The bottle kiln hovel at night.       South Derbyshire's
      opened January 2003, offering
      Pottery Museum around Bottle Kiln,
      Conference Room with facilities,
      Superb Event venue
      and Coffee Shop.

Sharpe's Pottery Museum, 23 West Street, Swadlincote, Derbyshire DE11 9DG.
Telephone: 01283 222600 or +(44) (0)1283 222600 from outside the UK.
We welcome you Monday to Friday 10am to 4.30pm or Saturday 10am-3pm, except Bank Holiday Mondays when we are, for the time being, closed except for special events.
Please note: we are open 10am-3pm on Bank Holiday Monday, 2nd May 2011 and offer free children's activities.

This sensitive conversion of a 19th century pottery is situated on the corner of West Street and Alexandra Road in the conservation area of Swadlincote.
Find us by copying the postcode DE11 9DG into for a detailed map. There are brown signs to follow.
Our heritage-inspired Cornishware Coffee Shop is open 10am-3pm, Monday-Saturday. Light lunches are served and last orders are taken 2.15pm. (See above Christmas holidays.)

Sharpe's Pottery Museum was fully 'Accredited' in March 2009 by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) - see press release.

Inside the bottle kiln at night.
Conference/Event facilities, suitable for up to 50 people, are available for private events, not necessarily during the normal opening hours of the Centre.

Sharpe's has established itself as a civic amenity and concerts are held in the atmospheric Bottle Kiln, with its wonderful acoustics. Please contact Sharpe's for hire details.

This Burton Mail article refers to the kiln as "one of the most acoustically superior and intimate venues in the country".

'Talk and Tour' arrangements can be made for parties.

An Exhibition area at Sharpe's Pottery, 
Swadlincote, Derbyshire, England.

The small registered museum is centred around a bottle kiln, with artefacts, models, film clips and imaginative computer interactives where people can explore the rich industrial and cultural heritage of the area.

Information Located within Sharpe's Pottery Museum, Swadlincote Tourist Information Centre, serving South Derbyshire and the National Forest, can help visitors make the most of their visit to the area. Information is available on accommodation, places to visit, eating out, events and transport. Telephone the TIC on 01283 222848 or email for information.

Gordon Giltrap
who appeared in the kiln.

Gordon Giltrap
who appeared in the kiln.

2004 Royal Institute of British Architects Award
Commendation - (highest in Conservation Projects category) achieved; one of only two granted in the whole of the East Midlands.
The other Award went to a particularly important Georgian Town House in Northampton, remodelled by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Derbyshire Greenwatch Awards 2003 First Prize Winner for the "Restoration of a former pottery to a heritage and arts centre".
Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust Award 2003 for "Outstanding Achievement in Built Conservation".

Museum news and displays:

This unusual Celadon green vase in art deco design was manufactured at William Ault’s Art Pottery in Midland Road, Swadlincote.
The piece bears Ault’s facsimile signature inscribed into the base and an impressed ’ENGLAND’.
The vase is believed to date from around 1921 when William Ault was about to retire from the pottery industry at 80 years of age. He was born on 24th October 1841. Ault’s famous works were merged with Pascoe Tunnicliff’s renowned art pottery, the Ashby Potter’s Guild, in 1922. This vase bears special significance as it is the vase that William Ault is pictured with in the studio portrait.
Special thanks to Mr Vorley and David Ash.

Under the Stairs Display
T G Green

On display in the Upper Gallery:

T G GREEN "Kitch" items

Read more about it here or click the photograph on the right.

Bretby Art Pottery piece
shape 762, made around 1892.
Photograph courtesy of D Ash. - The book "Bretby Art Pottery - A Collector's Guide" by Michael David Ash has been reprinted and is on sale at Sharpe's for £/Sterling 8 plus postage and packing as appropriate. Shape 762, made around 1892, decorated in impasto on a brown ground, pictured right, courtesy of D Ash, is also illustrated in the book.

- The Bretby Case has a new look.

Rockingham Glazed Mug.
Photograph courtesy of D Ash.
- A perfect, rare, single handled Rockingham Glazed Mug by Joseph Thompson of Woodville, 1818-1856, has been acquired and is on display in the Upper Gallery in a cabinet provided by the Volunteers. It features a relief moulded hunting scene of 'THE KILL'.
The mark on the base reads:
'Joseph Thompson
Wooden Box Pottery

- Some loaned Moira Pottery joins our display in a second case, provided by the Volunteers for Sharpe's.

- A new graphic panel describes the rescue of the splendidly restored Henry Tooth Bretby Art Pottery mural.

'Brave Volunteers' teapot c1891.
Photograph courtesy of D Ash. - A panelled teapot and lid featuring soldier figures in relief inscribed 'BRAVE VOLUNTEERS' c1891 is now on display with other 'Rockingham Ware' in one of the two cases provided by Sharpe's Pottery Museum's own brave volunteers.

- Enjoy the new graphic panels and the improved lighting in the kiln hovel!

- Talented artists and craftworkers are constantly being sought to exhibit their work at Sharpe's Pottery Museum.

The Magic Attic Archive is open:
Monday 7pm-9.30pm, Tuesday 2-5pm, Thursday 2pm-5pm and 7pm-9.30pm,
Saturday 10am-1pm.

If you would like to become a volunteer, please contact Sharpe's Pottery Museum for information or an application form. Your interest will be warmly welcomed.

The rich potting history of South Derbyshire is, surprisingly, second only in status to that of Stoke on Trent itself. Sharpe's Pottery Museum at Swadlincote celebrates the importance of this industry and its displays and collections include examples of the highly varied types of ware produced locally.

The display features pieces ranging from early 'yellow' ware to modern 'Cornish Blue' ware and from salt glazed pipes and sanitary ware to art ware of the highest quality.

Famous names are represented including: Henry Tooth of the Bretby Art Pottery, William Ault, maker of Ault's Faience, Thomas Goodwin Green, founder of T G Green, Pascoe Tunnicliff of Ashby Potter's Guild, 'Bossy' Mason of Bargeware fame, Joseph Thompson of Woodville and Sharpe Bros themselves, who operated on this site.

Commemorative 'Special' Cornish Ware Mug
Limited Edition produced by T G Green
Collectors' item
Front of Mug. 
Photograph courtesy of David Ash. Specially commissioned to celebrate the re-opening of the Sharpe's Pottery buildings in 2003, commemorative Cornish Blue mugs by T G Green of Castle Gresley are on sale at Sharpe's Pottery Museum, priced at £ Sterling 9.95 each plus £2.50 per mug postage and packing to UK destinations only. Cheques are payable to Sharpe's Museum Trading company. Clearance of funds must be effected before despatch. Special price to Friends of Sharpe's. Back of Mug. 
Photograph courtesy of David Ash.

Further contents of this website:
Events Programme Background and intro to Project Partners
A Potted History Sharpe's Pottery
The Development of Sharpe's Pottery Buildings Shards Found
Conference/Event facilities Tourist Information Centre at Sharpe's
The Magic Attic
Original Trust Project Partner
People Express
Original Trust Project Partner
South Derbyshire District Council - Design and Heritage
Original Trust Project Partner
Sharpe's Pottery Heritage & Arts Trust Ltd
South Derbyshire Local History Forum
Original Trust Project Partner - now dormant
South Derbyshire Writers' Group
Original Trust Project Partner - now dormant
Friends of Sharpe's

Other sites which may be of interest:

Heritage News (SDDC) English Heritage Images of Britain

The website was uploaded on 05 April 2021 and was last updated 27 April 2011.

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