I hadn't been to the Middleport Pottery before, but I was very familiar with their popular "Calico" pattern, seen above with the remains of a delicious lunch. I always called it Blue Calico, but its name is just Calico.
The factory, originally operated by Burgess, Dorling, and Leigh (known as Burleigh), is the oldest working Victorian pottery in Staffordshire. It continues to make pottery in the old way, as you'll see; think hand transfer printing. The pottery was purchased by the Prince's Regeneration Trust in 2011. This made it financially possible for an extensive renovation of the factory. It also allowed the traditional work done in the factory to be preserved for present and future generations.
|Bottle oven at the Middleport Pottery|
Above is one of the original bottle ovens, which historically was fired by coal. Today the pottery is fired in an electric oven (better for the environment and workers!). We were told the plants, seen on the outside of the oven, would never grow when the oven was working; it would be much too hot.
|Along the canal, there are planters filled with flowers, Canada geese, and a gorgeous blue and white pottery wall.|
|Slabs of clay|
|Clay cutter; like the cheese cutter my mother used to use.|
|Plates waiting to be decorated|
|Notice the transfers hanging on a line.|
|Cups waiting for the oven. The purple color will become blue in the oven.|
|The electric oven is a bit different than the bottle oven above!|
|Finished pattern is now blue! These pots are for sale in the factory shop.|
The factory shop showed an abbreviated primer of the pottery process written on scrap paper and modeled by clay and clay pots.
|Part I: Clay and Greenware Item|
|Part II: Biscuit Ware and Glost Finished|
Below are some lovely items for sale in the factory shop.
|Burgess & Leigh Middleport Pottery Shop/A dresser filled with blue and white pottery and more plates on the wall.|
I decided to add a photo of the cow creamers sold in the shop, as cow creamers have a long ceramic history in England. You can see 19th century cow creamers in my blog post The TCC England Tour 2015: Part Three - The Potteries Museum And Art Gallery. You may also want to check out the TCC England Tour 2015: Parts One, Two and Four; The Victoria And Albert Museum, Keele Hall And The Raven Mason Collection, and Spode.