Burslem is open for business - HRH The Prince of Wales opens Middleport Pottery's Prince of Wales Studios and sees plans for the £7m transformation of the Wedgwood Institute into a vibrant centre for business, employment and training.
The Prince’s Regeneration Trust is pleased to announce that HRH The Prince of Wales will be visiting Middleport Pottery and the Wedgwood Institute in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent on Tuesday 26th January.
The Prince of Wales, founder and patron of The Prince's Regeneration Trust, will officially open the new Prince of Wales Studios and receive the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award, Europe’s highest honour in the field, conferred to the Trust for the restoration of Middleport Pottery in 2015.
The Pottery's old packing house - where pottery was once packed up ready for transport by canal boat - has undergone a stunning £155,000 conversion to create the beautiful two-storey Prince of Wales Studios. The Studios have been specifically designed to accommodate a range of activities for local businesses, including up to seven open-plan work desks for artists and craftspeople, two kilns for artists’ use, a unique lecture and events facility, and a gallery to display the artists’ work to buyers.
The Studios were recently used for the filming of the BBC 2 series, The Great Pottery Throw Down, and during the visit The Prince will meet the winner of the first series, Matthew Wilcock, the three other finalists, broadcaster Sara Cox, and the two judges, Keith Brymer Jones and Kate Malone.
The Prince will continue his visit to Burslem at the Grade II* listed Wedgwood Institute -one of England's 'most at risk' Victorian buildings - to see the completed first stage in the Institute's restoration, and to hear how The Prince's Regeneration Trust and Stoke City Council are working together to revive the Institute as a creative and vibrant centre for enterprise, employment and training in Stoke-on-Trent.
The charity hopes that once fully restored the Institute will provide space for around 20 to 25 start-up businesses, creating up to 150 jobs for local people, as well as room for business meetings, professional training and mentoring and community facilities. The Heritage Lottery Fund has recently pledged £2.6m to the project, and The Prince’s Regeneration Trust will be launching a fundraising campaign this month to raise the remaining £4.2million. It is hoped the main works can start in Spring 2017 and that the Institute can be fully open in 2018-19.