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Report - - The Great Pottery Throw Down - Ceramics Industry in Staffordshire & Derbyshire 2019/2020 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - The Great Pottery Throw Down - Ceramics Industry in Staffordshire & Derbyshire 2019/2020


MotionlessMike

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Over the past couple of years I’ve developed quite an interest in the ceramics industry. It’s probably one of the only industries I feel I have a bit of a connection with (alongside Coal), as growing up near Swadlincote in South Derbyshire, big sites such as TG Green / Mason Cash and Bretby Art were familiar sights and being relatively local meant you probably had family members working in them too. I even flunked my first job interview at Greens! Plus you don’t have to try particularly hard to make a derelict pottery look good photographically - a couple of bottle ovens, a pile of mossy moulds, some Victorian brickwork and you’re away.

Having missed out on several good ones (Doulton and Spode), I wanted to try and see as much as I could before even more disappear. Some of the following sites are well visited and documented, others less so. But here’s what there’s been to see over the last couple of years in Stoke-on-Trent & South Derbyshire.

Thanks to @oldboots @raisinwing @Humpa @Gsxrwayne and @bmichelle for joining in with the antics.


Aynsley China, Portland Works - Longton

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The Portland Works was constructed in 1861 along Sutherland Road in Longton eventually becoming one of four Aynsley works in the area.

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Some Aynsley vases on the factory floor in front of four electric kilns – the doors presumably sold for scrap at some point since closure

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Tams, Crown Works - Longton

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Build in 1841 and occupied by John Tams from 1875 until 2006. The offices look fantastic from the road – unfortunately heavily modernised and absolutely battered inside

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2 Bricesco kilns on the shop floor

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Midwinter - Burslem

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Constructed in 1880 along Bournes Bank in Burlsem lie the remains of the former Midwinter Pottery. W.R Midwinter Ltd took over the works in 1910. I am unsure who the buildings were originally constructed for. Answers on a postcard please!

Nothing original left sadly, besides two mountainous piles of smashed china sticking out of the flooded basement.


Royal Doulton, Testing Labs - Burslem

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The last remaining part of the former Royal Doulton Nile Street Works in Burslem are the factory shop & ‘central testing laboratory’. Production ceased in Burlsem in 2005 and moved abroad. The rest of the site has long since been demolished and redevelopment seems imminent.

Sample moulds in a cupboard – Beswick being a Doulton brand between 1969 and 2002

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A particularly derped office next to the main workshop

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Wade Ceramics, Hilltop Works - Burslem

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The former Wade Ceramics site in Burslem, also known as the ‘Hilltop’ works was originally built in 1811 and occupied by John & Richard Riley. It was used by Wades from 1954 until construction of a new works in Etruria was completed in 2010.

Wade produce ceramic flagons for the Chivas Royal Salute line of whiskey. This blue bottle shaped thing is a plug which is used to produce the moulds themselves.

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Shop floor & tunnel kiln

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Another thing Wade produced are ‘whimsies’ which are these awful pot animal figures

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Looking over the large site from an office window

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Acme Marls - Burslem

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All that remains of the Acme Marls site are these bottle ovens (plus one out of frame), which are the only examples of the updraft type kiln left standing. Marls produced kiln furniture used to stack ware inside a kiln ready for firing.


T.G Green – Church Gresley

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TG Green operated from Church Gresley from 1864 to 2007, most famously producing Cornishware.

Top floor at Greens, rapidly succumbing to the sogginess

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Despatch department

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The ‘Diana’ bottle oven contains these stacks of saggars which were apparently part of a display

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Cobalt blue powdered glaze and decorators brushes

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Canteen

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Berkshire China - Fenton

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This building has had many uses during its life, latterly as a furniture sales wholesaler but originally a bakery set up by H.P Emburey Bakers. It has been home to several small potters and wholesalers during the late 90’s and early 00’s such as Berkshire China, Brian Wood Ceramics, Staffordshire China and Best China.

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Transfers for mugs

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Lord Nelson - Hanley

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Lord Nelson was founded by Elijah Cotton and the factory was constructed in 1885 on the site of an even older works. The site was mainly cleared a couple of years ago and the few remaining buildings alongside the Trent & Mersey canal were last used by Milton China.

A potters’ wheel in the basement

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Bombsite

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Some intact tiles and china unearthed after rummaging in an outbuilding

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CONTINUTED...
 
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MotionlessMike

28DL Regular User
Regular User
J.H Weatherby, Falcon Works - Hanley

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Another one well past its best, but still with plenty of character. Would have loved to have seen it 10+ years back. Weatherby operated from the Falcon Works between 1892 and 2000.

A pair of ware dryers

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Some old order forms

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A polishing machine for buffing the ware after firing

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Mould store

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Peggy Davies Ceramics - Hanley

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Peggy Davies originally designed for Royal Doulton but eventually formed her own company. Peggy Davies also incorporates Kevin Francis Ceramics who produce the nice 1920’s flapper girl style figurines.

The company operated out of the former St Luke’s School for a while in the 00’s meaning there is this fantastic unmodernised Victorian school hall to drool over (above).

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Price & Kensington, Prices National Teapots / Top Bridge Works- Longport

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The very earliest parts of the Top Bridge Works were constructed in 1793 and were occupied by a company called Davenports. Price Brothers purchased the factory in 1891 and after a merger became Price & Kensington in the 60’s. The company eventually went under in 2003 and the name was purchased by Rayware and production moved abroad.

The Grade II listed factory shop along Newcastle Street (pictured above) was unceremoniously demolished by S-o-T council in October 2019 for fear of it falling into the road.

Tunnel kiln on an upper floor at Prices

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Whoever pinched the horse/pig hybrid biscuit jar fess up!

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The overgrown site from the mould store window

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Bretby Stoneware, Klondyke Works - Newhall

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Constructed in 1899 and abandoned in 1995, the place is hanging in there considering its 25 years of abandonment!

Two electric kilns, the right hand one still stacked with kiln furniture and refractory boards

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W.H Goss, Falcon Works - Stoke

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William Henry Goss moved to the Falcon Works in around 1870. The works were eventually purchased by Portmeirion Potteries who sold the remaining Grade II listed workshops and bottle oven range to a company called Connexa in 2011.

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The ‘doorway’ into the bottle oven is called a ‘clammin’ and was high enough for a man carrying a saggar on his head to enter. These are ‘glost’ ovens used during the second firing to fix the glaze.

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The moulds lying around in the workshops date from its time under Portmeirion’s ownership. This one is for some kind of Queen Victoria vase.

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Dudson - Tunstall

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Dudson went into administration in April 2019 after over 200 years of production, citing a deterioration in sales and increased production costs as the main reason. This modern pre-fab warehouse lacked the charm of the older sites but it was interesting to see the entire modern production process.

Stacks of unfinished ware in the biscuit warehouse

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These carts stacked up with kiln furniture ran on their own tracks into the tunnel kiln

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Monster slip casting contraption

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Thanks for looking!​
 
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Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Nice collection. Good shot of those bottle ovens. Some nice clean shots from Dudson. Shame these potteries are closing quite quickly it feels.
I have some very old Spode, Wade, Doulton in my loft, just as my dear old nan loved it. Nice thread :thumb
 

obscurity

Flaxenation of the G!!!
Regular User
cracking write up and obviously lots of effort and time has gone into pulling all those locations together into this report. Cracking stuff
 

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