Burslem is one of the six towns that makes up The Potteries. The present industrial decay belies a proud history and even a connection to Carlton Ware.
The Wedgwoods were the principal family in the Town for most of the eighteenth century. Later, potters Enoch Wood and Sons became prominent up to the mid nineteenth century. Burslem, the mother town, was also the epicentre of the iconic novels of Arnold Bennett.
Clues to the rich heritage still remain with the exception of Burleigh’s Middleport Pottery in Ford Street which has been saved for the nation. In June 2011, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust stepped in and bought Middleport Pottery to save and restore it. The building opened in July 2014 following three years of renovation. It remains a working pottery offering factory tours and a visitor centre. This was the venue for the recent, very successful gathering of the Carlton Ware World Club which meets annually in the Stoke area. Held on the first floor of the pottery and surrounded by an array of moulds used over the years, it added a distinctive atmosphere to the event attended by approximately fifty people including a good number of former employees from the Carlton Ware Pottery.
The Wedgwood Institute with its magnificient facade is located in Queen Street. A short distance away in the Old Pack Horse Lane area, is the site of the pottery established by the great local benefactor, Enoch Wood. Burslem is very compact and in nearby Nile Street is to be found the remnants of the world famous Royal Doulton factory. Just an entrance remains, embracing an art deco slogan.
However a survivor of special note, opposite the Institute, once again, in Queen Street, is the renowned Burslem School of Art which opened in 1907. With its enormous windows and skylight, an invitation to draw or paint if ever there was one, the building stands as a memorial to so many influencial figures. All is not well however, for major repairs to the ceiling and roof are necessary. Past luminaries include tutors, Gordon Forsyth and Reginald Haggar and students, Cliff, Moorcroft, together with Carlton’s own, John Christopher Boulton and Irene Pemberton.
Finally we show a picture of the once resplendent George Hotel.