Spode Museum Trust Awarded Lottery Grant

The Spode Museum Trust has been awarded a £50,000 Heritage Lottery grant for a two year project to operate a Spode history centre in one of the historic buildings on the former Spode factory in Church Street, Stoke.

The project is provisionally entitled On this Historic Site The project will include exhibits from the Trust’s collection, a quantity of archive material and will focus not just on the 200 year history of the company and its products, but also on the stories of some of the generations of people who worked at Spode, their skills and their working conditions in past centuries.

Among the objectives of the history centre are its engagement with the local community in Stoke, many of whom once worked at the Church Street site, or whose parents or grandparents did, and for whom the Spode heritage is of considerable pride.

A spokesman for the trust said,

We are particularly grateful to all those who have supported us in our application for the grant, and especially to Stoke-on-Trent City Council, who have been so supportive in providing the premises for us. We expect the Centre will open in Spring 2012. Quite a lot of refurbishment is first necessary for the building – like many others on the site, it is in poor condition at the moment. The total cost of the History Centre will be well in excess of our £50,000 grant and we are looking to raise an additional £20,000 through sponsorship and donations. If you would like to help us by making a donation please contact us through our website.

Former Stoke-on-Trent historic pottery site to get new lease of life

Developers are being given the opportunity to breathe new life into a former historic pottery site in the heart of a Stoke-on-Trent town.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is calling for expressions of interest for Spode, in Elenora Street, Stoke. The 10 acre historic former pottery site, owned by the city council, is at the heart of Stoke Town next to the town hall and neighbouring University Quarter.

The site and its historic buildings is a focus of the Stoke Town Masterplan which is currently being produced by URBED, with DTZ, Arup and Gehl architects.

The city council is asking developers to send in expressions of interest for developing the site by 14 February so that developer interest can be reviewed alongside the masterplan process.

“The former Spode pottery site is an intrinsic part of Stoke Town. At the moment the city council is exploring all the options available for not only the town as a whole but the Spode site as well. It is important that this process is interlinked.”

Developers have until 14 February to register their interest at www.stoke.gov.uk/spode. Respondents will then be asked to provide further details on their vision for the site and how they propose to deliver it.

URBED was appointed to produce the Stoke Town masterplan in September last year. An exhibition last month gave residents a first glimpse at initial proposals for the development of the town. Once comments from the exhibition have been analysed preferred options for the masterplan are due to be unveiled in Spring.

Spode ““ a world renowned, iconic name in design and ceramics ““ was based at the Spode Works site until 2008. It occupies a relatively rectangular and level site of almost 10 acres. Approximately half the site is cleared, creating a potential 5 acre development site; the remaining site area is occupied by predominantly listed buildings of both heritage merit and development potential.

Portmeirion Pottery, based in Stoke Town, acquired the Spode brand in 2008 and continues to produce both the ranges that made the Spode name as well as contemporary Spode designs.

Progress on the Stoke Town masterplan and the current options is available at www.urbed.coop/stoketownmasterplan.

Prestigious Team To Revitalise Historic Stoke Town

The design team behind the popular Bristol waterfront development Temple Quay 2 are set to breathe new life in to the heart of a historic Stoke-on-Trent town.

URBED, which has played a successful role in major regeneration projects across the country, has been chosen to lead the Stoke Town masterplan.

The team, which includes Jan Gehl Architects, who designed Copenhagen’s public spaces, DTZ and Arup and is led by Manchester based URBED, is looking at ways to revitalise the current town centre as well as the neighbouring world renowned former pottery works Spode.

The legacy of the town’s ceramic heritage will be brought to life through contemporary uses of the remarkable heritage buildings and redevelopment opportunities offered by the Spode site. Ideas being explored through the masterplanning process include Creative Courts and Spode Lanes – made up of alleyways of cobbled streets with small independent shops and creative art spaces ““ as well as Circus Squares, with open space for street theatre and dance.

More immediate uses for the important site will also be woven into the masterplanning process with a combination of leisure uses, creative low cost studio spaces and exhibition and performance space all creating possible short term uses.

“The appointment of URBED is a significant step in the regeneration of the historic town of Stoke. The team have worked on successful projects across the country and I am keen to see the vision they have for transforming Stoke.”

The appointment follows a public consultation on the five short-listed teams’ concept drawings which showed residents were keen to see heritage buildings brought back to life, improved transport connections, a wider range of retail, quality open space and public realm, a pedestrian friendly town centre and regeneration plans that deliver jobs.

Over the next six months the team will pull together a detailed masterplan for Stoke Town incorporating the Spode site and connections to the University Quarter and Stoke Station. The designs, which will incorporate short-term uses as well as a longer term vision, will be worked up in consultation with the community and potential investors to make sure that it is a community led plan with real deliverability.

“As a team we are really excited about this new project and the opportunity to design the future plans for the historic town. This is an important heritage site and it is vital that the masterplan respects the past while creating something new and exciting. Our masterplanning approach is based on the three R’s ““ first rediscovering what was there before, then repairing the tears in the urban fabric before renewing the area with a new and contemporary urban layer.”

The masterplan will guide investment in to the town over the coming 10 to 15 years. It will also show how the historic town centre pottery site, Spode Works, can be redeveloped to play a significant role in the regeneration of Stoke Town.

Spode Works, in Elenora Street, Stoke, lays claim to the longest continuous period of pottery production. Built in 1759 the 10 acre site consists of buildings of international heritage significance and offers a unique opportunity to develop a mixed-use scheme which will lead to the regeneration of the town.

Stoke Town is home to Stoke Minster where some of the town’s most famous potters are buried including Josiah Spode and Josiah Wedgwood. The town is also home to the city’s Civic Centre, railway station and the rapidly developing University Quarter.

Spode Works, in the heart of the town, is probably best known for its blue-printed pottery and Willow Pattern. The company also invented bone china, which has been the standard British porcelain now for more than two hundred years. The Spode brand is still in production with Portmeirion Pottery continuing to produce many of the collections in the iconic brand.

The Spode Works site was acquired by the company’s founder Josiah Spode in 1776 and was operational as the Spode Works until 2008. The factory underwent extensive rebuilding and enlargement in the 1820’s and 1830’s. The more interesting buildings, in the courtyard in the northwest of the site, were Grade II listed in December 2007. The site is now recognised as being of national importance. It offers a remarkable opportunity for sensitive redevelopment in order to lead the regeneration of Stoke Town.