Books & Links


Bottle Ovens and the Story of the Final Firing

by Terry Woolliscroft and Pam Woolliscroft
"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 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 conceived, 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

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

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

Bottle Ovens

Pam Woolliscroft
Published in 1977 when she was the first curator of the Gladstone Pottery Museum, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, England. Gladstone Pottery Museum.

OUT OF PRINT 2018 Superseded by Bottle Ovens and the Story of the Final Firing  by Terry Woolliscroft and Pam Woolliscroft (see above)

Manufacturing Processes of Tableware during the 18th and 19th Centuries

Robert Copeland
Northern Ceramic Society
2009  ISBN: 978-0-9563159-0-8

Dictionary of Ceramics

A. E. Dodd,  George Newnes Ltd.,  1967

Art and History of the Potting Business

William Evans

Ceramic Faults and their Remedies

Harry Fraser
A&C Black

Pottery Ovens, Fuels, and Firing

Stanley R. Hind
British Pottery Manufacturers Federation


Mervyn Jones
Secker and Warburg

Notes on the Manufacture of Earthenware

E.A.Sandeman 1921

An Encyclopaedia of the Ceramic industries - 3 volumes

Alfred B Searle
Ernest Benn London

Dialect Words and Phrases used in the Staffordshire Potteries

Compiled by Robert Nicholls, Crewe

Copyhold Potworks & Housing in the Staffordshire Potteries 1700-1832 

by Peter Roden
Published 2008; ISBN 978-0-9559317-0-3
More details here>



An extraordinary all-encompassing site about The Potteries here>


The story behind the history of Gladstone Pottery Museum here>