History in the Making
Moorcroft’s 1919 factory was an interesting blend of avant-garde functionalism combined with the studio philosophy of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. It was the first truly modern factory building in the Potteries and the first to provide one floor production. Despite the start of the First World War in 1914, demands for Moorcroft’s ware grew, and in 1915, the building was enlarged and a new bottle oven added. Shareholders, Liberty of London, wrote in February 1919 to approve building costs of £490 to enlarge the factory and a third bottle oven was added to the front of the factory in the same year and it is this bottle oven that still stands proudly above the Moorcroft factory today. In addition, in 1919 work started on two muffle kilns, one for flambé and a separate bottle oven for lustre ware.
Forty years ago, on the 20th August 1979, Moorcroft’s 1919 bottle oven was granted Grade II listed status. Our bottle oven is not only part of Moorcroft’s colourful history but also a part of Stoke-on-Trent’s too. It has witnessed great changes in the small part of the world it occupies, and from its kilns, thousands of pieces have emerged over the decades.
It was only fitting that in the 1919 bottle oven’s centenary year, that the Moorcroft Design Studio would come together to create the History In The Making Collection to celebrate the bottle oven itself and some of the wonderful pieces that have emerged from its hot interior. Each piece in the new collection comes with a special 1919-2019 backstamp. Long may it stand as a beacon, championing Moorcroft’s art pottery for another century to come.