Hand Crafted Burleigh Pottery
Burgess and Leigh Pottery dates back to 1851 when William Leigh and Frederick Rathbone Burgress started in partnership together at the Central Pottery in Burslem and then in 1889 moved to the Middleport Pottery where Burleigh pottery is still made today.
The Burleigh brand is world famous for their blue and white pottery. Traditional patterns such as Asiatic Pheasants date back to the 1870s, and their Burleigh name from the 1930s; yet this heritage brand was almost lost in the 1990s.
Burgress, Dorling & Leigh
In 1999 when the English ceramics industry was going through a difficult period, the Burleigh Middleport Pottery had ground to a halt and the remaining 18 staff had little hope that the business could be saved. Then Rosemary and Will Dorling, who owned a small shop in Winchester specialising in Staffordshire ceramics including Burleigh, made the courageous decision to try and rescue the Burleigh business. Now thanks to Dorling family we can still buy Burleigh today made in the same way as it always has been for over 160 years.
It has been a great triumph that in a world of mass production and uniformity, Burleigh has been able to prosper while preserving its unique skills and heritage. Burleigh remains the only pottery in the world to still decorate using tissue transfer printing from hand engraved copper plates. This handcraft skill along with all the traditional methods they use, unpins the unique and long lasting appeal of Burleigh and makes every piece unique.
Now owned by Denby Pottery, the heritage of Burleigh is secure again. Their home, Middleport Pottery, has even received support from The Prince of Wales through his Regeneration Trust. You may have seen Middleport pottery on the BBC show, The Great Pottery Throw Down, and is it a fantastic place to visit and learn more about the traditional techniques that have been conserved and continue to be used to produce Burleighware today.
So when you are enjoying drinking tea out of your Asiatic Pheasant cup or eating supper from a Blue Calico bowl, remember the time and skill used to create a piece of pottery for you to love. Burleigh is a true heritage brand, not only still made in England, but every piece is made by hand. This experience and passion for crafting each piece has been passed down through generations and make Burleigh truly special.