Middleport Pottery is a Victorian working pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, UK. The building is a beautiful Grade II red brick building that spans a whole street. The building almost fell into disrepair until The Princes Regeneration Trust purchased the site in 2010. The trust saved the building, saved jobs and regenerated the local area. It is a truly wonderful place to visit.
Historically Middleport is famous for being home to Burleighware since 1889. Burleigh produces functional pottery by hand but on a large-scale, it reports each piece is touched by 25 highly skilled pairs of hands before completion. Quite astounding in this day and age.
Middleport has recently been in the news for the return of the second series of The Great Pottery Throw Down. This series is doing a splendid job of raising awareness of ceramics….. albeit in a condensed fashion. In the first episode 10 contestants were given 4 hours to make a 16 piece dinner set and some had not previously thrown on a wheel, totally unachievable. The positives of raising awareness of pottery making is counteracted by the heavy editing of complex, time-consuming processes. It is a shame the TV producers feel they have to condense pottery into 1 hour episode to make ‘compelling TV’ rather than portray a true picture of a highly skilled craft.
A visit to Middleport is highly recommended to catch a glimpse of British pottery history and to visit Burleigh to get a true experience of pottery making.