Buttress has been appointed by the United Kingdom Historic Buildings Preservation Trust (UKHBPT) to create a HLF-funded Heritage Centre for Middleport Pottery, home of the ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down.’
The Manchester-based studio will redevelop 11 dilapidated terraced houses on Harper Street – directly opposite to Middleport Pottery – into a community-focused heritage centre, expanding Middleport’s visitor offer and strengthening its role as a community hub.
The end terrace, believed to have been the home of Middleport Pottery’s lodgekeeper during the early 20th century, will be restored, with its original features reinstated to give visitors an authentic insight into the home of a pottery worker in the inter-war years.
A new Archive and Collections Research Centre will be created on the terraces’ first floor to store and make accessible Middleport Pottery’s extensive collection, which includes the world’s largest privately-owned set of Burleighware.
This will allow archived items to be moved out of Middleport’s main building to create workshop space to meet growing demand from local creative businesses. An adjacent space will be converted into offices for Middleport Pottery staff.
A substantial part of the terraced block will be redeveloped into lettable workshop space, while new build workshops and a dedicated community centre, which will be available for use by local groups, will also be created in the terraces’ backyards.
UKHBPT Learning and Outreach Officer, Emily Corlett said, “Middleport Pottery has a strong track record of engaging and working with community groups – I am delighted that Harper street will provide much needed additional and accessible space. We welcome anyone with an interest in Harper Street to get in touch to help develop this new and exciting outreach programme”.
Neal Charlton, Director at Buttress, said: “The Harper Street terraces are an important part of Stoke-on-Trent’s industrial heritage. We look forward to working with UKHBPT to bring the buildings back to life and give them a new role at the heart of the community.”