Historic kiln restoration gets underway at the Brampton Museum

28 SEPT 2017

A historic pottery kiln base, dating back to the eighteenth century and unearthed at Newcastle-under-Lyme’s oldest building, is being restored at The Brampton Museum, thanks to funds from state-of-the-art care village operator Belong.

The restoration is taking place in conjunction with the transformation of the seventeenth century building where the kiln was discovered into a centre for world-leading dementia care and a heritage gallery documenting the building’s history. This is part of a wider multi-million-pound care village development by Belong in the centre of Newcastle.

Archaeologists excavated the kiln base in 1970 outside the grade-II listed building on Lower Street. It dates from the early eighteenth century, when the building was a pottery. Three consecutive potters made the earliest English porcelain there from 1724 to 1752. Pottery from this time, examples of which can be found in The Brampton Museum, is known as ‘Pomona pottery’, after the Old Pomona Inn, which occupied the site in the nineteenth century.

Deputy Chief Executive of Belong, Tracy Paine, commented: “We were committed to restoring the kiln base as part of our transformation of the Maxims building where it once stood. Seeing the kiln in its former glory helps people to appreciate the heritage of the building, which has played a significant role in the history of Newcastle.”

After its discovery, the kiln base was moved to the gardens at The Brampton Museum, where it has been standing ever since. The kiln became badly damaged by weather erosion during this time, meaning relocation to its original site was not an option. The restoration process will involve scrupulously cleaning the kiln base before rebuilding parts of it that are broken using original bricks and authentic mortar.

When the restoration is complete, the kiln base will be displayed in the gardens of The Brampton Museum, in Brampton Park. At the same time, the gardens of the new Belong Newcastle care village will include an art feature designed to replicate the original bottle kiln, which will sit on the site where the kiln was excavated.

Delyth Copp, culture and arts manager at Newcastle-under-Lyme council said: “We are very grateful to Belong, for making the restoration of the Pomona Kiln possible by contributing most of the funding for it, and to the Civic Society who donated a substantial sum too. The kiln base is a part of the history of Newcastle, so we are really looking forward to having it restored and displayed in Brampton Park so that everyone can see it.”