The Middleport Pottery is an outstanding model factory of the late nineteenth century for which new uses have been found. Frederick Rathbone Burgess (died 1895) and William Leigh (died 1889) took over a pottery in Burslem in 1862, and subsequently moved to the Hill Pottery before establishing themselves in a model factory alongside the Trent & Mersey Canal at Middleport in 1889. There were originally three biscuit and four glost bottle ovens, and facilities for the work people were some of the best in North Staffordshire, including ovens for heating midday meals.
Middleport Pottery became a limited company in 1919 and prospered in the 1920s and 30s, exporting to many countries, particularly to those in the British Empire, and employing as many as 500 people. The company declined, as did many others in North Staffordshire, and the buildings could easily have fallen into dereliction, but in 2010 it was acquired by the Denby Group, and was restored by the Prince’s Restoration Trust. Production of Burleigh wares, using tradition methods continues, and there are displays illustrating the history of the company. There is a café in a former packing houses and visitors are able to enter the surviving bottle oven and to see shelves in a warehouse stacked with 19,000 moulds.