During Tuesday’s visit he met the Pottery staff; many of whom have been there for decades and whose families have worked in Stoke-on-Trent’s ceramics industry for generations. He saw the site and the traditional processes and was given a commemorative piece of Burleigh pottery by long-standing member of staff, Sue Goulding.
Jemma Baskeyfield, who was born in Middleport and works at the Pottery met his Royal Highness: “The reason I choose to come to work each day is because of the factory we all work from which is not just a museum, it is a real working factory. It is a truly unique place to be and I know it can be so much more too. Thanks to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and everyone at the Trust it will stay that way. I know that as both a resident of Middleport, and a worker at the Pottery I can safely say it has truly warmed many hearts to know we have as much of a strong future as we have had a rich past.”
The Trust worked for two years to raise the necessary funds to embark on this ambitious project. This has been made possible thanks to supporters including the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (via the Regional Growth Fund), the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, John Caudwell, The Gosling Foundation, The Hobson Charity, The Dorset Foundation, Pinsent Masons LLP, Joan Walley MP, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the Burslem Regeneration Company and Advantage West Midlands.
The pottery will remain operational throughout the refurbishment of the buildings and the factory shop will remain open for sales of Burleigh pottery.
Commenting on the visit, Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, says: "It's an absolute privilege that our President has chosen to visit Middleport. Without his belief and support for the project we wouldn't be here today embarking on a new and exciting future for Middleport, for The Potteries, and for Stoke-on-Trent."
Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable says: "I'm pleased we are able to support The Prince's Regeneration Trust's project to re-invigorate Middleport Pottery through the Regional Growth Fund. This will provide a great boost to the economy in Stoke-on-Trent and create some much needed employment in the area.”
Garry Biggs, Managing Director at Denby says: “My colleagues and I greatly welcome this investment as it ensures that production at the Middleport Pottery has a long term future and the unique skills are preserved for future generations; it also enables us to continue the business turnaround since Denby acquired Burgess Dorling and Leigh Limited, makers of Burleigh pottery last year."