The decline of the pottery industry in the six towns that comprise the Potteries in North Staffordshire has been long and painful. Generations of families worked at the same factories passing on skills honed through generations, but as the factories have closed, unable to compete with changing tastes and the tsunami of cheap manufacturing from China of recent years, so the skills have been in danger of disappearing. And when cultural heritage is lost, it tends to go forever.
But maybe the once-familiar Made in Stoke-on-Trent, England label under your tea cup is due a comeback. From an area world-famous for its pottery manufacturing, The New English have unleashed some much-needed energy and inventiveness to English ceramic design and married it with the traditional skills found in the Potteries. Let's hope that this is the start of a new era. Staffordshire ceramicists must concentrate on the design, quality and innovation needed to compete in the global marketplace, and to attract design talent to a region that gave us Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Minton, Spode and Moorcroft. New English can be the kick-start that will keep the momentum going.