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18 thousand visit HODs events in The Potteries

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 their 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 called Biking to Bottle Ovens, 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.

Our members were also supporting other events at CoRE in Longton, Bethesda Chapel and Ceramic City Stories' CLAYHEAD in Swan Street's Winkhill Mill. This last event featured walks on consecutive Saturdays to explore Stoke's "ELSO District" - the acronym hints at a fascinating area bounded by Elenora Street, Liverpool Road and Stoke Old Road, with the historic pottery sites of Spode and Minton Hollins providing book ends.

Visitor numbers were swelled by the inclusion of Middleport Pottery's Weeping Window poppies event, which spaned the two weekends, but the museums boasted record numbers and many of the talks and walks included in the festival were fully-booked.

PHS, along with its Heritage Network partners, have already met to discuss plans for next year's HODs events which will run from 13th to 22nd September and include the theme "People Power".

CoRE at the Enson Works in Longton

Phil Rowley on the Soapbox at the Rose Garden

Andy Perkin takes to the Soapbox1

Longton Heritage Walk at the Roslyn Works

Heritage walkers arrive at the Phoenix Works

In The Firing Line as part of #CLAYHEAD

Tim Steele and visitors at Hanley Town Hall

Andy Perkin with those Biking to Bottle Ovens2

The bottle oven bikers arrive at Mooland Pottery

Arriving for Stories from Historic Narrowboats

The oddly-titled Weeping Window at Middleport

Historic Canal Boats (and others) visit Etruria

Photos taken by Andy Perkin apart from: 1 by Abi Brown, and 2 by Terry Woolliscroft.