Hudson and Middleton of England has opened its new “Factory Experience and Visitors Centre” after a year of works.
The fine bone china manufacturers, in Longton, celebrated a 140th birthday this year and renovated the factory as part of the Burslem and Longton Building Improvement Scheme.
Helen Smith, design director at Hudson and Middleton, said: “I think it’s fantastic.
“It’s helping to educate people on the amount of work that has to go in to creating everything.
“One of our suppliers came here for the first time the other day, and was so surprised at the amount of work that goes into it all.
“It’s great we can showcase what we do here, and help to improve the name of Hudson and Middleton in the local area.”
The scheme, set up by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, aimed to restore the historically significant street scene inside the conservation areas of Burslem and Longton.
Cllr Jack Brereton, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage, said: “It’s very pleasing to see a local pottery company doing so well and investment being made into the local area.
“The work that has been carried out looks fantastic and I’m particularly impressed with the new factory experience and visitors centre, which will give people a real insight into what it is like to work in a pottery factory.”
Twenty different projects have been supported in Burslem and Longton town centres with a combined spend of over £5m.
At Hudson and Middleton, £171,000 has been invested in the factory through the project, with funding coming from European Regional Development Fund, English Heritage and the business itself.
Customer Susan Hulme, 69, said: “I think this is fantastic, the fact you can see all of the different skills that go into making the mugs and plates.
“It really helps people to learn about Stoke-on-Trent’s heritage and I think that’s very important.
“Viewing windows have given an insight into the inner working of the factory, and all the skills it entails.”
Mike Shirley, Hudson managing director, said: “It’s very exciting to be beginning another new chapter in the history of this company.
“We’re very proud of this industry and have always wanted to showcase what we do.
“And with the incredible support from the council and generous funds from Historic England and ERDF, we have finally been able to achieve this.
“It’s a brilliant way to get the company name of Hudson out there and show that Stoke-on-Trent is still on the map when it comes to ceramics, and keep the good name of English Bone china.
“This level of investment is great news and it’s very important we continue to do everything we can to preserve our local heritage and industries so they can play a positive part in the city’s future.”
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(Additional reporting by Max McLellan)