Rescued from the bulldozer on 25th March 1971, Gladstone is home to the most important group of bottle ovens remaining in the UK. Gladstone Pottery Museum in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, is a restored potbank from the days when coal-burning bottle ovens made the world's finest pottery. There are five magnificent, towering ovens in this unique setting - the multi-award winning, industrial museum of the pottery industry. If you are visiting Stoke-on-Trent then go to Gladstone first and you'll find out what the Potteries is all about.

TWENTY NINE awards in just SEVEN Years!

Here's just a few of them ...

2021  Highly Commended in the COLLECTIONS TRUST AWARD for Documentation and Digitisation

2019  STAFFORDSHIRE TOURISM and GOOD FOOD AWARDS! - FOUR AWARDS - GOLD for Best Small Visitor  Attraction, SILVER for Experience of the Year for our Raku Workshops, BRONZE for Responsible and Sustainable Tourism and HIGHLY COMMENDED for Accessible and Inclusive Tourism
2019  STAFFS CHAMBERS BUSINESS AWARDS WINNER - Retail, Leisure, Culture and Tourism 
2018  ENJOY STAFFORDSHIRE - SILVER AWARD for Inclusive Tourism
2018  ENJOY STAFFORDSHIRE - SILVER AWARD for Best Small Visitor Attraction
2018  STOKE-ON-TRENT CITY COUNCIL Staff Awards – Team Awesome - Staff Winners
2018  TRIP ADVISOR - HALL OF FAME - venues that receive a Certificate of Excellence for 5 consecutive years
2017  ENJOY STAFFORDSHIRE - GOLD AWARD for Best Small Visitor Attraction
2017  ENJOY STAFFORDSHIRE - GOLD AWARD for Inclusive Tourism
2017  ENJOY STAFFORDSHIRE - SILVER AWARD for Guided Tour of the Year

loads more here
Gladstone Pottery, Longton's complete Victorian potbank, was rescued on 25 March 1971 just as bulldozers were set to move in. It is now an internationally renowned, multi-award winning and unique museum of the Staffordshire Pottery Industry. The entire collection of Gladstone Pottery Museum is a Designated Collection of national importance.

At the site, five magnificent and towering coal-fired bottle ovens still stand. Each can be explored, as can the cobbled potbank yard, the steam engine and sliphouse, the saggar making shop and the potters shops with live demonstrations. The galleries of sanitaryware, tiles and pottery colour give an insight into the complex and fascinating industry of the Potteries.

You can rest up in the tea shop for a break before you finish your visit exploring the souvenir shop packed with goodies. If you're planning a visit to the Potteries then you should go to Gladstone Pottery Museum before you do anything else.

This blog was created to recognise the remarkable achievements of Gladstone Working Pottery Museum during the forty years since it was opened officially by The Duke of Gloucester on 24th April 1975. The jewel in the Potteries crown.

The beginnings of Gladstone?

1964  A germ of an idea 

In October 1964 Reginald G Haggar wrote to the Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review with his visionary thoughts about preserving a potbank for the benefit of future generations.

The editor of the magazine wrote  "In our news pages, Mr. Reginald Haggar, well-known author and artist, makes an impassioned plea for preservation of the historical Potteries in the form of bottle ovens (“beautiful”) and even a whole factory as a complete industrial museum. Those of us who love the area with all its character and idiosyncrasies would back his plea, and hope that something can be done to preserve the old, whilst acknowledging the benefit of modern methods in present-day production of the Six Towns.’

Here>   is Mr. Haggar's letter in full.  
The germ of an idea and the beginnings of Gladstone Pottery Museum.

What there is to see here>

The Saggar Makers Bottom Knocker

There is a certain fascination about the old Potteries tradesman - The Saggar Makers Bottom Knocker.

What on earth did he (yes, it was definitely a male occupation) actually do?

Gladstone Pottery Museum, in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent is the only place in the world where you can learn about the saggar maker, his frame filler and his saggar makers bottom knocker.

It is here, tucked away in a corner of this remarkable multi-award winning museum (which according to the 'Visit England Awards 2015' it is amongst the top three visitor attractions in England) that you can walk right into the saggar making shop and see where the craft of saggar making took place.

Gladstone Pottery Museum Story - saggar making shop
photo : Phil Rowley 
Its a small workshop, packed with the tools of the saggar maker and his bottom knocker. An introductory video and well written descriptive posters describe why a typical Stoke potbank would employ such a team of dedicated craftsmen.

The craft of saggar making and of the Saggar Makers Bottom Knocker have long since gone except when occasionally, very occasionally, the traditional skills are revived by one man, Kevin Millward, who was taught how to do it.

Here is a great movie "MAU'ING THE SAGGAR". A film by Gerald Mee 1981 showing the process of saggar making by the late Ralph Wheeldon - one of the four last saggar makers at that time working at the Gladstone Pottery.

Read these interesting news articles about saggar making at Gladstone Pottery Museum here>