Anything John Crace can do to raise the game of ceramics in the cultural hierarchy of the nation (Digested week, 29 May) will be applauded here in Stoke-on-Trent. Burslem, known as the mother town of the Potteries, is home to many, including Middleport, so beloved by Prince Charles and the location for The Great Pottery Throw Down on TV. Ceramicist Philip Hardaker’s Speaker’s Corner artwork for democracy is installed in Burslem’s old town hall. More of his work is on display at Port Vale football club (still reliving the 1988 FA Cup tie with the mighty Spurs).
• I’ve been reading about the last time Britain was cut away from Europe, when the declining power of the Roman empire meant “people became poorer … in Britain after the withdrawal of the legions, economic life reverted not to the preceding Iron Age but to the Bronze Age before that: at the beginning of the fifth century, the craft of pottery became extinct, and the technique of making it on a wheel was not retrieved for three centuries” (The Pursuit of Italy by David Gilmour). I hope it’s not going to be that bad this time.
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