The return journey from home to Stoke was even faster than the trip down! A train within five minutes at Redhill, ditto East Croydon and Euston. We caught the 10:10 from Redhill and we were in Stoke by 12:20! We have been blessed with swift, trouble free train travel all summer - it can't last!
Back on MM, we set off for the short cruise to the Middleport Potteries, where we moored up at their own moorings for our "factory tour".
The processes included mould making - they have over 19,000 moulds, some as dating back to the start of Burleigh in 1889. Then creating the items from the moulds.
Finally the item is glazed, again by hand, and then stacked on trolleys ready for the final firing.
Another method of manufacture was "Jiggering and Jolleying" to make round items like plates. In the picture, the round clay blocks on the right are flattened into discs (a bit like a pizza dough) by the machine in the middle, then thrown on to an inverted plate mould on the left and the bottom profile of the plate is shaped by a second machine.
Up until 1960, the whole plant was run by a steam engine. Unfortunately the steam boiler is no longer safe, and so sadly the engine cannot be used, although it is still in perfect working order. There are plans to replace the boiler, but cost is a major issue.
After signing the visitors' book and completing a "feed-back" form, we returned to MM and cruised on down to Etruria, where we moored up and walked over to Morrison's for the usual "few bits" and obligatory stop at Costa!
Today: 2 miles, 0 locks and 4.8 hours (mainly power).
Trip: 331 miles, 258 locks and 271.3 hours.