The Ideal Standard pottery works operated in Middlewich from the 1930's until its closure in 2013
Ideal Standard closed its factory in Middlewich in 2011 with a loss of 249 jobs. The original pottery works were established by John Steventon & Sons of Burslem, Staffordshire in 1936 taking over the disused site of Electro Bleach and By-Products which had opened in 1897. The site was also known as Royal Venton Works but was affectionately known locally as the ‘pot bank’. The sanitaryware products were marketed under the Royal Venton brand.
In the late 1960’s Steventon’s investment in a Canadian plant left them overstretched and the company was acquired by Ideal Standard, the European division of American Standard. Products were branded Ideal Standard with Sottini being introduced for the luxury market. The Armitage Shanks brand was added in 1998.
After the Ideal Standard closure the factory was bought by Hong Kong company HKRI as Ours Sanitary Ware and pottery production re-started but after a collapse in its important Australian market the site finally closed two years later in 2013.
Heritage Officer Kerry Kirwan had been invited by Ideal Standard site managers in 2011 to photograph the processes for posterity and to help to archive the company records so that they remain in Middlewich.
This archive, now under the care of Middlewich Heritage Trust, is in two parts; firstly the recording of the works and processes and, secondly, the factory archive itself which is in the process of being digitised. There are some objects within this archive which will be studio photographed and placed on the artefacts page.
We record our thanks here to Steve Wright and to Neil Carter, Chris Marritt, and Derek Buckley for their time and trouble in guiding the Heritage Officer around the works and explaining the processes to her.
Comments and information from anybody who has knowledge of the works – especially former employees – are welcome. In the first instance please email using the email address at the foot of the page.
Clicking on any image will produce a larger image.
The buttons below will take you through the various areas and operations at the factory.
Each page has a gallery of images. Clicking on any image will produce a larger copy.