Traditional fine bone china manufacturer Hudsons of England opened its new Factory Experience and Visitors Centre at Longton in Stoke-on-Trent last month.
Work on the premises’ grade II listed façade began in April and took six months to complete. Under the project, four derelict kilns and a dusty reception and seconds shop were transformed and converted.
Hudsons of England managing director Mike Shirley commented: “It’s very exciting to be beginning another new chapter in the history of this company. We’re very proud of this industry and have always wanted to showcase what we do, and with incredible support from the council and generous funds from Historic England and ERDF [European Regional Development Fund], we have finally been able to achieve this.”
He said visitors are welcomed to the centre by a “beautifully furnished reception and showroom, with displays of the company’s finest bone china mugs and ware to capture their attention”. Viewing windows giving an insight into factory life exhibit the traditional skills required for the production of fine bone china, a process that can now be witnessed on a daily basis. Visitors can also get up close and personal in decorating areas overseen by professional operatives with years of experience, providing a glimpse of the different techniques used to embellish and decorate the ware, including lithography and gilding.
Formerly Hudson and Middleton, Hudsons of England is one of the few remaining fine bone china manufacturers based in the heart of the Potteries. Founded in 1875, the company is not only one of the oldest potteries in England, but also almost unique in still operating from its original Grade II listed building.
The family-owned business, which celebrated its 140th anniversary this year, said it is looking forward to sharing this piece of the Potteries with the public, and hopes the Centre will be a favourite for tourists and locals in the area.
PHOTO CREDIT: The Sentinel