The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts


Industrial pottery


The skilled hand processes required at various stages of the pottery industry (see also studio pottery).

Note that the HCA is currently undertaking a survey with Dr Neil Brownsword of Staffordshire University to ascertain the number of practioners of each of the industrial pottery sub-crafts.


Status Critically endangered
Craft category Clay
Historic area of significance Stoke-on-Trent
Area currently practised Stoke-on-Trent
Origin in the UK 17th century
Current no. of professionals (main income)
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required



The Staffordshire Potteries is the industrial area encompassing the six towns – Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton – that now make up the city of Stoke-on-Trent. The Potteries became a centre of ceramic production in the early 17th century, due to the local availability of clay, salt, lead and coal. Hundreds of companies produced decorative or industrial items.





Local forms




  • Mould making – 1 maker at Wedgwood
  • Modelling – 3 makers at Wedgwood
  • Throwing – 1 maker at Wedgwood
  • Turning
  • Press moulding
  • Slip casting
  • Pressure casting
  • Jiggering and jollying (turning flat and hollow forms respectively using jigs)
  • Figure making and sprigging
  • Flower making
  • Sagger making – 0 makers
  • Ground laying
  • Copperplate engraving, tissue transfer and printing – 3 makers
  • Gilding – including raised paste and jewelling
  • Engine turning (including dicing and rouletting) – 1 maker at Wedgwood
  • Piercing – 1 maker at Wedgwood
  • Patésurpaté – 0 makers
  • Agate marbling – 0 makers
  • Acid etching


Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • Ageing practitioners – many are beyond retirement age.
  • Some of the potteries employ a token workforce to demonstrate the heritage of the skills while outsourcing the majority of their production to low-wage economies in other countries. This can give a misleading sense of the health of the crafts.
  • Some of the current practitioners have been kept on as demonstrators by the Gladstone Pottery Museum, keeping the skills alive but in a precarious state due to reliance on public funding in place of a sustainable market.


Support organisations


Craftspeople currently known

  • Wedgwood
  • Spode
  • Middleport Pottery
  • Royal Stafford


Other information