Why is heritage important to you? | Re-form

31/08/2020

Why is heritage important to you?

Throughout the month of September we're asking our visitors, volunteers and staff members why Middleport Pottery and its heritage is important to them.

We'll be sharing photos and words across our social media pages to highlight the relationship between people and the pottery, how we connect to the buildings and the impact of its heritage.

To be involved, select one recent photo that you've taken and include a sentence which starts, "Middleport Pottery is...".

Send them via email: info@re-form.org

Please note: Your photos will be shared across social media therefore please do not to include photos of children and seek permission from people within the photo before sending. Thank you.

Below are some of the words and images we've received. We will continue to update this page throughout the month. We look forward to seeing your responses.


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Re-Form Heritage is national regeneration charity which owns and operates Middleport Pottery. #LivingBreathingHeritage

Follow Re-Form Heritage:

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Why is Middleport Pottery and its heritage important to you?

Words by Hector Emanuelli (Regular Visitor & Centenarian. Born 1920)

"I'm a great lover of Middleport Pottery"

Hector is pictured with his proud son, Dominic.

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Words and illustration by Kate Ackley (Visitor & Illustrator)

"I’m an illustrator born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent. A lot of my inspiration comes from the architecture of Stoke and the strong working class history of the city. The industrial heritage of Stoke is something I have always found fascinating. Because it’s something my generation never really saw first-hand, it almost takes on a legendary status. I don’t think you can visit Stoke without feeling a very strong sense of the past, and places like Middleport keep this feeling alive, exciting and relevant."

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Words and photo by Georgia Clowes (Volunteer and Burleigh Collector)

"Middleport Pottery is my second home. Upon setting foot into the factory for the first time, I fell in love with everything and felt like I belonged there. I started volunteering in the gift shop and after doing some genealogy digging one day I discovered I was a descendant of The Father of English Pottery, Josiah Wedgwood... and it all made sense. I felt at home because the generations before me made the industry around me what it was then and influenced heavily how it is today.

Middleport Pottery and its heritage is important to me because it reminds people of how hands-on the industry used to be; how one lump of clay can be passed through 26 pairs of hands, each pair helping handcraft it into a final masterpiece. It reminds us how our ancestors should be celebrated for their work and skills, for the challenging working conditions they endured, the long hours they worked, and their resilience during their struggles. Middleport Pottery keeps each and every one of their legacies alive."

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Words and photos by Phil Knott (Steam Team and Heritage Volunteer)

"In 2014 after 34 years of working in the ceramics industry I was made redundant, although retired I wanted to keep busy and feel like I was still contributing to the area. By coincidence Middleport Pottery had put an appeal out for volunteers for its opening and I answered the call!

Despite living and working in the area I’d never heard of Middleport Pottery or even been inside a bottle oven but from my first visit I was hooked and 6 years later I still am.

It has given me the opportunity to do my own exploring and piece together the still evolving history of this wonderful building, to meet people from all over the world and tell them the history of the Potteries."

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Words and photos by Alan Lees (Visitor)

"Having been to Middleport Pottery a number of times, I have seen it develop into a wonderful history lesson of what made the Potteries so successful in the past but also how, with its ability to showcase its activities and protect a valuable site, it has become an important part of the new Potteries."

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Words & photo by Victoria Haynes (Communications Volunteer)

"Middleport Pottery is a second home to me. Having Paintresses, a Cup Handler, a Lithographer, a Cod Placer and even a Saggar-Makers-Bottom-Knocker in my ancestry, the pottery industry and the Middleport Pottery factory brings me closer to family members whom I was never able to meet. Now as a volunteer, I feel proud to be continuing their stories and sharing local heritage for future generations"

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Words, written in 2018, by Margaret Hodgkins (Gardening and Retail Volunteer)

“One more day to go then Weeping Window closes. I am absolutely shattered but have loved feeling needed and valued and being with such nice people. The old me has emerged and I am grateful for that. I know that Den would be proud of me.

Den was my husband of 49 years and my very best friend. I had been his sole carer since 2003 and 24/7 carer for his last 4 years and in that time lost my identity."

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Words by Kerstie Dayson (Visitor). Photo by Jenny Harper

"My grandparents worked in the pottery industry, so did some of my aunts, uncles and cousins. I spent the first 5 years of my life living in Middleport, on Slater Street, until my parents moved to Biddulph. I have always had a strong connection to Middleport, I’m proud of my roots. When Middleport Pottery had the poppy display, my husband and I brought our son Alfie to see them and to show him some of his family history and we talked about the different types of jobs that his great grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and cousins have done and still do in the pottery industry.”.

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Words by Val Turner (Heritage and Archive Volunteer)

"Middleport Pottery and its heritage is important to me because it shines a light on the history of the ceramic industry in Stoke-on-Trent and the people who worked and still work to create beautiful pieces of pottery.

It's great to share the history of the site and to explain what each part of the building was used for. We get visitors from all over the UK and overseas and I like to think they go away with a greater understanding of how a pottery factory in Stoke-on-Trent worked all of those years ago which they can share with others."

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Words and photo by Peter Bamford (Visitor)

"For me, heritage is important because it preserves our traditions and culture within a snapshot of time. These very experiences are what shaped our culture of today, and the future."

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Words and photo by Ian Jones (Narrowboat Dane Volunteer)

"Even before my involvement as a volunteer I have always believed that our heritage is vital and must be preserved. Being involved with Dane has only reinforced this belief. I feel that we are providing a tangible insight to the past for the public to see and understand what it was like back in the day and how things were done then. Making it possible for them to actually travel on the canal on board really brings the experience to life. I for one am proud to be part of the team as we educate and inform our guests as to the old ways of canal life."

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Words and photo by Paine Proffitt (Visitor & Local Artist)

"It's brilliant having all this history on our doorstep ... the past is still in these bricks and buildings, and still quietly shaping us and our town today"

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Words and photo by Kayla Powell (Visitor)

"Stoke-on-Trent had a huge impact on the world a hundred years ago. Middleport Pottery is making sure that people remember our important heritage. It’s fantastic to see the pottery on popular TV programmes, helping to bring the heritage to younger audiences. As someone born in Stoke that makes me very proud."

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Words and photos by Nancee Rodgers (Visitor from Cincinnati, USA and Burleigh Collector)

"Middleport Pottery is where I visit Dillwyn willow."

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Words and photo by Joan Brailsford (Visitor)

"Middleport pottery is my inspiration and the place I keep coming back to. I almost can feel the presence of the past workers and I love the old machinery and fabric of the buildings that are so rich in history. I am currently creating a series of six small art quilts based on the pottery, that incorporate some of the photos that I take on my visits."

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