We have been appointed by the United Kingdom Historic Building Preservation Trust to create a HLF-funded Heritage Centre for Middleport Pottery.
The project will involve the redevelopment of 11 dilapidated Victorian terraced houses on Harper Street - directly opposite to Middleport Pottery - into a community focused heritage centre.
Harper Street sits within the designated Trent & Mersey Canal conservation area in Stoke-on-Trent. This conservation area has been described as being “of outstanding industrial archaeological importance, both nationally and locally”, due to the presence of early examples of England’s canal network and associated industrial buildings, which include Middleport Pottery.
The ‘Harper Street: Engagement in Heritage’ project will see the transformation of these original workers’ houses into a new heritage attraction, studio & workshop space, publicly accessible archive and community centre for Middleport’s residents. The project will contribute significantly to growing Middleport Pottery and Burslem’s reputation as a major visitor heritage destination.
The original lodge keeper’s home will be restored to how it was in the 1920’s and 1930’s - providing a range of immersive activities based on the daily experience of the lodge keeper’s family.
A large purpose-finished Collections Research Centre will store and make accessible the growing archive and mixed collections of Middleport Pottery, including a unique set of privately-owned Burleighware, so far the largest known collection anywhere in the world.
Seven new workshop spaces for creative businesses will support the project’s financial sustainability and further develop the existing community of ten creative businesses operating from within Middleport Pottery.
The local Middleport and wider community will benefit from a self-contained community hub. Managed by local action group, ‘Middleport Matters’, the hub will provide a safe and easily accessible space for regular community events, homework clubs, baby and toddler groups, plus educational and recreational activities.