Staffordshire will be known to many as the heartland of British pottery and the Wedgwood Museum in Stoke-on-Trent is home to some of the world’s finest ceramic objects. We will spend a day at the Wedgwood Visitor Centre here, studying the work, life and legacy of Josiah Wedgwood, beginning with an illustrated keynote lecture from the museum’s curator. We will then enjoy personal guided gallery tours and two separate and unique curator-accompanied activities - access to the museum’s archive and a handling session from its reserve collection.
Alongside this special day we have visits to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire; the Ironbridge Gorge Complex, the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, including the Coalport Tile Museum and Jackfield Tile Museum; and finally the Stoke on Trent Potteries Museum, which as well as housing world’s greatest collection of Staffordshire ceramics also contains selected items from the Staffordshire Hoard.
Friday 1 September 2017
We depart by coach from London and travel north, stopping en route for refreshments. In the afternoon we visit National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, a 150 acre site planted with 50,000 trees. There are also around 300 memorials to military and civilian personnel who have lost their lives in the line of duty. A land train tour of the site is included.
We continue to our hotel in Stoke on Trent. Dinner is served in the evening.
Saturday 2 September 2017
After breakfast we transfer to the Wedgwood Visitor Centre at Barlaston, Stoke on Trent for a study day on the work, life and legacy of Josiah Wedgwood. Housed in a stunning contemporary building, the Wedgwood Museum boasts paintings by famous artists such as George Stubbs and Sir Joshua Reynolds, thousands of intriguing documents and manuscripts, over four hundred original pattern books and, of course, outstanding displays of some of the world’s finest Wedgwood ceramic objects.
Josiah Wedgwood I was a fascinating individual - scientist, artist, entrepreneur, social reformer – and one of the most important figures of his age. The museum chronicles his life, the company he founded and the people whose skills, artistry and ingenuity have for many generations kept Wedgwood at the forefront of taste and fashion.
Our day at the newly opened World of Wedgwood begins with tea or coffee on arrival after which the museum’s curator will deliver an illustrated keynote lecture (subjects available include the Genius of Wedgwood; Josiah Wedgwood – Potter, Pioneer and Philanthropist; Wedgwood and Artists; Wedgwood and the Enlightenment). Then, having divided in to smaller groups, we will enjoy personal guided gallery tours and two separate, very unique curator-accompanied activities (i) access to the museum’s archive and (ii) handling session from its reserve collection.
There will be a break for lunch from 1.00pm -2.00pm (included). Our special day finishes at around 4.00pm so there will be time for that last minute shopping before returning to our hotel after a truly engrossing day.
We return to our hotel where dinner will be served this evening.
Sunday 3 September 2017
Following breakfast we will visit the Ironbridge Gorge complex, where we begin at Blists Hill Victorian Town – a living outdoor museum where visitors can exchange their modern money for Victorian pounds, shillings and pence to spend in the shops or buy a pint of real beer in the New Inn. Museum staff dress in authentic costume and demonstrate everything from candle dipping to the casting of iron. Most of the buildings have been rescued and re-erected, or are replicas of existing structures from elsewhere - together they form a fascinating working Victorian Town.
We continue to Coalport China Museum. Coalport China Works were opened in 1796 by John Rose, and produced some of the world’s most beautiful porcelain on the banks of the River Severn built along the Shropshire canal. The factory grew and changed over two centuries of continuous production until manufacturing ended in 1926. Now the surviving buildings, mostly from the Edwardian period, house an inspirational selection of Coalport’s finest ware.
Finally we tour the Jackfield Tile Museum. As we wander through the original gas-lit trade show room, galleries and period room setting we will be able to see, touch and even walk on magnificent British tiles. Galleries show exquisite examples of individual tiles and period room settings depict various locations that would have been decorated with tiles. You can walk through an Edwardian Tube Station, the bar of a hotel, a children's hospital ward and a 1930s 'front room'. Huge panels displaying mediaeval stories and nursery rhyme scenes have been rescued from buildings and now grace the walls of the galleries, and we can find out how the different varieties were made; encaustic, embossed, dust press and tube-lined. Lunch is available here today (not included).
Late afternoon, we return to our hotel where dinner will be served this evening.
Monday 4 September 2017
This morning, after breakfast, we travel to Stoke on Trent Potteries Museum, home to the world’s greatest collection of Staffordshire ceramics, along with decorative arts and natural history. We will also see their share of the Staffordshire Hoard, displayed in a specially adapted section of the museum. There will be an opportunity to walk among the exhibits and marvel at the gold-work, decorated sword pommels, helmets, animal figures and many other artefacts.
Following our visit, we will begin our journey home, returning back to our original departure point early evening, stopping en route for refreshments (not included).
- Three nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the 4-star Best Western Stoke on Trent Moat House Hotel. All rooms have private facilities
- Comfortable coaching throughout
- Full-day study visit to the Wedgwood Museum including keynote lecture, gallery tours and curator-accompanied activities
- Visits to the National Arboretum Memorial, the Ironbridge Gorge Complex and the Potteries Museum, Stoke-on-Trent
- Services of a Brightwater Holidays tour manager
- Single room supplement £120.00
- Insurance £21.00 (under 65); £42.00 (65-74); £63.00 (75-90)