Where can you find a hooded square, a Babylonian or a Heaps Cyclone not forgetting a Half Moon Square Buff? A small Quaker, a Tall-Boy Tulip or a Duke of Sutherland?
All these and more are splendidly displayed in the Ceramica new building at the heart of Burslem. They are a small section of the 2,500 chimney pot collection at the Chimney Pot Museum, Longport.
Scores of manufacturers of chimney pots existed throughout the country in the C19th providing a bewildering range of designs and sizes for the millions of chimney stacks atop the millions of new houses which accompanied the rapid industrialisation of Britain.
Designs not only varied to cope with the different draught demands of fireplaces but also as symbols of wealth. “Look at my pots” – they’re big, they’re fancy, they’re telling you I’ve made it!
But even pots of more modest size and design are seldom so plain as to be boring. And always the pots are a vital part of a building’s architectural integrity. Remove the pots and leave a stunted chimney stack and the architectural skyline is humiliated.
The Clean Air Act 1956 marked the beginning of the end for the illustrious role of the chimney pot. How strange, how incomplete a new house looks without chimney stacks and pots. Now there are only two manufacturers of chimney pots in the country. Their skilled work force is able to reproduce any historical pot, whatever the size and design as they often do for heritage organisations.
Redevelopment of whole streets and areas has meant the demise of millions of pots but fortunately local collector Lance Bates, curator of the Chimney Pot Museum and owner of some 2,500 pots, has saved valuable parts of our architectural heritage from the crushing machine.
The Chimney Pot Preservation & Protection Society, a registered charity, is developing the museum so that it not only provided delight and interest for adults but becomes a useful learning centre for school visits.
The Society gives illustrated talks and offers grant support for the re-installation of chimney pots on blanked-off chimney stacks.
For more information:
Chimney Pot Preservation & Protection Society
(reg charity no: 1120862)
National Chimney Pot Museum
43 Station Street, Longport, Stoke-on-Trent. ST6 4NA
Lance Bates: 07946275430
Market Place, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. ST6 3DS
Karen Burgess: 01782 832001