Sneaky peek into Middleport Pottery's archives.… | Re-form
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The Harper Street: Engagement in Heritage project will regenerate eleven former pottery workers' houses and create a new heritage attraction, workshop and retail space for seven creative businesses, a modern community centre, a 'Changing Places' toilet facility and a public research room to allow people to study items from the archive, many of which will be digitised for the first time.


As part of BBC Arts' 'Museum Passion', for the first time we're sharing some of the items contained within our extensive archive.


Re-Form Heritage has in its collection, a vast number of handwritten ledgers.

These Ledgers were the computers of their days. Filled with all the information needed to run a successful factory. In July 1914, there were 6 men and a ‘lady typist’ employed in the general office. By 1916, all but one clerk had been replaced by women.


William Boulton is a name that is proudly bourne upon the Steam Engine at Middleport Pottery but it is not the only item made by this local firm on the factory. Indeed almost all of the machinery on the factory was supplied by his firm.


The Bathhouse at Middleport Pottery was one of a number of washing facilities installed on the factory. Mostly forgotten until it was uncovered again in 2017. These items were found under layers of watery clay built up over the years.

Bottle Oven

The onset of War in 1939 led to preparations to protect the workforce. A number of areas on the factory were suggested for use as shelters in the case of an air raid. The bottle ovens would have provided a natural shelter for the workers as well as the local community.


Burleigh Ware is all over the globe. When the company first manufactured at Middleport Pottery, the canal was in its prime. Items would be crated and transported by canal to Liverpool to be shipped across the world. Ledgers record the marks made on crates to mark the orders.

The Mould Store

As well as creating new designs and shapes, pottery owners sometimes were able to take advantage of the closure of other works to boost their stock. Some of the company’s early designs may have previously been made at the Hill Pottery by different manufaturers before Burgess and Leigh took ownership of the designs.