Fed up of the continual rainy Saturday’s in Birmingham (and everywhere else I think!) we decided to have a day out in Stoke and visit the potteries. An hour from Birmingham, so basically on our doorstep, it was somewhere I wanted to visit, especially after watching BBC’s The Great Pottery Throwdown.
I collect vintage teacups (see previous blog) and love looking for crockery and bits and bobs at antique and vintage fairs however this was where my understanding of pottery started and finished! So I decided to watch the Pottery Throwdown and got hooked!
People growing up in the 1970’s like me may well remember Margo Leadbetters efforts at pottery in the BBC’s The Good Life and indeed all my experience of pottery came from this! However, after watching the Pottery Throwdown, now I can talk convincingly to my husband about glazes, biscuit firing and fine bone china! Therefore I was really looking forward to a day trip to the potteries.
We started off at The Museum of Pottery, which hadn’t that much to interest my 7 year old and was a bit fusty, just like museums used to be. So after a quick tour round we decided to visit the Emma Bridgewater factory nearby. This also had the attraction of a vintage style cafe and so hot chocolate was enjoyed by all. We visited on a weekend so unfortunately we were unable to participate in the factory tours as these are only held on weekdays. However the seconds shop more than made up for it! In the end I opted for a pretty rose flower vase and a spotty oven glove but I could have spent a fortune (some people did!). http://emmabridgewaterfactory.co.uk/
Next stop was the Gladstone Museum of Pottery. This had excellent reviews on Tripadvisor plus a nice cafe! (always a must!). We must have spent 3 hours there it was so interesting and well laid out. The 7 year old was fascinated by the bottle ovens and the old processes that they used. There was even an exhibition on the history of the toilet which he loved! Including the smells that went with the sewage; pre-toilet era!
There were plenty of activities for children and we enjoyed watching him throwing a pot on a proper wheel! We were even more delighted that we were allowed to keep the pot too! We loved it here and are looking forward to visiting again in the summer! http://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/visit/gpm/