Teresa with Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust, who gave a speech at the event

Middleport Pottery crowned Community Champions at Heritage Open Days Awards

Middleport Pottery is thrilled to have received its first national award.

The Pottery was selected as the overall winner of the category ‘Community Champions’ at the 20th Anniversary Awards of Heritage Open Days.

Visitor Centre Manager Teresa Fox-Wells attended the prestigious ceremony at the Freemasons Hall in London. It was hosted by Heritage Open Days patron Loyd Grossman and the winners were awarded by Griff Rhys Jones.

Above: Teresa, back right; Griff Rhys Jones, front left; Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust, front second from left; and Loyd Grossman front centre

Teresa received the award the night before the Pottery fully opened to the public. ‘It’s the perfect end to the restoration of the site, and it’s the perfect start to the Pottery’s new life as a visitor destination,’ she says. ‘We are thrilled to have all the effort put in at Middleport recognised like this. It makes you feel that the hard work of the staff, volunteers and the community leading up to the opening has been worthwhile and has been noted.’

According to Heritage Open Days there were very competitive entries. Receiving dozens of excellent applications the judging panel spent days reviewing the nominations. But in the end Middleport Pottery outstripped the competition, including highly commended projects from Colchester and Oswestry.

The awards focus on all the organisers and volunteers who make heritage open and accessible to the public. The Pottery won the award for the staff’s concerted efforts to work with groups in the community to promote the Pottery and to make its Heritage Open Day event last September a success. 

For example, its living history project has involved members of the local community speaking on film about their memories of the Pottery and the area. These videos are now part of the exhibitions at the Pottery. Staff have also worked with other local organisations, such as a local canal boat charity to provide boat trips between the Pottery and other heritage sites in Stoke for the Heritage Open Day event last year. Middleport Pottery also won for its incredible volunteer support – 116 volunteering hours were given over the Heritage Open Day weekend alone. 

Teresa says, ‘This recognition has given us a great boost as we’ve opened our visitor centre, the café and the other areas of the site, and as we start welcoming families in for craft activities over the summer holidays. Hopefully this award will be the first of many.’

Middleport Pottery visitor centre is open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm (01782 499766; princes-regeneration.org/middleport-pottery), admission free. Factory tours (Tuesday to Friday, adults £6, children aged £3, families £15 – minimum age 10).

To volunteer at Middleport Pottery, please contact Teresa Fox-Wells on 01782 499766.