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Lloyds Bank in StokeIn order to inform the emerging Local Plan, Stoke-on-Trent City Council is in the process of reviewing all of the city's conservation areas (CAs). This involves reviewing the boundaries of the original 23 areas, as well as the rights owners have over changes they can make to their properties.

Boundary changes have already been adopted for 20 areas, which include amalgamating the former Victoria Place and Hitchman Street CAs in Fenton into one new area to be know as the Victoria Road Conservation Area. The two remaining areas, Albert Square in Fenton and Winton Square by Stoke Station, are currently under review.

Much of the work on the review was undertaken by Conservation Officer Jane Corfield before she left the authority in August last year, so was based on an unparalleled understanding of the heritage of the city. Surprisingly few buildings found themselves now inside the expanded areas, as in most cases the changes sought to encompass under-developed, derelict or greenspaces in order to create a buffer to protect the areas from unsympathetic development. This is particularly the case for the canal corridors of the Caldon and Trent & Mersey Canals, where several allotment gardens have been incorporate within the conservation area boundaries.

As part of their commitment to find new and innovative ways of using the city's iconic structures, The Potteries Bottle Oven Owners Club hosted a concert inside the oven at Heron Cross Pottery on 30th November. The event was also a way of promoting the Club and celebrating the city's unique heritage.

Local singer and songwriter Samantha Lloyd performed a set of her own compositions and covers for the invited owners, friends and supporters, and site owners Ian and Julia Godfrey provided nibbles and refreshments for around 40 guests. 

Samantha Lloyd

Potteries Heritage Society has been working with Gladstone Pottery Museum and Stoke-on-Trent City Council on plans for this year's Potteries Bottle Oven Day. One exciting initiative aims to get the artistic juices flowing at a difficult time.

Terry Woolliscroft, who initiated the special day and came up with the idea says "The new Bottle Oven Art Club was launched during lockdown. It encourages artists (whether amateur or professional, young or not so young) to create art featuring the iconic Potteries bottle oven."
Artists may then enter photographs of up to three of their pieces to the Club, for free, by email. A panel of judges will select just 50 of them to appear in an online exhibition. All digital and virtual.
But later, when restrictions have eased, their physical artwork will be displayed in an exhibition, in real life, at Gladstone Pottery Museum.  
Winning entries will be announced on Potteries Bottle Oven Day, 29 August 2020.  

Potteries Heritage Society helped co-ordinate this year's Heritage Open Days (HODs) festival which attracted over 18,000 visitors over the two long weekends in September. We organised three events, at the first of which we invited Heritage Network members to share our Soapbox at the Spode Rose Garden to promote thier events. Our other projects continuted with an ambitious event leading over 30 cyclist in a tour that took in 20 of the remaining bottle ovens in the city, and concluded the following weekend with Stories from Historic Narrowboats at Etruria, in partnership with Etruria Boat Group - the event featuring the revealed voices of extraordinary women involved in canal haulage.

Network Launch

On a bright Spring morning, in a room at Middleport Pottery where Great Pottery Throw Down judge Keith Brymer Jones has been known to shed his tears, a group of museum curators, building managers and other enthusiasts launched the Heritage Network for Stoke-on-Trent.

We were delighted to have the City’s Lord Mayor along to lend his seal of approval and Heritage Open Days’ Manager, Annie Reilly, to reflect on nearly 25 years of events and an exciting future.

Bringing together representatives of the famous names and attractions of The Potteries was no easy task but these heritage practitioners know the strength of the city’s offer, and the chance to collaborate over Heritage Open Days provided the catalyst they needed.

Pottery names such as Wedgwood and Spode, and our well-known attractions - The Potteries Museum in Hanley, Gladstone Pottery, Ford Green Hall and Etruria Industrial Museums - have been throwing open their doors for the national heritage festival for many years. But working together presents opportunities to programme events to avoid them clashing, ensure a good spread of events across the festival, cluster events thematically and geographically and partner up to deliver more innovative events. The Network is bolstered by the involvement of conservation organisations, ‘friends of’ groups, and those who keep our heritage buildings, churches, theatres, parks and historic narrowboats – the city’s iconic bottle ovens and canals looming large in local affections.