The industrial heritage of Stoke on Trent is amazing. Its history at the centre of the ceramics industry for centuries has earned it the title “the Potteries”.
Built up over years where there was a supply of water, clay, coal and other natural resources, the six towns of Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Longton, Fenton and Stoke-upon-Trent became a federation and the city of Stoke-on-Trent was born.
Many famous potter’s lived and worked in the city, including Josiah Wedgwood, and of course Josiah Spode. The city was also served by the Trent and Mersey canal, built by James Brindley.
The Spode factory closed several years ago as ceramic manufacture was outsourced to other countries. This eventually brought about the closure of the Spode works in the town of Stoke-upon-Trent (or Stoke as it is usually called).
Where the factory once was busy with activity and trade, the buildings have started to decay. The old bottle kiln base is all that is left after it collapsed. The place covers a large area of the town, and must have had a very large work force in its heyday.
But the future for the site is brighter than it could have been. An arts organisation has moved in to part if the buildings and if you walk up a yellow staircase you enter a series of artists studios. Cold in the winter, they still offer a place for creative people to work.
Other things are happening too. A cafe has opened, attached to part of the building, and a hotel us due to open.
The old visitor centre is being refurbished and Art exhibitions are being planned.
Over the last few years the factory has hosted the BCB or British Ceramics Biennial. This has attracted artists and potters from around the world.
These are some photos that I took around the site today. They were only taken on an old Android phone but I hope they give a feeling of the atmosphere of the site. I may be using some if them as a basis for some paintings.