Stoke-on-Trent has been shaped by the pottery industry for over 300 years! The pottery industry dates back to the mid-17th century, when a small community of farmer-potters were established. Stoke was abundant in clay which lead the area to become the biggest source of ceramic goods in Britain - Pottery is well and truly rooted in Stoke's history. Stoke-on-Trent is still at the heart of the ceramics industry in Britain, famous for its tableware, tiles and sanitary ware. In 1938, half of its working population was employed in pottery factories!
At this time, the pottery industry in Stoke is unfortunately on the decline. Many famous factories have been struck by difficult times due to the inability to compete with the foreign prices of ceramics, which has consequently lead to many lay offs and in worse cases, factories being forced to close. "Royal Doulton announced in February that it was moving its Royal Albert brand to Indonesia, closing one of its three remaining Stoke factories and making 500 potters redundant. It was the latest in a slew of factory closures that have reduced ceramics employment in the Potteries from 45,000 in 1975 and 23,000 in 1991 to 13,000 today." - The Guardian
We have been up regularly recently and it is a magical place - it houses some of the biggest and well-known potteries in the world.
The city is a pottery-lovers theme park. Anything pottery related you can find there (they even have pottery themed roundabouts!) There are so many pottery related activities to do in Stoke such as visiting the Gladstone Pottery Museum, getting hands on and taking part in a pottery making class or even going on a factory tour around Middleport pottery factory.
The people are really friendly - we received such a warm welcome wherever we went
I came away feeling energised by the pottery world but also deeply sad that it is in decline.
We are making a commitment to source products and use potteries in Stoke-on-Trent as much as possible to keep the art of pottery alive in the place of its origin. We're delighted that we have a few new potters joining us from Stoke in the near future.