Opens 24 April 1975

How the Gladstone Museum became a reality

Personal recollections from the mid 1970s by David Malkin

Our next task was to advertise for a director who would be responsible for planning and running the Museum. Of the many applicants interviewed the most outstanding was David Sekers who was not only a ceramic enthusiast but also very interested in industrial archaeology. The progress he made working on our basic plan was astonishing and the Museum opened for a trial period during the 1974 August Bank Holiday. Our first visitors were children representing many schools in the district. Their obvious enjoyment and interest assured us that we were creating a very useful additional attraction to North Staffordshire.

We then closed the Museum until Easter 1975 when it was officially opened by HRH the Duke of Gloucester. He expressed great interest in our enterprise. Later, at lunch, Derek Johnson presented the deeds of Gladstone to the Trust, as we had obtained the initial £250,000 through the generosity of many pottery firms, both large and small, and the involvement of the Manifold Trust.

In its first few years the Museum won the Business and Industry Award for Conservation (1975), the Come to Britain Trophy (1975), the highly-prestigious Museum of the Year Award (1976), the Institute of Chartered Surveyors Award for Conservation (1978) and the Sir Mark Henig Award for Tourism (1982) more>

David Malkin

24th April 1975  An Invitation to the Opening

Gladstone Pottery Museum Story History
The Invitation to the Opening of Gladstone Pottery Museum 1975

David Sekers, Gladstone Museum Director, talks to The Duke of Gloucester
in the cobbled yard on Opening Day 24 April 1975

Gladstone Pottery Museum Story
David Sekers, Gladstone Museum Director, shows The Duke of Gloucester
around the museum and finally The Duke unveils the plaque - 24 April 1975

Gladstone Pottery Museum Story
The Duke of Gloucester shakes hands with Pam Bott, one of the museum staff
at a formal reception at the Potters Club, Federation House, Stoke.  24 April 1975
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.

Gladstone Pottery Museum Story
Gladstone Pottery Museum - staff and guests group photo
 Potters Club, Federation House, Stoke.  24 April 1975
Left to right: Pam Bott, David Sekers, Sally Cole, who is this?, Hilda Morris (with cigarette),
Joan Johnson, Lord Mayor, Alma Scarratt, Audrey Taylor, who is this? and Muffi Fox, far right.

The opening day photos - Why and how they were taken

A recollection by 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 moment 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!

1975 What the museum is all about

David Sekers talks about the museum and how it came about in the early 1970s. He describes what the museum was designed to do - showing the buildings, the crafts, the local language and the six towns. He wanted the museum to show the arduous and anxious life of the people working in the Staffordshire Potteries.

1975 The Souvenir Brochure - The First Edition

The museum's first souvenir brochure was designed by John Bedford MSIA and printed by Wood, Mitchell and Co Ltd, Hanley

Download the Souvenir Brochure 1975 here>