Work has begun on the restoration of one of Stoke-on-Trent’s most notable historic buildings, the Wedgwood Institute in Burslem.
The Grade II* listed building is being brought back to life by world-leading regeneration charity The Prince’s Regeneration Trust and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Initial building work on the site has started as part of the first phase of a landmark regeneration project, which could create up to 150 jobs in the long-term.
This stage of the scheme involves opening up the ground floor for temporary public use, such as office space, community events and exhibitions, and should be completed by August 2015.
Contractors from William Anelay Limited will perform urgent repairs to weatherproof the roof and to protect the building’s ornate terracotta façade.
They will also carry out work on the interior to make the ground floor accessible and usable.
The aim is to safeguard the structure while a funding package is put together for a second, more extensive phase of the project, which would involve restoring the whole building and adapting it as a centre for start-up businesses.
Last year, Stoke-on-Trent City Council agreed to transfer the Wedgwood Institute to The Prince’s Regeneration Trust.
The Prince’s charity estimates that the institute, which dates back to 1863, would provide space for around 20 to 25 businesses, creating up to 150 jobs, as well as further room for business meetings, professional training and mentoring.
Ros Kerslake, chief executive of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, said: “We are very excited that work to restore this beautiful and iconic building has finally begun.
“Our vision, working with our partners, is to not only breathe life back into the Wedgwood Institute, which is a wonderful historical asset for Burslem, but also to kick-start business growth and investment in the wider area.”