David Proudlove's
critique of the built environment of Stoke-on-Trent


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'On the Waterfront'
- page 2 -


A short stroll along the towpath is the Anderton Boatyard. The boatyard was the home of the former Anderton Company, who built canal barges in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and was thought to be Europe’s largest engineer of canal boats at the time. 

The site contains the main building which is at right angles to the canal, to a design very similar to designs of local potworks, with terracotta detailing on the gable end and a timber loading structure, which was used to lift goods from the canal and vice versa. Adjacent to the main building is a low rise shed, which sits on what was a former canalside wharf. 

The main building was in a very poor condition until recent years, when it was renovated and restored under the Middleport Waterfront Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), a scheme delivered by the City Council and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Advantage West Midlands. 

The THI has made a great difference to a number of the buildings along Middleport Waterfront, ensuring that Middleport’s canalside heritage will be able to play a part in its future, once it is realised just what the city has on its hands here.

Anderton Building before...
Anderton Building before...


... and after

The Anderton Boatyard’s neighbour is probably the most important building along Middleport Waterfront, and probably one of the most important buildings in the city. 

Middleport Pottery, the home of Burgess and Leigh (now Burgess, Dorling and Leigh), dates from 1888 and was designed by local architect A. R. Wood based on linear production for efficiency. This set Middleport Pottery apart from most other pottery sites, which generally in a more unplanned, organic manner, and the factory was described as “the model pottery of Staffordshire”. 

The façade fronting onto the canal is dressed with ornamental brickwork surrounding the name of the pottery in large lettering, and as David Seekers has pointed out, the firm “obviously intended to impress”. Middleport Pottery is a Grade II* Listed Building.

Middleport Pottery
The Middleport Pottery


Bottle kiln, Middleport Pottery
Bottle kiln, Middleport Pottery
photo" © Chris Oldham

Middleport Pottery is still a working pottery, run by the Dorling family, employing many local people and attracting thousands of visitors every year.



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Related pages

Anderton Canal Company - warehouse and boat repair yard on the canal at Middleport.

Middleport Pottery -  “the model pottery of Staffordshire”. 

Middleport Pottery - Nevill Malkin's Grand Tour

External links..

Burleigh - the web site of the Middleport Pottery - Burgess, Dorling & Leigh