Enamel kiln

DSC_0026Enamel kiln at Gladstone pottery museum, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. These burn hotter than a normal pottery kiln. This is to create enamel from powdered glass, fired about 1400°C. There is a working enamel kiln at Stevensons in Middlewich on the banks of the Trent and Mersey canal. Enamels are used from jewellery to bathroom ware. This is because it has to be stronger and not chip or crack.

The industrial heritage of this country is hanging on. Places like the Black Country museum in Dudley in the West Midlands give us a place to see how the past was. Manufacturing changes and evolves. Soon robots and AI might be the only way things are made. But despite the old dirty polluting past may have been bad, it still stirs memories and romantic ideas of the way things were.

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Tyres

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Photo of an old painted sign on Hartshill Road, Stoke on Trent.

I noticed it as we were walking down Hartshill and heading for Stoke. The paint is peeling and will be gone in a few years, but it clings on.

Part of an old industrial heritage in the city of Stoke-on-Trent which is gradually decaying.

Some places rejoice in their heritage. Manchester turned old warehouses into loft apartments. The Black Country museum in Dudley in the West Midlands has rebuilt old Victorian houses and workshops to create a living museum.

Somehow Stoke-on-Trent has got left behind. Yes there are glimmers of growth, but old houses get knocked down and are either not rebuilt, or when they are, are too expensive for people to buy.

I’m not completely sad about the place, it is unique, but it needs looking after, the people caring for, and caring about this wonderful city.

Middleport photos

We visited the Middleport pottery a while ago on a rainy day and I took a few photos. I liked the atmospheric lighting, the sheen of water on the cobbles and the model of the pottery that is in the museum. I hope to visit again soon.

Middleport pottery is next to the canal in Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. It has a museum, a cafe, a shop where you can buy pottery and various events. There are also studios and workshops which make for an interesting place to visit.

Looking at backstamps

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What are back stamps??

They are the trademark or manufacturers mark  that you find on the bottom of cups, plates and dishes that shows who made them.

This can be useful in identifying the manufacturer, whether they are antique and if they are worth anything. Sometimes they even get forged! People have added things like the Clarice Cliff signature onto modern pots to try and fool people into buying them as originals.

Some pots have simple marks on their base to identify them. Others have complicated patterns and writing.

The people who live in the potteries (Stoke-on-Trent). Have a habit of looking underneath pots to see if they have recognised which pottery made them. I think it’s called the “turn over club” but I may be wrong…..

Dark skies

The sun was setting, the light levels were low, and the enclosing buildings around spode seemed to darken the view even more. But when you have clouds like this it makes for a fantastic atmosphere. It makes me want to paint that sky. The blues, greys and browns shimmer, it was beautiful.

And against the industrial archaeology of Spode Site it seems entirely the right kind of sky.