A WORKING kiln is set to be installed at a former pottery turned heritage site for the first time in nearly 50 years.
Bosses at Sharpe's Pottery, in West Street, Swadlincote, have announced that, for the first time since 1967, the site will have its own functioning kiln.
The special device will be used as part of children's craft activities and pottery parties that regularly take place at the popular tourist attraction.
Jennifer Drapans, curator at Sharpe's Pottery Museum, said: "The kiln will allow us to provide clay activities with a much more substantial end product and was paid for by a generous grant donated to us by Councillor Trevor Southerd.
"We are very grateful for this donation – we will be able to start providing much better craft activities and pottery parties.
"We welcome people to look out for our clay activities and invite parties to book for a chance to create a piece to be fired in our new kiln."
First established by farmer Thomas Sharpe in 1821, the site on which the museum stands is believed to be the only surviving sanitary ware works site in the country.
Originally the site manufactured domestic pottery, much of which was exported to America in the late 19th century to meet the needs of the burgeoning European settlers in that continent.
During the 1850s, for public health reasons, there was an 'explosion' in the sanitary ware market and the local clay was ideal for the production of such products.
This, together with the patenting of the successful 'rim flush' toilet at Sharpe's, led to the factory concentrating on sanitary, ceasing production of 'pots' in 1900.
The factory flourished, along with many other local sanitary ware makers and sewer pipe manufacturers, until the 1950s.
However, Sharpe's factory never really modernised and, when it became apparent it could not survive in the 'modern' world, it finally closed in 1967.
However, it was reopened in 2003 by Sharpe's Pottery Heritage and Arts Trust.
More information is available by calling 01283 222600.