The Age of Wedgwood

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Episode 2 of 3

Duration: 1 hour

This second film charts the rags to riches-to-rags epic of Stoke-on-Trent, a city built on clay and the heart of Britain's once world-beating ceramics empire. On the back of the 17th century phenomenon of tea, pottery in Britain exploded into a cutting-edge industry and a source of enormous national pride.

We meet the key characters responsible for putting British ceramic art on the map: from Josiah Wedgwood, innovator, artist and marketing genius, and Josiah Spode (who made it his life's work to invent a British version of Chinese porcelain and came up, aged 60, with bone china, which revolutionised the industry) to the great 20th century ceramicists Clarice Cliff and Susie Cooper.

We see how demands for cheap labour since the 1980s have forced the closure of all but a handful of these great factories, leaving Stoke's crumbling overgrown ruins as our Pompeii.

Contributors include AN Wilson, Neil Brownsword, Lucy Worsley, Miranda Goodby, Emmanuel Cooper and Matthew Rice.

  • Handmade in Britain: a BBC and V&A Partnership

    Handmade in Britain: a BBC and V&A Partnership

    Ceramics: A Fragile History is part of Handmade in Britain - a year-long season exploring the history of British decorative arts.

    Victoria and Albert Museum website

Credits

Narrator
Ruth Wilson
Narrator
Ruth Wilson
Series Producer
David Vincent
Series Producer
David Vincent
Director
David Vincent
Director
David Vincent
Executive Producer
Jonty Claypole
Executive Producer
Jonty Claypole

Broadcasts

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