Struggling Stoke potter Wedgwood has confirmed that 346 jobs will be axed at its Barlaston factory.
According to this local newspaper report, 150 workers volunteered for redundancy but almost 200 more will now face compulsory redundancy.
Waterford Wedgwood PLC (of which Wedgwood is part) has been trying and failing to successfully refinance its considerable debts for some time and Wedgwood itself is not expected to make a profit in the near future.
The redundancies, which represent around 35% of its 1,000 Staffordshire workforce, will be phased in throughout the next year.
For more details, click here.
Although it’s not widely known (or seen), the Carlton Ware brand has been resurrected in recent years by well-known collectables publisher Francis Joseph.
Examples of the company’s new wares can be found on it’s website, www.carltonwaredirect.com and they also offer a newsletter (free initially, but then you have to make a purchase or subscribe for £35 per year…).
I haven’t seen much of this new Carlton Ware around on the secondary market yet – which isn’t surprising, as it is being made in extremely low volumes. This means you can at least be assured of exclusivity if you do buy any of these pieces.
The designs available are a mixture of licensed version of timeless classics – such as the Golliwog and the children’s designs of Mabel Lucie Attwell – and genuinely new designs, mostly by Marie Graves, a ceramic artist based in Stoke on Trent. Many of the shapes, however, are clearly freshened versions of old designs.
If you’re interested in Carlton Ware then it is well worth taking a look, although to me, these wares don’t seem to be being made or marketed intensively enough for Carlton Ware to take a significant place in the market again.
In 1999, the Wedgwood Museum at Barlaston closed to make way for a new factory visitors’ centre. Since then, Wedgwood’s vast collection of ceramics, manuscripts and other historical material has been kept in storage, unavailable to the public.
That’s all set to change this summer when a brand new Wedgwood Museum is due to open in Stoke-on-Trent. It will have cost £10m and is expected to draw 100,000 visitors a year.
The new Museum building itself is almost complete and is due to be handed over to Wedgwood on the 23rd January – leaving around six months for the Wedgwood Museum Trust team to fit out the museum ready for opening in late summer.
The Trust is the custodian of more than 8,000 pieces of Wedgwood ceramics together with more than 75,000 manuscripts and documents – a unique and utterly irreplacable collection.
For almost 250 years, Wedgwood have produced some of the finest quality decorative ceramics in the world. It should be fantastic to be able to have some of this material on display again – we will certainly be making a beeline for the new museum this autumn.
Poole Pottery’s new owners Lifestyle have confirmed that the company will not be opening a new factory in Poole – under any circumstances. The company currently operates a shop and a small studio – with just four staff – in Poole, but all regular production has been moved to Stoke.
Lifestyle were always open about their plan to move the bulk of Poole Pottery production to their Stoke factory, but Poole fans and former staff had always hoped that there might be some future for volume production locally.
In this article in the Dorset Daily Echo, Lifestyle Managing Director Peter Bello reiterated the company’s position:
“We absolutely stick to what we said to the public, that the bulk of
production would move to Stoke-on-Trent, with the studio continuing
with product development and design and production of limited editions.”
The news will disappoint those hoping for a change of plan, but comes as no real surprise.
To be fair to Lifestyle, Poole Pottery was on a very poor footing prior to its closure and the company had been through more than one bankruptcy and change of ownership in the years preceding its demise.
Lifestyle has invested money in the company and preserved the Poole brand when all else seemed to have failed. A new range is due to be launched in 2008, which Lifestyle says was developed at the new Poole Studio, and Lifestyle have so far shown a firm commitment to turn the firm around.
Let’s hope they succeed – and that Poole Pottery doesn’t lose its unique identity in the process.
It seems that the new owners of Poole Pottery will shortly be closing down Poole’s famous Sopers Lane factory, leaving the pottery without a new home. Their search for a new location seems more focused on finding retail space than manufacturing facilities – which makes sense now that it has been revealed that much of the manufacturing will be moved to Lifestyle’s other recent acquisition, Royal Stafford in Stoke.
More details in this article.