Published: August 22nd 2007March 31st 2007
Two bottleneck kilns still standing
Here's the follow up of my trip to Great Britain in March and April 2007... I got stuck in Carlisle on the north west coast of England for a week. My idea was to visit potters driving along the way throughout Britain.
I left Carlisle
on Friday around 4pm with cash pounds and pens in my pocket heading south to a place known for its ceramic industry. John, the expat friend with a house in the village where I live in France, had explained to me that Stoke-on-Trent
was actually a conglomerate of several towns. He had scribbled in my michelin edition 2007 map of Great Britain and Ireland that I should visit Hanley, Fenton, Burslem and Longton
The electric kiln in my pottery studio (berryhobby.blogspot.com) is tagged Potterycrafts Ltd, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. I was keen to know where it actually came from.
With these names in mind I headed south full speed on the M6 motorway. Eventually arrived in the nebulous surroundings at 7pm and looked for a place to stay the night. At a petrol station a lady was very helpful drawing a mini map for me where I could find a... not so cheap hotel. I
A solid brick building for a car park
found the place after driving in circles for a while, going past the same odd places twice, returning to where I had started from, and so on. The place is a maze!
The next day early Saturday morning I managed... again after a few miles driving in circles, to find the Stoke-on-Trent centre of town, the public library, a car park and even the ceramic industry museum. At the tourist office within the public library they gave me a tourist map and they drew arrows to the sites I wanted to visit, one of them being the Wedgwood factory. Walking around I lost the map without realising it. A four wheel drive pulled up next to me while I was taking one of these silly tourists photos and a man with a smile handed it back to me... Nice folks in Stoke!
At the museum I spent quite some time and learnt quite a few things. Namely where the expression 'pot holes' came from. It takes me back to Australia where I lived as a young married woman in the 1960's. 'Pot hole' was a new word for me then. There were plenty of them on the autralian
Down town early one morning
dirt roads I drove on. Well... it came from Stoke-on-Trent where in the 19th century farmers cum potters used to dig a bit of clay here and there, anywhere, just enough to throw a pot or two to add a bit of cash in their earnings. It wrecked the roads and the landscape. So much so that a bill was passed one day making it compulsory to fill up the damn holes the wretched potters used to dig everywhere!
There are more photos below