We in Staffordshire, whether natives or incomers, are proud of the fine Pottery industry in which the county was once a world leader. If you see someone turning over a plate, saucer or cup at a restaurant, you can be moderately sure that she/he lives (or lived) in Staffordshire!
Middleport pottery, we learned from our two Speakers, continues the fine tradition, producing ware on the site which was founded by Messrs. Burgess and Leigh – hence the trademark “Burleigh” – and has continued production ever since.
One of the Works’ glories is that it was designed with a “free flow” in mind; the clay arrived by canal and progressed without having to be carried distances by hand until the finished ware left the factory, again by canal. This state-of-the-art pottery was opened in 1889.
We heard about the mixed fortunes of the factory: in 2011 it was in danger of closing, but was saved by the Prince of Wales’ Regeneration Trust. This means that we can still visit Middleport Pottery to this day, and feel proud of the Staffordshire tradition.
All this talk of teapots and cups was making us thirsty, so we had our usual refreshments, during which time our speakers judged the competition: a poem about pottery. Such a wealth of literary talent as was discovered lurking beneath the modest exteriors of the W.I. members!
When our thirst had been quenched, Heather Whittall from Stone Town W.I., who had been our delegate at the National Annual Meeting at Cardiff, gave her report. There, the Resolution on Mental Health was carried by a majority of over 95%. One of her strongest impressions from the day had been the singing of “Jerusalem” by several thousand members.
Our next meeting will be on 8th August, when Rebecca Done will speak on “My Life in Entertainment”.
We are always pleased to welcome new members and visitors, so why not come and join us?
We meet at Aston-by-Stone Village Hall at 7.30 p.m.
Contact us at www.astonbystonewi.btck.co.uk,
or phone 01785 615662.
We’ll be looking forward to meeting you!