STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: The remaining kilns of Acme Marls, Burslem on November 16, 2017 in Stoke on Trent, England. At the height of the Potteries industry, the Stoke-on-Trent skyline was dominated by over 2000 bottle kilns. Now fewer than 50 remain. Kilns is a year long photography project by photographer Gareth Copley documenting the last remaining bottle kilns of the six towns that make up the city of Stoke on Trent.
Stoke on Trent grew to be the centre of ceramic production from the early 17th century and became home to many famous names including Burleigh, Doulton, Minton, Moorcroft, Twyford, and Wedgwood. The uniquely shaped bottle kilns where the firing of the pottery took place were used until the mid-twentieth century. The end for the bottle kiln came in 1963, when the Clean Air Act of 1956 came into full force and the reign of the coal fired bottle oven was over. The remaining handful of kilns are looked back on by some romantically as a symbol of when Stoke-on-Trent’s potbanks shipped ceramics all around the world. However not everyone looks back on the kilns as fondly, novelist Arnold Bennett compared the black smoke atmosphere created by the bottle kilns in Longton to be akin to Hell. Each remaining kiln is a 'listed building'. Some of the kilns have been beautifully restored, redeveloped and given a new lease of life as museums, visitor attractions and business centres. Sadly there's a handful of them that stand derelict and unloved. The exhibition opens at The Centre Space Gallery at Spode Heritage Centre in Stoke on 21st November and runs for two weeks. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
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