- HM The King and Burleigh Pottery
- The Burleigh Pottery Coronation Gift
- Viewing The Burleigh Coronation Gift
HM The King and Burleigh Pottery
The focus for Burleigh pottery during this celebratory year, is to continue the great work of handcrafting pottery right here in Middleport, continuing not just our rich company history, but also continuing the legacy laid down by HM The King in 2010, when as patron of the Princes Regeneration Trust, he brought together funding and expertise which resulted in a bright future for Middleport Pottery, home of Burleigh. Culminating in a grand re-opening of the site in 2013, when areas of the factory no longer required for production were given over to a visitor centre and other public areas, allowing the space to be enjoyed by the public both local and from further afield.
£9 million from various sources including English Heritage, Lottery funding, and private donations was spent on stabilising, repairing, and nurturing the great Victorian Factory back to health.
Built in 1888, Middleport Pottery stood out amongst the factories buildings which remain in the area. Middleport still housed the original manufacturer who built the place all those years ago. Burgess & Leigh Ltd which trades as ‘Burleigh’ is the very last company to ‘underglaze tissue transfer print’ a once ubiquitous technique in Staffordshire. Burleigh continues to preserve and protect this as well as a number of other historical techniques. The Middleport site as a whole is managed by ‘Re-form Heritage’ a direct descendant of the Prices Regeneration Trust, now home to not just Burleigh, but a number of other businesses as well as a thriving café, and annual events programme.
Since 2013 Burleigh has enjoyed a continually growing order book and loyal customer base. One of our most popular patterns is Regal Peacock; a Royal favourite since 1913 when Queen Mary became a fan following a visit to Harrods. HM The King owns a number of pieces decorated in this pattern. So rather than create a new product, as is the traditional way, for past commemorative occasions, we instead have chosen to focus on our existing Regal Peacock pattern. In line with so many of the beliefs that lie at the centre The Kings ethos, we take the time to tell the story of the workers who handcraft these beloved wares, to champion the incredible skills they have. It is in no small part thanks to HM King Charles III that the Burleigh staff get to continue making these wares within these historic buildings, not just for this auspicious year, but for many long years to come.
The Burleigh Pottery Coronation Gift
We have been busy crafting a special gift for The King, something newly created but is part of legacy that stretches far back into the pottery industry’s heritage and craftsmanship. A new and very unique book has been created. Books just like it have remained elusive and little-known essential pieces of kit for the thousands of decorators who have worked in the Staffordshire potteries; ‘The Transferrers Book’.
These intricate objects were created as guides to ensure all the transferrers within a company would know the rules for each pattern, where the print should sit, where cuts should be made and how each design should fit to each and every shape. These books become precious, protected sources of information, filled with beautiful cut outs of print and hand written notes.
Burleigh is home to the last of these skilled workers, known as transferrers. One of the most memorable occasions in the memory of our staff was when HM The King had a decorating lesson during his visit in 2013, seen in the photo below. It was a joy to see the excellent results from The Kings efforts. So, when it came to thinking of a special gift for the Coronation, Burleigh historian Jemma Baskeyfield, decided the best gift would be something any budding decorator would need.
Hand bound onsite using traditional techniques, this has been a labour of love from start to finish. Created in much the same way such decorating records have been throughout the company history, this piece will be completely unique as no one else left in the world uses such decorating techniques.
On the 2nd of May 2023 Burleigh staff officially presented ‘The Transferrers Book’ to HM The King’s representative, the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, during a reception at Middleport Pottery.
Viewing The Burleigh Coronation Gift
From this date, a sister copy of the book will be displayed to the public, on the first floor of the Burleigh Factory Shop. Please check our opening days and times before setting off, to avoid any disappointment.
Long Live The King
We will be closed for three days over the Coronation Bank Holiday, to allow the whole of the Burleigh workforce to celebrate. Long live The King!