Our Book

Bottle Ovens and the Story of The Final Firing
The first full account of the last time a bottle oven was fired in The Potteries 

In 1978 staff at Gladstone Pottery Museum in Stoke-on-Trent had the audacious idea of firing a potters' bottle oven, with coal, for the very last time. This traditional way of firing pottery had ended in the early 1960s with the introduction of the Clean Air Act. Before all the knowledge and skills of firing a bottle oven were consigned to history, the museum embarked on a project which proved to be an enormous undertaking, massively complex and tremendously daunting. This book, published in the 40th anniversary year, tells the story of The Last Bottle Oven Firing.

Part 1 answers the question 'What is a bottle oven?'
Part 2 details the 1978 final firing with contemporary reports and previously unseen images.
Part 3 is a bottle oven dictionary explaining some of the unusual words specific to bottle ovens and the pottery industry.

This book, written by two of the organisers of the Last Bottle Oven Firing in 1978, tells the full story of the final firing. The details are drawn from contemporary audio and film recordings, photos taken by Gladstone volunteers and professionals, committee meeting minutes, surviving notebooks, the event log book, media reports, management reports and remarkable recollections of some of the 72 volunteers involved.

The book was planned, researched, written, designed, printed, published and distributed entirely in The Potteries of Stoke-on-Trent. Produced with the generous support of  the Friends of The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery

£12.99 from Gladstone Pottery Museum shop
Mail Order by phone with credit card  +44 (0) 1782 237777

"Love this book's mixture of information, narrative, memories, snapshots, technical diagrams and the glossary of Stoke words."  
Val Bott MBE

"...wonderful book! ...superbly detailed and presented -  the copious illustrations and photographs are terrific."  
Ray Johnson MBE

"…incredibly interesting, informative and very well illustrated. I can recommend it to anyone who is interested in the history behind the pottery industry." 
Brian Milner

"It's a delightful read and such an unusual and creative way of telling the story - the reader is drawn into it!" 
Professor Jennifer Tann
Director of 'Potbank' the official film of The Last Bottle Oven Firing

Pam and Terry Woolliscroft
at Gladstone Pottery Museum, Longton
1st August 2018 for the launch of their book
and accompanying exhibition