Stoke-on-Trent, the spiritual home of British ceramics and the only city in Britain to be named after its primary industry, “The Potteries”, will have plenty to shout about in 2023 – including a “homecoming” for the thousands of items that make-up the Spode Museum collection.
Work has already started on restoring a massive, disused space in the former Spode factory into a new museum store.
One of the largest and most important ceramics collections in the country, the collection has been locked away in storage since the factory closed its doors in 2008.
Spode was one of the most important factories from the Industrial Revolution and the birthplace of bone china; and even when it closed after 230 years it was still producing world class hand-painted ceramic wares.
Currently the Museum, which opened in 2016 at the former factory site, offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about the long history of pottery manufacture at the works, and see displays of fine ceramics.
As well as displays that showcase Josiah’s Spode’s two greatest innovations – fine bone china, and underglaze transfer-printed ware – the museum also contains an art gallery and a large museum shop that sells vintage and antique ceramics from all the Staffordshire potteries.
But this latest restoration work will mean that over 20,000 items will return to their historic factory site allowing the museum to assess and catalogue the collection and eventually make it available for the public to enjoy once again.
In addition, the existing museum space will benefit from a new meeting room, fresh display spaces, and clear glass windows allowing passers-by to see more of the treasures within.
The project – funded by Historic England and Stoke-on-Trent City Council – is expected to be completed by the end of January 2023. The current museum, gallery, and shop will all remain open during the building works.
Stoke-on-Trent already offers those who love pottery the chance to visit world class museums and attractions – and even have a go at the wheel themselves.
Regarded as one of the world’s ‘Capital of Ceramics’, the city has been shaped by its production of pottery for centuries, and today is home to a host of award-winning attractions visitor centres, tours, and factory shops, and is still the base for some of the country’s leading names in ceramics.
For more information on Stoke-on-Trent as a destination, see www.visitstoke.co.uk
Photo: Spode Museum collection on display in 1902