Buy the Book

  Bottle Ovens and the Story of the Final Firing      

  by Terry Woolliscroft and Pam Woolliscroft       
£12.99 available from Gladstone Pottery Museum shop
and by Mail Order - phone +44 (0) 1782 237777
ISBN 978 0 9505411 3 6

Produced with the generous support of 
the Friends of The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery

Conceived, planned, researched, written, designed, printed, 
published and distributed entirely in Stoke-on-Trent

"...wonderful book! ...superbly detailed and presented - 
the copious illustrations and photographs are terrific."  
Ray Johnson MBE

"Love this book's mixture of information, narrative, memories, snapshots
technical diagrams and the glossary of Stoke words."  
Val Bott MBE

"…incredibly interesting, informative and very well illustrated. 
I can recommend it to anyone who is interested in the history behind the pottery industry." 
Brian Milner

"It's a delightful read and such an unusual and 
creative way of telling the story - the reader is drawn into it!" 
Professor Jennifer Tann, 
Director of 'Potbank' the official film of The Last Bottle Oven Firing

In 1978 Gladstone Pottery Museum had the audacious idea of firing a potters' bottle oven, with coal, for the very last time. This traditional way of firing pottery had ended in the early 1960s with the introduction of the Clean Air Act. Before all the knowledge and skills of firing a bottle oven were consigned to history the museum embarked on a project which proved to be an enormous undertaking, massively complex and tremendously daunting. This book, published in the 40th anniversary year, tells the story of The Last Bottle Oven Firing.

Part 1 answers the question 'What is a bottle oven?'
Part 2 details the 1978 final firing with contemporary reports and previously unseen images.
Part 3 is a bottle oven dictionary explaining some of the unusual words specific to bottle ovens and the pottery industry.

This new book, written by two of the organisers of the Last Bottle Oven Firing in 1978, tells the full story of the final firing. The details are drawn from contemporary audio and film recordings, photos taken by Gladstone volunteers and professionals, committee meeting minutes, surviving notebooks, the event log book, media reports, management reports and remarkable recollections of some of the 72 volunteers involved.

Review by Zoe Sutherland   
Heritage Action Zone Project 2019
"The first part of the book provides an overview of the history of bottle ovens as well as an introduction to different oven types, giving context to the story of the last firing. Part two of the book is a fascinating account of the last firing, told with details of site, sound and sensation that give a real flavour of what it was like to be there and an understanding of the skills involved in such an operation. This part of the book also gave me an appreciation of the vision and tenacity required to conceive and plan the event; the time and effort involved and the willingness not only of the organisers and volunteers but also of the whole community. The book is illustrated with explanatory diagrams and plenty of
interesting photographs of both the last firing and bygone days in the Potteries, and includes a useful dictionary explaining the terminology used in the account." Extract courtesy PMAG Friends News Sept 2019