller firms such as: a joiners, electrical engineers and Ashdale Pottery Products. The site was eventually closed in 1999 and sold to the local council.


    In 2009 a planning application was made to renovate the derelict works into a Centre of Reburbishment Excellence (CoRE). The works are taking place in two phases by PRP Architects:

    Phase One involves the demolition of the former ‘West Range’, a three storey 1950s block and the construction of a new ‘hub’: a three storey building clad in brick which is to become an education facility (part of Stoke-on-Trent College), complete with refectory, workshops and lecture spaces.

    Phase Two is centred on the refurbishment and adaptation of the existing listed ‘East Range’ and four extant bottle kilns, which are currently derelict. The renovated range will house a workshop, conference room and demonstrator space.

    1- The CoRE


    3 - Broken pottery used as hardcore in the 1950s extension





    8 - looking up the chimney above the kiln

    9 - Baffles used to control heat flow in the kiln

    #1 layz, Feb 26, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012

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