After a look found the shopping village, and a disappointing look round the Portmeirion shop we stuck another postcode in the satnav and set off for Dudson. (The shopping village postcode is ST4 8JG if you want it, and Dudson ST6 2BA). Dudson is mainly hotel ware and the shop can be quite good for cheap mugs. Julia bought a teapot to replace the one she bought last year, which is now chipped.
We passed Moorcroft on the way, but didn’t have time to stop (ST6 2DQ). Then it was time for Middleport (where I took most of the photographs. It’s the pottery where they shot The Great Pottery Throw Down. That’s ST6 3PE if you’re planning a trip. I’m not particularly keen on their factory shop, but they do other things too, including a narrow boat which used to carry clay from Cornwall and take finished pots to the port of Liverpool. Canals must have been wonderful things at one time.
I had to check how the canals brought clay to the Potteries, as there is no canal from Cornwall. It seems they used to bring them in via various places – first shipping the clay up to Liverpool and Hull before bringing it closer by river, then using packhorses for the last bit. You can see how the canal must have made things much easier. With the canal you can bring clay from either port to a wharf alongside the pottery.
The tearoom is quite good (though we didn’t eat this time, still being full of breakfast). It seemed a bit over-staffed for the business if was doing (three staff to six customers) and wasn’t as clean as it could be – a problem when you have an old building and tables made of old planks. There could be a solution to both problems – get the spare staff cleaning!
After failing to find anything in the factory shop we popped a hundred yards down the road to William Edwards. No postcode needed – it’s next door to the last one. Julia was happy because she bought a square plate. It seems that we need a square plate. I suppose it’s easier for sandwiches and Battenburg cake.
That left us with just one errand to do – looking for a Christmas present from Portmeirion. There are three Portmeirion shops in Stoke, which was a good thing, as the first one had been disappointing. I stuck in one of the other postcodes and we ended up at the old Phoenix Works, which was a place we’d been before. It solved the problem and produced the necessary christmas present. ST3 1EZ, for those contemplating a visit.