Middleport Pottery

the UK’s last working Victorian pottery

The Project

Middleport Pottery, the UK’s last working Victorian pottery was originally constructed in 1888 for Burgess & Leigh, a local ceramics company, where beautiful Burleigh pottery was produced using extremely rare skills.

In 2011, United Kingdom Historic Building Preservation Trust (UKHBPT) embarked on a long journey to save the site from closure and to protect the complex that houses historic machinery, archives and collections of the past. The traditional industrial factory and its original function have been conserved, repaired and regenerated for community benefit. The areas of museum demonstrate the skilful process being undertaken in a traditional manner. 


The Approach

Under the guidance of Feilden Clegg and Bradley Studios, a quiet and restrained refurbishment took place. Oculus were pleased to be involved in providing the building control process for this ‘light’ touch project. Perhaps the best way of explaining the careful intervention is by the fact that even though there was considerable upgrading works taking place, it is difficult to see what works have been carried out, such was the approach and philosophy of the project.


Middleport Pottery has won numerous awards including:

  • RIBA National Award for architectural excellence
  • RIBA West Midlands Awards
  • Europa Nostra Award for heritage
  • Civic Trust AABC Conservation Award for building conservation
  • Placemaking Award for heritage
  • Heritage Open Days' Community Champion Award

Follow Series 2 - The Great Pottery Throw Down on BBC 2

Photographs courtesy of Tim Crocker  

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