Gladstone Pottery Museum
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The Gladstone Pottery Museum is a working museum of a medium sized pottery, typical of those once common in the North Staffordshire area of England from the time of the industrial revolution in the 18th century to the mid 20th century. It is located in Longton, Staffordshire. It is an Anchor Point of ERIH, The European Route of Industrial Heritage.
History of Museum
A pottery factory first opened on the site in 1787. The factory opened as a museum in 1974, the buildings having been saved from demolition in 1970 when the pottery closed (some ten years after its bottle ovens were last fired). The museum has shown its commitment to industrial heritage by continuing to function as a working pottery, but production has had to be curtailed for financial reasons. There is a varied range of ceramics on display, not only mass-produced pottery but also art pottery such as the "Gladstone Vase" by Frederick Alfred Rhead.
Each year, the museum holds seasonal events - the most popular being the annual Christmas Carol Festival/Concert and the Halloween night. Visitors are led around the bottle kilns and factory rooms by a guide who relays tales of yesteryear.
Archives from the domesday book indicate that a pot bank may have indeed been in existence on the Gladstone site since the mid-11th century at around the time of the battle of Hastings (or the Battle of Battle) as it should perhaps be correctly named.
Gladstone has seen its share of celebrity interest, from Tony Robinson filming for a BBC documentary 'The Worst Jobs in Britain' and from Alan Titchmarsh. It also has regular visits from the Blue Peter crew, and numerous children's TV programmes. In the early 1990s it was featured on Noel's Houseparty with a live 'gunging' outside of the bottle kilns. The Doctor Who serial The Ultimate Foe was filmed at the museum.
Gladstone pottery museum was featured on Living TV's popular series, "Most Haunted". Known as a site of paranormal activity, Gladstone has seen a recent surge in amateur and professional paranormal groups/mediums visiting the museum. The current Operations Manager, Ian Watson was featured on the programme.
Celebrations and Events
The Museum holds annual events from Halloween ghosts walks and tours, to Christmas Carol Concerts and seasonal festivals. It also caters for children with Egg Easter Hunts and Summer Pottery workshops. In the last few years, the Museum has opened 'Flushed with Pride' a toilet exhibition featuring a Japanese imported toilet, and toilets dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries.