Rare pottery goes on display at Spode Works Visitor Centre
A MOTHBALLED collection of pottery celebrating the heritage of one of Stoke-on-Trent's most famous firms has gone on display for the first time.
The Spode Works Visitor Centre opened its doors to residents yesterday to showcase hundreds of pieces of pottery and memorabilia collected over the company's 200-year history.
The rare items had been put into storage following the factory's closure in 2008.
The exhibition at the centre in Church Street, Stoke, has been made possible through a £50,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
****Best Deals**** Van Insurance for 17-24 Yr Old Drivers - Contact Insure365 on 01782 898188 for a quotation, Free Legal Protection Included Valued at £25.00!
Terms: 1 Voucher Per Customer
Contact: 01782 898188
Valid until: Tuesday, June 25 2013
Susan Coates, project coordinator for the Spode Museum Trust, said: "We've been busy with the project all winter and we are delighted to finally have visitors coming to the exhibition.
"The event was buzzing and it was lovely.
"We had a lot of people that came and spent a long time chatting and swapping their stories."
The collection includes around 40,000 pots, 25,000 engraved copper plates from which transfer prints were made, 250,000 Spode and Copeland documents, antique factory tools and furniture.
It was given to the trust in 1987 to protect it for future generations.
The exhibition itself is made up of 300 ceramic items, machinery, film footage, images and demonstrations.
It also includes activities to keep younger visitors entertained.
It will remain at the centre on Fridays and Saturdays until 2014.
Susan said: "The collection is absolutely epic. The whole idea is to highlight the importance of the industrial revolution here at the Spode works."
The trust is also inviting former Spode workers to get in touch to talk about their experiences at the factory and to bring along their photos.
Sandra Hill, aged 53, from Kidsgrove, was among those to attend the first day of the exhibition.
She said: "I think the exhibition is wonderful. It is such a shame that the factory shut down.
"Spode is such an iconic part of Stoke-on-Trent and the history should be preserved."
Anthony Hales, from Silverdale, worked as the senior decorating manager until 1973 after working his way up from his job as an engraver over 20 years.
He said: "It was well worth the visit and I am looking forward to seeing it expanded."
Mary-Chris Shipley worked as a tour guide at the factory for five years after spending around two decades at Royal Doulton as a painter.
The 66-year-old, from Newcastle, said: "I am a big Spode fan anyway. He was a brilliant potter who I think was underestimated.
"Its been quite busy. People were really interested and many also worked at the factory."
Mary's favourite piece from the collection is a baby's feeding bottle from the 18th century.
Spode was founded by Josiah Spode in 1770. The firm merged with Royal Worcester in 2006 before going into administration two years later.
The brand names and intellectual property were bought by Portmeirion Group in 2009.
People visiting the exhibition today will have the chance to join a short walking tour around some of the historic buildings on site.
For information call 01782 792525 or email email@example.com