The Bottle Kilns of Stoke On Trent
Here is a picture of Stoke in 1933. Why have I posted this? Well, Coronation Pottery that’s circled on the map used to be my family’s business going back 2 generations. As you can see, there are two bottle kilns within the works.
Back then it was known as the Victoria Works: James Robinson, Edward James Leadbeater and Robert Leason established the Victoria Pottery Company in 1882 and occupied premises at the Victoria Works on Lonsdale Street, Stoke-on-Trent. Robert Leason left the business in 1883 and the company continued only to c.1889. The Victoria Works was later renamed Coronation Pottery. [Part of an article from www.thepotteries.org]
Later owned by a family called Spares, then bought by my Grandad Crow (based in London) and managed by my other grandfather, Ernest Frost. There were 2 bottle kilns on site, eventually knocked down and replaced by 2 electric ovens. Looking at this aerial picture, it shows possibly two calcining ovens in the property next to the factory. This would make some sense as this house plus the one next door on Cornwallis Street were part of the business.
The wares produced were stamped either ‘Coronation Pottery’ or ‘Viola’ (after my Grandmother, Violet Frost)
In the 1960’s, Coronation Pottery stopped producing pottery and became a cash and carry warehouse still trading under the same name until Dad retired in the mid 1980’s when he sold the place. Times have changed as you will see on the next picture!
I’ve tried to be as accurate with this comparison as I can. When The Clean Air Act of 1956 came into force, that was the end of the Bottle Kilns and by the mid 1960’s they were all but decommissioned and demolished. Only a handful now survive. Of the 47 surviving kilns, less that 10 are conserved despite them all being Grade 2 listed buildings.
Over the last year I have had to make many trips to Stoke to visit my Mum in hospital, then in a care home and finally at Bradwell Crematorium to say farewell. To cope with all that was happening I took some comfort in visiting as many sites of these iconic buildings as I could and I think I’m going to have to visit and photograph the lot.
Some of my images have been posted to Instagram, so here’s a few more with more to come. The thing is, what to do with the pictures once I’ve ticked them all off… 🤔