The Hot Throbbing Heart of The Potteries

The Potteries Bottle Oven : the huge, imposing, and towering brick-built, bottle-shaped structure, up to 70 feet high, once essential in the making of pottery

"The Fires Within"
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“In the pottery district of North Staffordshire, chimneys may at any time be seen vomiting forth black smoke filling the streets and roads to such an extent as sometimes to impede vision beyond a distance of a few yards." 
The report for 1878 of the Medical Officer of the Local Government Board


In 1939 there were about 2000 bottle ovens, or strictly speaking, bottle-shaped structures of various types used for firing pottery ware or its components. They dominated the landscape of The Potteries of Stoke-on-Trent.

"It's a fine day if you can see the other side of the road"


In 2016 there are 46.  Only one remains in working order - the oven at Hudson and Middleton's factory in Normacot Road, Longton, site of the Last Bottle Oven Firing in August 1978. None will ever be fired again. The Clean Air Act of 1956, and their delicate condition have put paid to that.

At the multi-award-winning Gladstone Pottery Museum, in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, there are 5 bottle ovens. There are also two bottle ovens, next door, at the Roslyn Works. This is the most important and precious group of buildings in The Potteries. 

This site has been archived for preservation by the British Library