The Prince’s Regeneration Trust aims to reuse historic places as active and relevant community assets – the most sustainable approach to regeneration. In 2010 this trust made an offer for the country’s last working and totally intact Victorian pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, which employed around 40 workers.
For some time, Middleport Pottery had been at serious risk of closure – with loss of local jobs and traditional craftsmanship. The substantial buildings would probably have been left to degenerate. After much hard work and commitment the United Kingdom Building Preservation Trust acquired the premises in June 2011.
Refurbishment and regeneration of the site will begin in Autumn 2012 and is expected to take two years. In the meantime, emergency repair work will be carried out to maintain the integrity of the building and ensure the pottery can remain operational.
The pottery will continue to be used for its original purpose, traditional skills will be preserved and the Victorian machinery and other historical artefacts will be saved, including the bottle kiln (left).. Using traditional techniques, it will continue to produce Burleigh pottery.
As well as over fifty jobs being saved through this project, further employment opportunities and business growth will be stimulated by the regeneration of the site as half of the buildings will be refurbished and let out to small businesses. Read more here.
This month, a Staffordshire website reported the award of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund which will enable the building of a visitor centre, gallery, factory shop and café, employing 50 extra people, including staff for the cafe, tour guides and workshop positions.
As the site sits alongside the Trent and Mersey Canal, the project will also include waterside planting and the creation of a nature and heritage trail.