We’ve gone potty for Channel 4’s Great Pottery Throw Down during lockdown – here are the best ceramic museums and attractions to visit once restrictions lift
- London’s Victoria and Albert Museum has the finest collection of masterpieces
- Emma Bridgewater, based in Stoke, offers free tours and demonstrations
- The Centre of Ceramic Art in York has Britain’s biggest collection of studio pots
Fans of TV’s Great Pottery Throw Down are expected to flock to ceramic museums and attractions once restrictions are lifted
Fans of TV’s Great Pottery Throw Down are expected to flock to ceramic museums and attractions once restrictions are lifted.
The Channel 4 show — in which contestants compete to create pots — has been an unexpected TV success story during lockdown.
From Portmeirion to Poole, Britain is home to some of the world’s top pottery and ceramic names. Most have factory tours and discount shops, and many are preparing new hands-on activities and demonstrations for a hoped-for influx of new TV converts.
Staffordshire in particular has some of the world’s top pottery names, with 25 leading pottery brand factory shops, plus dozens of dedicated museums and visitor centres.
Emma Bridgewater, based in a Victorian factory in Stoke, offers free tours and demonstrations, plus a café and shop. But after Emma appeared as a judge on the Throw Down, there are plans to offer a hands-on decorating studio (emmabridgewater.co.uk/pages/factory).
The nearby Gladstone Pottery Museum is also preparing for a busy re-opening, after it hosted the filming for the show. Museum chiefs plan to allow visitors to make their own bone china ornaments, decorate pottery or try ‘throwing pots’ on a wheel, like competitors on the television show.
Also in Stoke, the World Of Wedgwood celebrates one of the most famous names in ceramics. The factory has been making luxury pottery since 1759 and the grand re-opening, hopefully in the spring, will reveal a glossy new tour.
Ceramic converts can find the world’s finest collection of masterpieces at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum
Visitors will see highly skilled Wedgwood craftspeople demonstrating classic techniques like firing and gilding, and then visit the new Creative Studios to have a go themselves.
And it’s not just the Potteries. Ceramic converts can find the world’s finest collection of masterpieces at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
Less well known is York Art Gallery’s Centre of Ceramic Art, which has Britain’s biggest collection of studio pots. Curator Dr Helen Walsh is planning events to capitalise on the surge of interest, including a show by Grayson Perry in May and online activities for new potters. She says Throw Down has been ‘brilliant’ for ‘sparking an interest in coming to see collections like ours’. (centreofceramicart.org.uk)