Launch + Heritage Open Days

A successful launch event and related activities took place in Longton (Stoke-on-Trent) on Friday 13th September. The project was generously hosted by Stoke City Council at CoRE (Enson Works) as part of the city’s Heritage Open Days programme. Invited guests and visitors joined us for a short introduction and presentation about TACS and The Potteries Tile Trail project. Many thanks to Hans, Pat and Alan for your support on the day – it was great to see you all. It was also wonderful see members of the community research team in attendance throughout the weekend as well as other local residents who have contributed to the project during the last six months.

An inaugural walk of the Longton tile trail followed the launch. This included an additional stop and access to St James the Less church (that had kindly agreed to open specially for the walk). An interesting group of people enjoyed the Minton commemorative wall plaques and pavements in the main church and some intriguing hexagonal wall tiles in the vestry (possibly Minton Hollins according to Hans). Despite inclement weather – the group explored Longton’s tiles and architectural ceramics for more than three hours – the walk was planned to be approximately one hour!

The knowledge and expertise of those involved and their eagerness to contribute was symptomatic of the overall project. It was a truly delightful experience and again highlighted the logic and strength of wider ‘public engagement’ in future activities.

Visitors to Enson Works who didn’t join the walk were also able to find out more about The Potteries Tile Trail by visiting our project display. Project images, archive film and other resources were exhibited with Enson Works’ magnificent restored bottle kilns providing an evocative backdrop to proceedings. An estimated two hundred people visited CoRE on Friday 13th September – most of them saw the project display.

The display and resources provided the basis to day two of the launch activities. Saturday 14th September at CoRE was promoted as a ‘Family Fun Day’ within the Heritage Open Days weekend – so TACS/The Potteries Tile Trail offered a ‘design your own tile’ workshop (alongside ‘manning’ the display. Children and adults were encouraged to have a go at creating their own pattern or image using a tile-sized piece of ‘scraperboard’. This is a traditional creative process involving scratching black Indian ink that is covering a white china clay background board. Scrapers are used to mark and carve the black surface to reveal varying amounts of white lines and areas to create a ‘magic drawing’. It echoes some of the processes and techniques used in the ceramic industry (etching, mold-carving, etc). The workshop went down very well with children and adults with more than sixty ’tiles’ being created.

There was a lot of interest in the project display from visitors throughout the day. An estimated three hundred people visited CoRE Enson Works on Saturday 14th September. Most of them took an interest in the project display and or spoke to us about TACS and The Potteries Tile Trail.

We had good press and online coverage of the launch including almost a full-page article and photographs in The Sentinel (Stoke-on-Trent’s main local newspaper).

Please click on the image links below to read the article and watch a video interview:

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Please click on the image link to access the 6 trails

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