Middleport Pottery is nestled amongst a residential area in Burslem, almost hidden away at the end of Port Street in its own symbolic surroundings.
The home to Burleigh and operating since 1889, the history of this unique visitor attraction is evident throughout. Still operating as a factory and supplying ceramics worldwide there is something quite special about this hidden gem – which in turn makes nothing more appropriate than to have Poppies: Weeping Window on display in the heart of Middleport Pottery.
The cascade of several thousand handmade ceramic poppies is fascinating and not only brings to life the legacy of the First World War, but also brings home the recognition Stoke-on-Trent deserves for its ceramic heritage.
Abi Brown, deputy leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council who is chair of the Poppies: Weeping Window steering panel says: “Poppies: Weeping Window represents one of the most significant cultural artworks in the UK and we are absolutely delighted for the sculpture to be here in Stoke-on-Trent. We know Weeping Window will be inspirational and aspirational for the city and want to make sure everyone enjoys the opportunity to see it. The process of securing the sculpture has been a true labour of love and we look forward to welcoming visitors to see what is an extremely special work of art in an extraordinary location.”
The iconic poppy sculpture Weeping Window by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, is part of the final year of 14-18 NOW’s UK-wide tour of the poppies.
The presentations by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, give people across the UK the chance to experience the impact of the ceramic poppy sculptures in a range of places of particular First World War resonance. The sculptures have already been viewed by 4 million people to date. At the end of the tour they will become part of the Imperial War Museums’ collection.
UKHBPT / Middleport Pottery director Clare Wood said: “Having Poppies: Weeping Window in Stoke-on-Trent is very fitting. It looks spectacular in the setting of Middleport Pottery and we’re very proud to host the sculpture. This has been a very successful partnership between Stoke-on-Trent City Council, 14-18 NOW and ourselves, the United Kingdom Historic Building Preservation Trust. It’s been very heartening to have the support of the community also with the superb event volunteers working alongside Middleport Pottery’s fantastic volunteer team.”
Jenny Waldman, director of 14-18 NOW, said: “The poppies have captivated millions of people across the UK, and we’re delighted to present Weeping Window at Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent in this final year of the centenary. We’re so grateful to artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper for these two enormously powerful artworks that continue to inspire all who see them.”
A reflection area is situated near to the sculpture in Middleport Pottery’s grounds where visitors will be invited to leave their own thoughts on what the poppies signify to them.
Clare Wood adds: “We have a reflection space where people can capture and express what the sculpture means to them – that’s so wonderful. Some people may reflect on WW1 and others might interpret something else.”
Cllr Abi Brown says: “My grandmother worked in the ceramic industry at Wedgwood, and the poppies remind me not just of my personal and family connection but also of my civic role within the City.”
Middleport Pottery and Poppies:Weeping Window fit like a glove in a City which is recognised as the World Capital of Ceramics.
See Baba’s What’s ON here to find out how to get your FREE tickets. Some dates already SOLD OUT.
Please note: As Middleport is located in a residential area, it is essential that visitors plan ahead for their visit, particularly for travel arrangements. More transport details are available on the ticket page. A car park is provided which is a 10-minute walk from Middleport Pottery. Further information about parking, coach arrivals and Blue Badge / accessible parking is available via the ticket page. A residential parking zone will be in operation in the streets surrounding Middleport Pottery. A shuttle bus will be provided from the event car park for those with mobility issues to get to the venue.
**Stoke-on-Trent was integral to the original installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Tower of London in 2014. Stoke-on-Trent based company Potclays provided the clay that the ceramic poppies were created from, and advised the artist on technical aspects of the clay. Johnson Tiles, who are also based in Stoke, were approached to assist and contracted to produce hundreds of thousands of the poppies.