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Neville Malkin's "Grand Tour" of the Potteries

buildings of Burslem

next: St. John's Church, Burslem
previous:  The Wedgwood Institute, Burslem
contents: index of buildings of Burslem


No 48 -  Burslem School of Art

'The foundation stone of this building was laid by the right honourable the Earl of Dartmouth,
Lord Lieutenant of the County of Stafford.
9th February 1906.
W.W. Dobson, Mayor.
A. Ellis, Town Clerk. A.R.
Opened by S. Gibson Esq. Mayor.
October 10 1907'


People who trained here include:

Clarice Cliff
(Ceramicist, 1899 - 1972)

Charlotte Rhead
(Ceramicist, 1885 - 1947)
Charles Tomlinson, CBE
(Major poet & painter, born 1927)

Arnold Machin, OBE, RA
(Sculptor & graphic designer, 1911 - 1999)

Peggy Davies
(Ceramicist, 1920 - 1989)
Sidney Tushingham, ARE.
(Portraitist, 1884 - 1968)

Susie Cooper
(Ceramicist, 1902 - 1995)

William Bowyer, RA
(Major artist, born 1926)
Arthur Berry
(Artist & writer, 1925-1994)
Esther Barnish Turner
John Cooke
Derek Higginson

Arnold Machin trained for six years at the BSA, and later returned to as Headmaster early in the Second World War.  He designed the classic 'plain' British postage stamp - 180 billion printed so far - and the 50p & other coins. He sculpted the Queen's head for both stamps & coins; and once said: "I found the Queen to have a great sense of humour".

Colin Melbourne ('The Professor') is another well-remembered Headmaster. He made a life-sized steel sculpture of a worker, during the struggle for Shelton Bar. The statue was used as the 'mascot' during the steelworkers' marches.



Burslem School of Art
Burslem School of Art
pen drawing by Neville Malkin - July 1974


The School of Art was constructed between 1900 and 1924 by W. Grant & Sons Builders.
It is a rectangular, two storey building, six rooms rooms wide by two rooms deep.

The School of Art

(after refurbishment) 

photo: 2002


"This large, symmetrical, red brick and terracotta building in Queen Street, Burslem, is the School of Art, designed by A. R. Wood and built during 1905-7. The decorative terracotta embellishments that supplement the 107ft. frontage were contributed by Doultons. The cost of the building was about 6,000, with an extra 1,500 spent on furnishing the spacious studies. The site had previously been occupied by an old manufactory belonging to Wood and Baker, which, I think, was formerly the works of a much earlier pottery owned by Cork and Condliffe. It was donated by Thomas Hulme in 1904 for the sole purpose of erecting a much-needed art school.

On Friday, February 9th, 1906, the foundation stone was laid by the Earl of Dartmouth, who used a special engraved trowel. The trowel was silver with an ivory handle; it had an inscription-the Burslem coat of arms, and the motto "Ready." Deposited beneath the stone was an earthenware jar containing copies of the "Sentinel," the "Staffordshire Advertiser," a copy of the clays programme, and several coins of the period. Accompanying the jar were several examples of Burslem-made earthenware pots and ceramic tiles produced by the leading manufacturers. The main contributors were Doultons, Maddocks, Malkins, Wood and Sons, Wades, the Marsden Tile Company, and Messrs. Boote.

The origins of the school can be traced back to a meeting in 1853 when representatives of the Stoke and Hanley Schools of Design met in the Wesleyan Schoolroom, Burslem, to discuss the possibility of creating a central art school that could be attended by students from the Six Towns and Newcastle, but, like most good ideas, it did not materialise overnight. In fact, it took more than 50 years before Burslem finally had an art school of its own and over 100 years before all the local art schools in the city were to unite as Stoke College of Art. This status was short-lived, however, because, with the founding of the North Staffordshire Polytechnic in 1970, the College of Art became the Faculty of Art and Design within this new system of tertiary education. Today, the Burslem School is an important part of the Polytechnic, accommodating the painting section of the Fine Art Department."

Neville Malkin 5th Feb 1975





next: St. John's Church, Burslem
previous:  The Wedgwood Institute, Burslem
contents: index of buildings of Burslem



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