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History of former pottery laid bare in new book

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 24, 2013

  • Sharpes Pottery heritage centre preview day

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A BOOK detailing the history of a popular South Derbyshire tourist attraction has been released.

‘Sharpe’s Rise - The Story of Sharpe’s Pottery’ is written by Richard Doughty and charts the interesting life of the Swadlincote based former pottery from its inception in 1821.

The book is based on a wide ranging research project conducted into the West Street site, which is now a museum and community resource centre.

The author told the Mail: “Sharpe’s Rise is based on original research detailing information and discoveries unearthed, not only about Sharpe’s Pottery, but the characters associated with it.

“Local, national, industrial and social history is brought together and shines a light on a fascinating period of British life, including a banking scandal that rocked Victorian England and nearly ruined Sharpe’s owners.

“Thomas Sharpe established his pottery in Swadlincote in 1821 making stone bottles, Toby Jugs and other wares.

“Within a short time he rose from ‘farm boy to gentleman potter.’ Thomas Sharpe laid the foundation on which Sharpe’s Potteries flourished for 147 years to the lasting benefit of Swadlincote.

“This book is a unique account of a little known Midlands pottery that once bustled with 165 workers, manufacturing and exporting its products around the World.

“Sharpe Brothers & Co produced ordinary domestic items such as pie dishes, tea pots and chamber pots, however it was a Sharpe invention and patent in sanitary ware design of 1855 that resulted in Sharpe’s Potteries becoming the world’s leading manufacturer of water closets.

“The old pottery closed in 1968, however following extensive restoration it re-opened in 2003 as Sharpe’s Pottery Museum and community resource centre.

“The listed original bottle kiln together with substantial attached workshop buildings are now believed to be the oldest surviving sanitary pottery works in the world.”

More information is available by visiting www.sharpesriseswadlincote.co.uk

The book costs £14.99 and is available from Sharpe’s Pottery, book shops in Burton and South Derbyshire and online retailer Amazon.

Tell us your memories and stories of Sharpe’s Pottery. Comment online at www.burtonmail.co.uk

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