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Summer 2022 sees the opening of How we Lived at Harper Street, an extension to the Heritage Trail at Middleport Pottery.

The end three houses, numbers 109-113 Harper Street, will be an experience in which the clock will be turned back in one of the houses to the year 1950, filled with furnishings and the memories in both sound and imagery of people who lived locally. The other houses will have exhibition spaces telling stories of the people, the neighbourhood and life in the Potteries since the 1890s, when these houses were built.

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Harper Street sits within the designated Trent & Mersey Canal conservation area in Stoke-on-Trent. This conservation area has been described as being “of outstanding industrial archaeological importance, both nationally and locally”, due to the presence of early examples of England’s canal network and associated industrial buildings, which include Middleport Pottery.

The terrace typifies pottery workers’ houses built in Stoke-on-Trent in the late 1800s. The corner house at one end of the row is known as the “Lodge Keeper’s House” of Middleport Pottery, as reportedly this was the home of Middleport’s lodge keeper and his family during the early twentieth century. The Lodge Keeper’s House retains much of its original layout.

The houses are intrinsically linked with Middleport Pottery. It is likely that Harper Street was built at the same time or shortly after the construction of Middleport’s factory in 1888, as the houses do not appear on maps of the area predating the factory, however do appear on a later map of 1899. It is known that the Middleport residential area grew in the late 19th century with the erection of factories, as houses were built intended for the increased number of workers brought to the area.

What's New

The Harper Street: Engagement in Heritage project enabled the renovation of eleven Victorian terraced houses adjacent to Middleport Pottery. The project houses a new heritage attraction, studio & workshop space, publicly accessible archive and community centre for Middleport's residents. The project will contribute significantly to growing Middleport Pottery and Burslem's reputation as a major visitor heritage destination.

The Original Lodgekeepers House: presented as it would have been in the 1950s, inhabited by the Lodgekeeper to Middleport Pottery and his family.

How we Lived at Harper Street:
exhibition of the images and recollections of residents and visitors to Harper Street in the 50s and 60s.

Collections Store and Research Centre:
to store and make accessible the growing archive and mixed collections of Middleport Pottery, including a unique set of privately-owned Burleighware, so far the largest known collection anywhere in the world.

Six new workshop spaces for creative businesses support the project's financial sustainability and will further develop the existing community of creative businesses operating at Middleport Pottery.

Community Centre:
Middleport Matters will manage a self-contained community hub - a safe and easily accessible space for regular community use.