The Prince of Wales heard about plans for a significant boost to sales of Burleighware last week when he visited the historic Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, where it is made.
The Prince was there to launch a £7.5m restoration and regeneration project of the premises – the UK’s last working Victorian pottery. The Prince’s Regeneration Trust acquired the buildings earlier this year and is funding the work.
The restoration of the site will safeguard production there of the blue and white floral Burleighware, manufactured by Burgess Dorling & Leigh – which was acquired by Denby Holdings in June last year.
Welcoming the Prince to Middleport Pottery, Denby Holdings’ managing director Garry Biggs spoke about “the unique quality of the Burleighware product and the strength of this famous and historic brand.
“Integral to the appeal of the product and the brand are the traditional production techniques and craftsmanship of our valued staff who make our pottery. We are, of course, very conscious of the importance to the nation of the heritage that is associated with the Middleport site.”
He went on: “Nonetheless, under-investment in this site over the decades meant by the time Denby acquired the company, the buildings had deteriorated to a point where we struggled to see how we could continue production here in the long term.”
He said the company was therefore delighted that the Prince’s trust had acquired the pottery, and added that Denby had, in turn, made a 25-year-lease commitment for the parts of the premises that will be producing Burleighware.
He told the Prince that the company was now intent on growing both home and export sales of the product, with a target of doubling annual turnover to £3m over the next five years, investing in plant, equipment and additional staff.
While there, the Prince was given a tour of the pottery and met members of staff, and was presented with a large Burleighware jug.