HISTORY OF HARPER STREET

Harper Street sits within the designated Trent & Mersey Canal conservation area in Stoke-on-Trent. This conservation area has been described as being “of outstanding industrial archaeological importance, both nationally and locally”, due to the presence of early examples of England’s canal network and associated industrial buildings, which include Middleport Pottery.

The terrace typifies pottery workers’ houses built in Stoke-on-Trent in the late 1800s. The corner house at one end of the row is known as the “Lodge Keeper’s House” of Middleport Pottery, as reportedly this was the home of Middleport’s lodge keeper and his family during the early twentieth century. The Lodge Keeper’s House retains much of its original layout.

The houses are intrinsically linked with Middleport Pottery. It is likely that Harper Street was built at the same time or shortly after the construction of Middleport’s factory in 1888, as the houses do not appear on maps of the area predating the factory, however do appear on a later map of 1899. It is known that the Middleport residential area grew in the late 19th century with the erection of factories, as houses were built intended for the increased number of workers brought to the area.




RENOVATION

Due to commence in 2019, the Harper Street: Engagement in Heritage project is the renovation of eleven Victorian terraced houses adjacent to Middleport Pottery. The project will see the transformation of these original workers' houses into a new heritage attraction, studio & workshop space, publicly accessible archive and community centre for Middleport's residents. The project will contribute significantly to growing Middleport Pottery and Burslem's reputation as a major visitor heritage destination.

The Original Lodge Keepers House: The original lodge keeper’s home will be restored to how it was in the 1920's and 1930's - providing a range of immersive activities based on the daily experience of the lodge keeper’s family.

Collections Research Centre: A large purpose-finished Collections Research Centre will store and make accessible the growing archive and mixed collections of Middleport Pottery, including a unique set of privately-owned Burleighware, so far the largest known collection anywhere in the world.

Studio & Workshops: Seven new workshop spaces for creative businesses will support the project's financial sustainability and further develop the existing community of ten creative businesses operating from within Middleport Pottery.

Community Centre: The local Middleport and wider community will benefit from a self-contained community hub. Managed by local action group, ‘Middleport Matters’, the hub will provide a safe and easily accessible space for regular community events, homework clubs, baby and toddler groups, plus educational and recreational activities.