Wedgwood's Etruria Factory, Stoke-on-Trent

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Date:May 1963

Description:Josiah Wedgwood's Etruria Works opened in 1769. Importantly, the factory was built on land that Wedgwood knew lay on the route of the proposed Trent & Mersey Canal which was opened in 1777. The factory was served by two short branches. In the intervening years, mining subsidence has occurred resulting in the works being below the canal level. The frontage of the works changed little in its lifetime. Behind the facade lay several courtyards with ovens and kilns. Wedgwood's maintained production at Etruria until moving earthenware production to a new factory at Barlaston in the 1940s. By the 1960s, the original factory buildings had been demolished. Only one structure remains, the roundhouse (on of two at each end of the facade) on the left hand edge of the photograph. The use of the roundhouse is uncertain possibly it was a storeroom, a counting house, stables or used for grinding raw materials. Behind the works to the right are the tops of the furnaces etc. of Shelton Steel Works.
The design of the works was heavily influenced by the factory of Matthew Boulton, which was built in Soho, Birmingham, a few years earler
The canal was important for the import of raw materials (clay, stone etc.) and the export of finished wares. The works was close to local collieries, important because you needed more weight of coal than clay in production for firing and powering steam engines. The roundhouse is a grade II* listed building and stands in what was the Evening Sentinel works, now offices. The photograph was taken from the Etruria Road bridge over the Trent & Mersey Canal. To the left of the roundhouse is the wall of the Dunlop Rubber Company works, which closed in the early 1960s.

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Creators: Mr Bert Bentley - Creator

Image courtesy of: Stoke on Trent City Archives.

Donor ref:SD1480/136-03 (204/35938)

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