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Image: Launch event at Harper Street. Image credit - Jenny Harper.
Image: Launch event at Harper Street. Image credit - Jenny Harper.

At Home in the Potteries - Harper Street Opens to the Public

6 July 2022

Saved from demolition by Re-Form Heritage, the Harper Street terrace in Middleport, Burslem, is a small section of what was once a large Victorian residential area. The 11 houses, built in the 1890s alongside the Grade II*-listed Middleport Pottery site, originally provided housing for pottery industry workers, including the former Lodge Keeper’s House.  

The completion of the Harper Street project is the culmination of six years of development and two years of construction work to bring the terraces back into use. The restored and regenerated buildings are now open to visitors and users, providing six new retail units for local businesses and start-ups; a community centre, run by Middleport Matters; an immersive interpretation space fitted out with mid-twentieth century fixtures and fittings, giving visitors an example of a traditional working class pottery worker’s home; and a collections store and research space for the Middleport Pottery Collection.

Images: Exhibition (left) and immersive interpretation space (right) at Harper Street. Images credit - Jenny Harper. 

Demonstrating the huge potential for re-use and repurposing of buildings of local heritage value, the conserved terraces will now be used to tell the stories of their community. The ‘How We Lived at Harper Street’ interpretation of the houses includes audio-visual displays of images and narratives collected through collaboration with residents and volunteers, exploring personal stories of those who have lived and worked in the Potteries. Visitors will be able to explore the buildings, a collections store and an archive, as well as learn more about the engineering and creative skills of former residents and the overall importance of the pottery industry, ensuring that the renovated terraces continue to contribute to a sense of place and pride for the community.

As part of a total funding pot of over £2.5million to restore and transform the row of houses, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England and Stoke-on-Trent City Council, we are incredibly pleased to have been able to provide Re-Form Heritage with Project Development Grants of over £20,000 and a total loan investment of £350,000 towards the regeneration and reuse of the Harper Street terraces.

Stephen Musgrave, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Re-Form Heritage, said:

“Re-Form Heritage were delighted with the strong support shown by the Architectural Heritage Fund towards Harper Street. The AHF were one of the key partners in enabling us to deliver this exciting and original heritage project. It aligns with our core mission of repurposing at-risk historic buildings as living, breathing heritage to support economic and social regeneration. We look forward to having the opportunity to work with the Fund on future projects.”

Matthew Mckeague, Chief Executive of the AHF, said:

“It is fantastic to see this further extension of the Middleport Pottery project – and an incredibly imaginative reuse of some former terrace housing. There is a huge amount of potential in Stoke-on-Trent for projects like this to play a greater role in the heritage-led regeneration of the city. Congratulations to Re-Form Heritage for delivering another exemplar project!”

For more information, please visit: Information | Harper Street | Re-form

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