Where was it?

WHERE WAS THE LAST BOTTLE OVEN EVER TO BE FIRED IN THE POTTERIES?

The Last Bottle Oven fired in The Potteries is now a Grade 2 Listed Building on the site of  the Sutherland Works of Hudson and Middleton (Longton) Ltd., Normacot Road, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.

At the time of the firing the owner of the company, George Fairweather, produced a leaflet detailing its history. This was handed to visitors to the event. This is the text of the leaflet.

A History of Hudson and Middleton (Longton) Ltd.
For over 140 years now, [in 1978] pottery has been manufactured at Sutherland Works, Normacot Road, Longton. At one time it consisted of two factories, one making earthenware and one producing bone china, the two separate entrance arches still being evident.

Records indicate Skelson and Plant as the first owners, probably starting business around 1834, at about the same time as the firm of Taylor, Middleton and Hudson, who, it is thought, occupied three separate factories in nearby streets. In the 1880s this firm became known as Middleton and Hudson, and records exist of their backstamps for the period.

Hudson and Middleton from St James Church Tower
 Thanks to Phil Rowley for help in sourcing this image Date: 1910
The last oven to be fired is off to the left of the image

In 1892, Wm. Hudson and & Co. and J. Middleton & Co. came into being and Wm. Hudson & Co. moved into Sutherland Works using Sutherland China and later Royal Sutherland for their backstamps. J. Middleton & Co. occupied premises in Chelson Street nearby and were well known for their Delphine trademark.

In the wartime conditions of 1941, the firms came together again as Hudson & Middleton Ltd. and traded through to 1975 with the Barlows and Chapmans, descendants of the original families, prominent in the direction of the company’s affairs.

Site of the Last Bottle Oven Firing - 1978
The last bottle oven to be fired is in the centre of the image.
Hudson and Middleton (Longton) Ltd., Sutherland Works, Normacot Road, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent
Photo: Brian Colclough. Taken from St. James Church tower, Uttoxeter Road, Longton

Last Bottle Oven to be fired in The Potteries, on the left
Recreation Ground, Florence, Longton
Photo: Source unknown  Date: 1978

In 1975 a new company was formed, Hudson & Middleton (Longton) Ltd. to continue in a more restricted range, lines traditional to the old company. Hudson & Middleton (Longton) Ltd. is in every sense a family business, with four members of the Fairweather family actively involved in its day to day running. Royal Kendal and Delphine trademarks predominate today with exports to Europe and North America of considerable importance to the business.