"It’s OK to remember our heritage, to celebrate what we still have, and to even shout about it" - Jemma Baskeyfield, Burleigh's Retail Manager and Company Historian
There’s no doubt about it, in recent times Stoke-on-Trent’s pottery industry has seen somewhat of a renaissance; this thriving city is starting to establish itself as a creative ceramics powerhouse once again.
Stoke-on-Trent is scattered with the embers of the once colossal ceramics industry and the city's cultural and economical flame has been fanned to burn again. The Potteries is starting to hit its stride in the very field for which it was once famed. In addition to the iconic Wedgwood brand, the likes of Burleigh are helping to put Stoke's unique ceramic heritage back in the map.
A small yet potent pottery empire founded back in 1851, Burleigh has survived centuries of shifts, changes, struggles and difficult times - a feat that is seldom achieved by today’s even most sought after ceramics brands.
It seems the key to Burleigh’s (or Burgess and Leigh as it was originally known) enduring success is its ability to adapt to the landscape around it - tailoring its efforts to its available resources as well as the wants, needs and desires of its consumers and all the while remaining true to its roots.
Burleigh was the last pottery manufacturer of its kind to transfer printware using tissue paper, and while many of its processes (as well as its location) have changed, the company still uses a host of the creative techniques it pioneered over a century ago - rather refreshing, wouldn’t you agree?
To continue its evolution and making its lovingly crafted and ever-expanding range of pottery-based products, Burleigh moved its factory to Middleport Pottery in 1999, and since then the business has continued to thrive.
Not only has Burleigh directly benefited from a £9 million investment in Middleport Pottery from the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, but since opening to the public, its in-house factory shop has welcomed keen pottery fanatics from all around the world, with Japanese tourists making up a large portion of visitors.
In addition to this, Burleigh now sells its pottery to the likes of Harrods, Fortnum and Mason, and a wide range of iconic department stores, shops, hotels and restaurants across the globe - a testament to its enduring success and a local business story that we can all take pride in.
So, next time you’re thinking about getting a new dining set, a milk jug, some new mugs, or anything else pottery-related for that matter, don’t order online or run to the arms of your nearest chain store: go local and head on down to Burleigh’s factory shop at Middleport Pottery.
Not only will you be supporting a great local business and buying into your local economy, but you will end up with something stunning, unique and of the superior quality that only exists when you buy Stoke on Trent.