Prince Charles opens Clay College at Middleport Pottery

Workers at Middleport Pottery say HRH Prince Charles was pleased to see the site continue to thrive.

He paid another visit yesterday to the Stoke-on-Trent factory he helped save from closure in 2011, which has since become home to new enterprises.

The Prince of Wales officially opened Clay College.

Located in the original Packing House, the site was reopened by His Royal Highness in 2016 following a £200,000 restoration project.

Clay College identified this stand-alone building as the ideal location for their new, two-year studio pottery course. In September 2017 Clay College welcomed 16 full-time students and hosts regular masterclasses and exhibitions.

During the visit His Royal Highness also had the chance to see Middleport Pottery's original workers' bathhouse, currently being restored. Possibly the only one of its kind, the washroom was buried after 120 years of development had left it below ground level.

He also saw the completed restoration work on the Pottery's William Boulton steam engine, which was carried out by a team of professional conservators and enthusiastic volunteers.

The steam engine powered the whole factory from the Victorian era until the 1970s. Built in Stoke-on-Trent specifically for Middleport Pottery, it is the last surviving example of its kind still within its original factory setting.

The project has benefitted the community by providing placements for several young people working with The Prince’s Trust, and four of Middleport’s volunteers are trained to operate the engine.

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