The Prince’s Regeneration Trust announced today that it has stepped in to save Stoke-on-Trent’s historic Middleport Pottery, which, in turn, will safeguard production of Burleigh ware there.
The trust has acquired the premises – the UK’s last working Victorian pottery – and will now undertake a £7.5m project to regenerate the site.
The world-renowned blue and white floral Burleigh pottery is produced at Middleport by Burgess Dorling & Leigh, which was bought last year by Denby. The trust will now lease approximately half of the site back to Burgess Dorling & Leigh.
Middleport Pottery has been at serious risk of closure, which would not only have seen the loss of jobs but buildings of historic significance would have been left to degenerate further.
Now, the Prince’s Regeneration Trust will renovate the Grade II listed buildings, which are over 150 years old, and allow the site to continue to be used for its original industrial purpose. Traditional skills will be preserved and Victorian machinery and other historical artefacts will be saved.
Uniquely, Middleport will continue to produce, using traditional techniques, the Burleigh pottery for which it was originally built in Victorian times.
The majority of the remaining buildings at Middleport will be developed, modernised and let to craft and associated businesses, which the trust says will stimulate regeneration in the area by increasing employment opportunities and attracting new business.
A major visitor and education centre, including a factory shop and cafe, will also be developed.
Denby managing director Garry Biggs said: “My colleagues and I greatly welcome this investment to regenerate the historic Middleport Pottery building. This investment will not only ensure that its unique skills, still in use on this site, are preserved for future generations; it also enables us to continue the business turnaround since Denby bought Burleigh pottery last year.”