Monday, 15 August 2011

Beautiful Emma B

I promised you a full account of my trip to the Emma Bridgewater factory and here it is.

Acton Belle picked me up from Stoke-on-Trent station and after a quick stop at her house to drop my bags off, we headed over to the Hanley area of the city.

It was almost lunchtime, so the first thing we did was seat ourselves in the cafe and enjoy some hearty food. 

Served on Emma B plates and bowls and with Emma B cutlery!

It was unlike any lunch I'd had at a tourist attraction before. Acton Belle had a cheesey baked potato with salad and I had hot pea and ham soup. It was so nice. I could easily understand why Acton Belle sometimes pops in there for a bite to eat and a read of the newspapers.

The room we ate in was so cosy. It was just the sort of kitchen space that I would love to have, full of pretty pottery 

I did wonder what the total value of all these pretty things would be.

and a very quirky range.

How unusual is this?
After lunch, Acton Belle showed me the little garden at the back of the 'Firsts' (things that aren't seconds) Shop. It is rather hidden away and it was no surprise to me that I didn't find it when I quickly popped by in January.

There were chickens.

And very beautiful and inspiring planting.

I couldn't help but wish that my garden looked like this.

After we had whiled away some minutes talking to the hens, it was about time for us to start the tour. I didn't feel like I could take photographs while we walked around - because of health and safety and also because there were some (lovely and very different!) new designs and I thought that the company wouldn't want me putting pictures of them up here before they'd had chance to promote them fully themselves.

The tour was very good value (£2.50 redeemable if you bought anything from the shops) and lasted about 45 minutes. Our informative guide (who actually worked in the factory) took us through the whole manufacturing process, from the clay arriving and going into vats, to the hand painting and application of transfers. It is a really time consuming process lasting over several days and makes you understand why there is a premium to be paid for something so well crafted.

All the factory workers were really friendly and willing to answer our questions. In fact, Acton Belle and I were so engaged with one of the ladies in the transfers room that we hadn't realised that we'd been left behind and had to make a quick dash to catch up with the rest of the visitors!

I couldn't help but leave with a souvenir of my visit to the factory and my trip to Stoke-on-Trent to visit my dear friend.

Lost City of Stoke Mug - ready to join my other 2nds treats!

If you're a fan of Emma B or you're just interested in the process of making cups and plates from scratch, I would definitely recommend a visit. There is also a pottery decorating cafe which might interest more creative or younger visitors and the factory frequently holds special event days, details of which can be found on their website.

And just before we headed back to the car, I took a very sneaky blurry picture through the window of some of the 'pots in progress'.

And me being me, I couldn't help but wonder where all the chickens, teapots and mugs will end up - hopefully lots of very happy home.


  1. I want that range. Amazing. x

  2. Oh wow, this looks super fun and really interesting! And I'm with Vicky - that range is brilliant!

  3. Thank you for posting this - I feel like I have had a bit of a tour! Now, I just need to figure out how to get the tasty sounding lunch and souvenir, haha.

  4. I have to say I'm not a mad fan of Emma, like Cath Kidston she seems very popular for not very much really and a bit samey. BUT it does look like a really interesting day out - and yummy food isn't to be sniffed at! xx