'Spode is a special part of our history'
A RETIRED factory worker is backing a campaign for people to get involved in an exhibition focusing on one of Stoke-on-Trent's most iconic pottery brands.
Olive Astley is encouraging people to take part in the display at the Spode site in Church Street, Stoke, where she worked for more than 20 years.
She contacted organisers when she saw an appeal in The Sentinel asking previous workers to get involved in the event, which opens in February.
Olive, aged 87, of Hanford, said: "I was one of only two people who had a key to the factory because it was my job to show visitors around the site.
Call WHITEGATES Today 01782 209935 ..Limited offer. Available only up on production of voucher. Sell your home for £399 plus vat.* #EPC is required to market your home not included in offer.
Terms: *Upfront payment, non-refundable in the event of property remaining unsold, being withdrawn from the market or being sold by another agent, yourself or by any other means.#EPC £62.50 plus vat.
Contact: 01782 209 935
Valid until: Thursday, July 04 2013
"It was really interesting because I met new people every day from all over the world, including one or two celebrities.
"I loved my job because we were all like one big family."
She began working as a book-keeper for the pottery manufacturer in 1955, later managing the reject shop and looking after the museum and showroom.
She said: "I learnt a lot about the history of Spode and it soon became my hobby. I was forever buying things from the shop to take home as part of my collection."
Olive worked at the factory in the 1950s when the Copeland family ran the business. During her time there, she saw many rare pieces of pottery.
She said: "Robert and Spencer Copeland both had private museums in the factory which featured historic pieces of pottery.
"The pieces in Robert's museum were all blue and white china. It was really beautiful stuff. They say Spode china is the whitest of all china.
"I've met quite a few members of the family. They were nice people and the factory had a great atmosphere when they ran it."
Olive received a Wimbledon centenary plate when she left the company aged 52 to start working as a civil servant.
She said: "I left when Worcester took over the factory because it didn't feel quite the same. They gave me the plate as a leaving present because they knew I liked tennis."
About 300 pieces of Spode pottery will be unveiled to the public for the first time during the exhibition. Olive said: "I haven't been back to Spode since I left so it will be great to see all the pieces of pottery again at the exhibition.
"They are a special part of Stoke's history."