Safety scare forces visitor centre to close
A POTTERY exhibition has been forced to close just a week after its launch because a crumbling building which has made the area unsafe.
The Spode Works Visitor Centre opened on February 15 to showcase hundreds of pieces of pottery and memorabilia collected over the company's 200-year history.
But emergency work on an unstable building next to the centre, on Elenora Street, Stoke, means the exhibition has now had to close.
Susan Coates, the Spode Works Project Coordinator, said the closure was implemented with people's safety in mind.
It is hoped it could reopen in two weeks.
Susan said: "We had just got under way, so it is really disappointing but it's just one of those things.
"The building has to be made safe and we know people are working hard to get it done.
"It's currently not safe to enter the exhibition but we are really looking forward to being open again very soon after having a smashing weekend. There were loads of people who came down, and we discovered so many who knew each other, there was a real family atmosphere.
"It can't be helped. We had hoped to have opened yesterday but are asking for people to check the website or call before turning up."
The exhibition itself is made up of 300 ceramic items, machinery, film footage, images and demonstrations.
Susan added: "We have had a lot of interest from people wishing to volunteer and we are really grateful."
The work to remove part of the façade of the Spode works in Stoke town began last week but has now been extended.
Hayley Worsdale, aged 26, of Well Street, Hanley, said: "There are currently a lot of road works in the area that also make it difficult to get to the street. But I think people in Stoke care a lot about their heritage and won't let a bit of construction work put them off."
The structure, which is in a conservation area, is leaning at a dangerous angle next to a pedestrian crossing and is being temporarily removed for safety reasons.
The upper levels of brick work on the corner at the junction of Liverpool Road and Elenora Street were inspected on Monday last week by dangerous structure experts.
A spokesman for Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: "The dangerous structure experts work for the council.
"They make sure buildings, private and public, all over the city are safe and they often have to take urgent action for safety reasons, like in this case."
Traffic is being diverted along Hartshill Road to Shelton Old Road. To stay updated, visit www.spodeworks.org