After the oatcakes we went to Dudsons, but they were shut. It’s nice pottery, but you can’t buy it if the shop door is locked. Then we went to the Portmeirion shop, where Julia went shopping and I took a photo of the crack in the winscreen that had happened on the +way . Then I did some selfies. There was also a mural to photograph in the car park, though someone parked in front of it as I prepared to take the photo.
Here are the results.
The cracked windscreen
I attempted to introduce a range of facial expressions – weary, downtrodden and resigned. That’s the full range of expressions for a married man shopping with his wife. Can you tell the difference?
Mural at the PortmeirionShop
Ditto, but with someone parked in front
This is the mural. It’s very close to the pattern on some of the Portmeirion pottery, which is probably not a coincidence.
After that we moved on to the Etruria Industrial Museum. It was shut. I re-read the website when I got home. It doesn’t make it obvious that it’s closed most of the time, though the sign does.
Fortunately we were able to do something good before we left Stoke, but you will have to wait to see what we did because it’s getting late.
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.
Dane – traditional wooden narrowboat
Trent Mersey canal – still in use
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.
Rusty junk at Middleport Pottery (1)
Rusty junk at Middleport Pottery (2)
Workshop – Middleton 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!
W Boulton is still in operation making potting equipmwnt
The artist has done a good job
Old parquet floor – full of character
Table leg in need of a sweep
Nice cup of tea
Mural in cafe
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.