|New Use:||Pottery, Visitor centre, workshops|
|Category:||Industrial Museum, Workshop, Other|
|Construction year(s):||1888 -|
|Reuse year(s):||2014 -|
Several years ago, Middleport Pottery, nestled in the heart of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, was on the brink of closure. Constructed in 1888 for local ceramics company, Burgess & Leigh Limited, it was considered a national treasure and much loved by the local community. The Burleigh pottery produced on site was beautiful and unique, and many of the workforce had been there for decades, passing down craftsmanship through the generations. But by 2010 the buildings were in such a state of disrepair the business looked destined to close.
In June 2011 The Prince’s Foundation and the United Kingdom Historic Building Preservation Trust stepped in to save Middleport Pottery. They put together a private and public funding package that allowed them to embark on an ambitious restoration and regeneration project. The work included a programme of training and educational activities to support the local community in skills provision with an emphasis on traditional British craftsmanship.
Following its three-year, £9 million* regeneration, the restored Middleport Pottery reopened to the public in July 2014. New workshops and craft areas were created, alongside a café, gallery and heritage visitor centre. The new visitor experience includes tours of the Burleigh factory, where visitors can see the handcraft techniques that have been used there since the 1800s. A growing number of businesses are now based at the site, and the new Prince of Wales Studios acts as a home in which craftspeople can work and exhibit their products. (1)