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Former nightclub to become new home of Spode's historic treasures

The former nightclub's condition has been described as 'derelict'

Spode Museum has revealed ambitious plans to see thousands of items - currently hidden away - return to display for the first time in a generation.

It is ten years since the Spode Works closed their doors, after trading in Stoke since 1770.

Since then a large part of its historic collection has been kept in storage, though some items have already been away from public view for more than 50 years.

In recent years, the Spode Museum has been striving to slowly return parts of the collection back to its original home for people to enjoy once more.

But now staff and volunteers from the Museum have put forward plans to create a new space to showcase the full collection.


Currently much of the collection is in storage 

In total, that includes around 40,000 pieces of ceramics – including very important pieces made by Spode who perfected both the recipe for bone china and of underglaze transfer-printed earthenware; around 30,000 engraved copper plates; many artefacts and pieces of early machinery; original pattern books with hand-painted watercolour patterns (around 74,000 in total) and huge collection of paper documents.


The Spode Museum collection on display in 1902

They are launching a fundraising campaign to refurbish the former nightclub above their current Elenora Street site to display and store them.

Some may remember it as the INSET nightclub, while in the the early 2000’s part of it was used for tea dances.

Museum Manager, Michael Escolme, admits it will be a task that could cost in the region of £75,000.

He said: "It is a derelict space, it needs more than just a lick of paint.

"There is no electricity up there, or heating.

"We need to make sure the floors are strong enough to support the weight of all these items - as you can imagine, flimsy floors and antique ceramics don't really go together."


The former nightclub is above the Elenora Street site currently occupied by the Museum

The Museum already attracts Spode fans from as far as China and USA, who travel to Stoke especially to see the current collection.

Michael said: "I think it would be surprising for many local residents just how well known the city of Stoke-on-Trent is throughout the world, and what an attraction it is for ceramic collectors.

"We think once we get the bulk of our collection back out on display, visitor numbers will continue to increase - as they have been doing over the few years we have been in existence."

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