Pottery fans plead for Falcon to soar
POTTERY enthusiasts are calling for a "forgotten" historic factory and set of bottle kilns to be saved from decay.
Members of the Goss Collectors' Club are calling for help to breathe fresh life in to the Falcon Works site in Stoke, which boasts a Grade II-listed building along with a pair of traditional kilns.
The remaining buildings off Sturgess Street include a 1902 extension to the larger 1858 works in London Road.
Fans of the pottery produced by the renowned Goss family – who set up the firm in 1858 – say the site is one of the most important flashbacks to the area's pottery industry.
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Campaigner Brian Wilson, aged 69, of Stoke Old Road, Hartshill, said: "I first became interested in the Goss products about 38 years ago and the bottle ovens have always been in fantastic condition.
"I would like to see more interest taken in the site as the Goss family did so much for the people of Stoke-on-Trent."
Brian, a former pottery worker, says the site was largely open to the public for tours up until around 2003.
Collectors of the range believe the factory was sold to Cauldon Potteries – a subsidiary of Royal Doulton – in 1929 after demand for the products declined.
It was then sold to Portmeirion in 1961 before being bought by a developer.
The Goss Collectors' Club erected a blue plaque on the bottle kiln in 1995.
Brian, a one-time steel worker, added: "I have been in touch with the developer and I don't think they realise just how important the site is."
He has also criticised Stoke-on-Trent City Council for spending £3.5 million buying the former Spode site in 2010.
He added: "The Goss factory would have been available for a fraction of that.
"It could have been used as part of a tourist attraction to help people learn more about the area's pottery industry."
Fellow Goss club member Sheila Bradley, aged 58, of Alsager, said: "There are not many bottle ovens left and it is a real shame nothing is being done with it.
"It is part of the area's heritage and I am sure if it was restored there would be a great deal of interest in it.
"My son Benjamin first became interested in the Goss range when he was seven, and he is now 22. There is real interest in it."
Grandmother-of-eight Gwen Dilks, aged 71, of Stafford, said: "The bottle ovens do look amazing and I would love to see it restored.
"If it is allowed to fall in to disrepair it will be lost forever. I plan to take my grandchildren to see it."
The city council was unable to comment on the future of the site as no formal plans to alter the factory have been submitted.