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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. 


Building Control

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  

CASE STUDY
Queen Mary University of London

Part of the School of Humanities, the 5-storey building contains a large auditorium, studios, teaching and administration facilities designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects Limited for Queen Mary’s University of London at its Mile End Campus. The new film and drama studio is clad in distinctive glass panels – digitally printed with artwork by the artist Jacqueline Poncelet.  QMUL is highly ranked amongst UK universities for the provision of arts and humanities courses.

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CASE STUDY
The Gainsborough Bath Spa

The Gainsborough building situated in the heart of Bath was formerly part of the City of Bath College. A Grade II listed building from the Georgian period designed by John Pinch the Elder. The conversion to a 5* luxury hotel presented many challenges. The new multi-storey Lower Borough Walls wing reflects the host building architecturally. In the heart of the hotel lies Spa Village Bath, which is quite unique insofar as it has access to the natural thermal mineral-rich waters, making it the only natural thermal spa inside a hotel in the UK.

The main stair protection was particularly challenging as enclosing it was not an option from a conservation perspective. A solution of discreetly placed fire curtains operating on the fire alarm system to provide protection was developed. There are also isolated areas with sprinkler protection to provide an alternative to passive fire protection.

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CASE STUDY
Middleport Pottery

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. 

Read More