Have Your Say about the future of Gladstone Pottery Museum


Stoke-on-Trent City Council has decided to make savings by moving its Sport & Leisure Services and its Museums & Culture Services out to a Community Interest Company (CIC) or a Charitable Trust, either separately or together.

Obviously, Sport & Leisure Services are very different from Museums.  Each have very different audiences, needs and aims. Unlike Sport & Leisure, Museums have their emphasis on education, families, serving the local communities and heritage tourism.

Many would like the Museums & Culture Service to stay with the City Council. But if the City is determined to move it off their books then those in the know prefer the Charitable Trust option.

The Friends of the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery (which includes Gladstone Pottery Museum) are 'wholly unconvinced' that the CIC is the right vehicle for Stoke's Museums.  The Friends Council would prefer to see the establishment of a Charitable Trust because of the significant benefits which the option offers in terms of access to gift aid and philanthropic giving.


  • You can find out more in this link, and if you agree, then you might like to sign the petition.  
  • You can also have your say directly with the Stoke City Council here>
  • If you are Twitter fan you may wish to use the hashtag #trust4Gladstone

Consultations finish on 31 May 2015

One of the TOP THREE visitor attractions in England!

Gladstone Pottery Museum has been officially named one of the best places to visit in England.

The  Museum picked up a bronze award for ‘Small Visitor Attraction of the Year’ in the 2015 Visit England Awards for Excellence.

At an awards ceremony in Gateshead on 11 May 2015 Angela Lee (Museum Manager) and Nerys Williams (Audience Development Officer) received the Bronze Award.   The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence are the most prestigious awards in English tourism.

Gladstone Pottery Museum picked up a gold award for ‘Small Visitor Attraction of the Year’ in 2013 and again a year later in 2014, in the Enjoy Staffordshire Tourism Awards.

So now its official:  Gladstone Pottery Museum is one of the top three small visitor attractions in England. Still winning accolades and awards after 40 years!


There’s a man in reception with a pot!

The story behind a picture in the 1986 Museum Brochure.
From Pam Woolliscroft (nee Bott)

One day, working at Gladstone Pottery Museum as a young curator in the late 1970s, I received an internal phone call from my boss, David Sekers, the Museum Director.

Originally, the museum was not going to establish a collection of ceramic objects - the preserved buildings and the demonstrations of pottery skills were its objectives. But people were so enamoured by this wonderful new museum they kept arriving with items to donate, loan or simply enquire about. So I instigated a system of receipts for any items coming into the museum for whatever reason and had nagged everyone not just to accept items willy nilly.

I answered the phone and David said “Bring your receipt book. There's a man in reception with a pot.”

Working in an industrial museum can be a grimy occupation so quite often I was to be found in a brown all-in-one boiler suit, purchased from the local market and adapted to fit. I was in the middle of some practical job or other when the call came, so I grabbed my receipt book and still dressed in the boiler suit dashed downstairs so that I could make a quick receipt and get back to the work I was doing.

Arriving in reception David Sekers proceeded to introduce me to no less than Sir William Gladstone of Hawarden Castle!

He was holding a huge and most wonderful pot - the pâte sur pâte 'Gladstone' vase made by Brown Westhead & Co. which he was presenting to the museum as a loan.

Gladstone Pottery Museum Story - The Gladstone Vase*

I was embarrassed but also amused; and David was telling the truth when he said 'There's a man in reception with a pot'.

I learnt a valuable lesson, and from then on wore clothes which could adapt from scruffy, grimy work in a museum store or preparing an exhibition, to a quick addition of a jacket to see visitors of all sorts at a moment's notice - useful, as I have always worked in industrial museums or dusty environments in the museums I was employed in after leaving Gladstone.

*The Gladstone Vase. One of the great achievements of the Victorian Potters. The central frieze is of pate-sur pate, the most expensive from of ceramic decoration, created by building up successive layers of bone china to make a translucent cameo effect. This unique vase presented by ‘a few Liberals of Burslem’ to the Rt. Hon. W.E. Gladstone in 1888 was made by Brown Westhead and Co.

More here about Brown Westhead and Co. > http://www.thepotteries.org/potworks_wk/058.htm 

The Official Opening and those photos

The opening day photos - why and how they were taken
from Pam Woolliscroft (nee Bott)

There was great excitement when the staff at Gladstone Pottery Museum heard that The Duke of Gloucester was going to open the first phase of this new and ground breaking working pottery museum in 1975.

A lot of work went in to getting the museum looking perfect for the event. And after last minute touches everyone was prepared to welcome this special visitor. In our best clothes (1970s style!) the team of staff waited its turn to be presented, as rehearsed, to the Duke.

But he spent so much time looking around the museum that the event ran late. He left for his special lunch, in the Potter's Club in Federation House in Stoke, without us even meeting him.

We had missed out on our special handshake and meeting with the Duke.

Seeing our disappointment, after all our hard work and anticipation, our boss, David Sekers, the Museum Director, was not accepting this. In a flash, a plan was devised and we were swiftly transported to Stoke from the Museum.

On arrival at Federation House we were lined up to be introduced and shake hands with a slightly bewildered Duke who was then allowed to go for his lunch!

Left to right : Pam Bott (shaking hands with The Duke of Glouscester), Sally Cole, who is this? who is this?,
Alma Scarratt, and, far right, David Sekers, Museum Director making the introductions.

Left to right: Pam Bott, David Sekers, Sally Cole, who is this? Hilda Woodward (with cigarette),
Lady Mayoress (?), Lord Mayor, Alma Scarratt, Audrey Taylor, who is this? and Muffi Fox, far right.