World of Wedgwood opens to the public
- Wedgwood Museum
- 17 July 2015
The redeveloped Wedgwood headquarters are unveiled today, including a redisplay of the collection which was saved by an Art Fund campaign last year.
The World of Wedgwood in Barlaston is now open to the public following a £34m redevelopment. The project involved the creation of a new atrium entrance space from which visitors can access the museum, factory, tearoom, design studios and flagship store. Also found on site are a contemporary restaurant and retail outlet, as well as a children's play area.
Wedgwood in numbers
80,000 works of art, ceramics, manuscripts and letters, pattern books and photographs in the Wedgwood Collection
13,000 cups produced in the Wedgwood factory every week
7,500 individual donations received in the Save Wedgwood appeal
3,000 failed samples before Josiah Wedgwood successfully made jasperware
1,168 plates used to create the Josiah Wedgwood mural in the atrium
952 pieces in the Green Frog Service – each hand-painted with a view of Britain – commissioned by Empress Catherine II in 1773
256 years since the company was founded by Josiah Wedgwood in 1759
200 skilled craftsmen now work in the Wedgwood factory
37 types of tea on offer in the Wedgwood Tea Room
1mm leeway between Wedgwood ware and the recycling bin
The museum tells the story of the Wedgwood brand from its incarnation in 1759. On display are many important items from the company's history, including the First Day's Vases, thrown by founder Josiah Wedgwood on the first day of production.
Due to outstanding pension debt the collection was at risk of being sold off and dispersed across the world, but an Art Fund campaign in 2014 ensured it was kept together for future generations to enjoy. Following a hugely successful public fundraising appeal – the fastest in the Art Fund's history – the collection was gifted to the V&A and is now on permanent loan to the site in Barlaston.
It has been redisplayed for the reopening of the museum, with new vista spaces highlighting many of the most iconic creations. Designs by Eric Ravilious, Jasper Conran and Vera Wang are shown alongside exuberant examples from the Victorian period and notable commissions such as the set made for the American president Theodore Roosevelt.
The remodelled factory tour also makes its debut with the reopening, inviting visitors behind the production line where they can see skilled craftsmen shaping, modelling and firing clay into Wedgwood ware. A new walk-through design studio completes the full story of the manufacturing process.
National Art Pass holders enjoy free entry to the museum and 50% off factory tours.