Gladstone Pottery Museum - part one
On our recent trip to North Staffordshire, we also visited The Gladstone Pottery Museum in Stoke on Trent, described as the story of the Potteries all wrapped up in one unique museum. It has been preserved as the last complete Victorian pottery museum in the country. In years gone by, bottle ovens dominated the Stoke on Trent skyline (it is said that at one point, there were up to 4,000 of them) but now only very few remain, and the Gladstone has 4 of these in its grounds.
A very atmospheric place to be, it has been used as a popular location for various tv and drama recordings - the Dr Who serial The Ultimate Foe being one of them.
Shortly after we arrived at the museum, it started to rain, and this just added to the whole atmosphere of the place.
The self-guided tour took us into the depths of the bottle ovens, where spooky shadows could be cast against the walls.
We pitied the kiln men though whose work involved filling and emptying the ovens - long hours of climbing up and down ladders carrying heavy weights in the heat and hardly any light to work by would have been a tough job indeed.
As we made our way around the museum, we learnt a lot about the way of life of the pottery workers and of the processes involved in pottery production.
Because of my love of colour, I really liked it in the Colour Gallery, with its huge display of slip colour samples and its rows of interesting looking jars.
However, this room is said to be active with paranormal activity and the Most Haunted tv team have conducted a night time vigil there. The room was previously a storage area for glazes and it is said that when the storage jars have been rearranged, it has upset a particular spirit so much that he has been known to hurl objects around the room. One theory is that the area was once run by a man who was very particular in the way the materials were stored (which is understandable, as it would have been very inefficient not to have a system for correct storage of glazes) and to this day, his spirit gets annoyed if anyone should attempt to re-arrange his carefully devised system.
Here's a link to the You Tube recording of the Most Haunted episode from the Gladstone Pottery Museum, if you're interested in knowing more of its spooky history.... You Tube - Most Haunted at the Gladstone Pottery Museum