Sunday 19 November 2023

Our day in Stoke-on-Trent

We went to Stoke for the British Ceramics Biennial, something we had not done since before the pandemic, so it was very exciting. What was different this time is that we went with a  friend who knows Stoke very well, so that added to the pleasure of the day.

We started with the church hall of All Saints Church, where we viewed the exhibits

and then moved on to the church itself, which was the main venue for the Biennial and where we stayed for a considerable time.

After the church we took the car and parked in the centre. I loved the chimney of this building, but also the juxtaposition of the old and the new.

Our next stop was the Potteries Museum

an imposing sculpture outside

and further along, a statue of Arnold Bennett.

The Biennial exhibition in the museum was Embodiments of Memory by Osman Yousefzada

but we also popped in the Spitfire gallery.

We then went in search of lunch, admiring some of Stone's old buildings in the process, remnants of its rich industrial past and the prosperity this brought

We walked up the main street, it was Sunday so most shops were closed

We stopped to have a look at Spiky Man, erected outside Debenhams. Sometimes called The Man of Fire, or Jack Frost, the sculpture was created by David Wynne and signifies the fires that fuelled the city's pottery, mining and steelwork industries. Beneath the sculpture the inscription reads: 'Fire is at the root of all things both visible and invisible'.

After lunch

We walked to Airspace the gallery where William Cobbing's Social Substance exhibition was housed and which we enjoyed immensely.

After a short drive we arrived at Newcastle-under-Lyme. So many green spaces in the town!

The Brampton Museum and Art Gallery were our destination

which is set in beautiful grounds

where the Russian cannon, which dates from 1840, and which was captured at the end of the Crimean war in 1858, also stands.

We had a look inside, including at Obsolescence and Renewal by Neil Brownsworld, 

but very soon we went outside again: we had been indoors all day, it was going to get dark soon, we had a long drive back home ahead of us, so we really wanted to walk outdoors for a while

and this place was so lovely.

We stopped to have a look at the Pomona Kiln base

which came from an archaeological excavation to the rear of the 18th century Old Pomona Inn. It was excavated in 1969-70 and relocated on this spot.

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