Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Tom Wedgwood writes to Staffordshire Sentinel Re: Wedgwood Museum: "Don't thank the old management".

Don't thank the old management
Tuesday, June 30, 2009.
PRAISE TRUST: Mike Wolfe's praise for the staff, building and success of the Wedgwood museum is surely appreciated by all involved.
I'd like to add one caveat, which heaps even more praise on the trust, museum team and Gaye Blake-Rogers for their extreme foresight and diligence, but decidedly less on the old Waterford Wedgwood management.
The Wedgwood Collection, the archives and artefacts were actually put into a trust before Waterford took over in 1988, so let's not thank the old board for their one kind act, this was something the Wedgwood family, who had donated many of the artefacts for safe-keeping over the last century, worked very hard to make happen.
Waterford Wedgwood and its Irish owners would certainly have sold off the contents if Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Ltd owned them, just as they have attempted with other collections. We, in the Wedgwood family, are absolutely thrilled at the success of the museum. My father Alan Wedgwood has been deeply saddened by the turn of events in Stoke and the one thing he has put his all into has been the museum. My grandfather's trust the C.T Wedgwood Trust, (although of course he was called Tom because we're not very original with names), helped fund the initial feasibility studies to attract the Heritage Lottery Funding – for this we are proud, and the museum is set to thank the family with a Tom Wedgwood reading room to honour the trust.
Be assured that the Wedgwood family will never desert Wedgwood, its collections nor those Stoke- based employees and ex-employees.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

New Wedgwood Website

The "Wedgwood Family Worldwide" site was set up back in 1996- hosted free by Geocities. In 1999 Yahoo, who took Geocities over some years ago announced that they would be closing down this facility. A new home had to be found. I have to admit at this point that hasty action on my part seems to have led to the loss of some of the old content as well. Much of it – Biographies etc – will be migrated to the new site at http://www.familyhistorian.info in due course. The Wedgwood Genealogical charts will not be carried over since they have in the most part been superseded by Philip Richards' comprehensive database which is now hosted here: http://www.familyhistorian.info/exciting.

Keep an eye on this blog for news of future developments.


Friday, 19 June 2009

Wedgwood Museum scoops The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries

Art Fund Press Release: 18/6/09

  • Museum celebrating iconic name of British ceramics claims £100,000 Prize
  • Internationally renowned collection covers 250 years of British creative, social and manufacturing history.
  • Win reaffirms Stoke-on-Trent's position at the heart of one of the UK's principal manufacturing traditions The Wedgwood Museum in Stoke-on-Trent tonight won the £100,000 Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries. The prize was announced by Chair of Judges, David Puttnam, at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.

    The judges, who included artist Grayson Perry and mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, described themselves as 'bowled over' by the museum. They praised the way it uses its internationally-renowned collection to take visitors on a 250-year tour of British social, design and industrial history, while remaining firmly embedded in the local community.

    David Puttnam commented: "This Museum is extraordinary for so many reasons and we were all but unanimous in our decision.

    "The Wedgwood Museum brilliantly highlights the marriage of art, design, manufacturing and commerce; a marriage that resonates more today than at possibly any time in the intervening years. In every respect it fully meets our criteria of what a 21st century museum should aspire to be."

    Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund, said: "The Wedgwood Museum magnificently celebrates the extraordinary achievement of Britain's industrial history. It is a richly deserving winner of this Prize, and its victory could not have come at a better time for the area, after all the uncertainty there has been over the future of the factory which still operates alongside the museum."

    This year the public was also a judge in the first ever People's Choice poll. Over 27,000 people voted on guardian.co.uk, also choosing The Wedgwood Museum as their clear winner.

    Owned and run by an independent charitable trust, the new £10 million museum is housed on the historic manufacturing site of Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, and tells the story of one of the world's most recognisable consumer brands. Visitors to the museum not only see ceramics but also a range of manuscripts, documentation, factory equipment, original models and fine art related to this world-renowned ceramics company.

    Three other outstanding museums were shortlisted for the Art Fund Prize: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, for its Centre of New Enlightenment; Orleans House Gallery in Twickenham and Ruthin Craft Centre in North Wales.

    In addition to the cheque for £100,000, The Wedgwood Museum will also receive the Art Fund Prize Bowl, enamelled in silver by the craftsman Vladimir Böhm, which they can display for one year.

    The 2009 judging panel comprised:

  • David Puttnam (chair) film-maker and educationalist
  • Robert Crawford, outgoing Director General of the Imperial War Museum
  • Sally Osman, communications consultant and former Director of Communications at the BBC
  • Grayson Perry, Turner Prize-winning artist
  • Mathematician and author Marcus du Sautoy
  • Maggie Semple, Chief Executive of The Experience Corps
  • Journalist and broadcaster Mary Ann Sieghart

    This is the second year that The Art Fund, the UK's leading independent art charity has sponsored this major arts prize, which is open to all accredited museums and galleries in the UK. The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries recognises and stimulates originality and excellence in museums and galleries and aims to increase public appreciation and enjoyment of all they have to offer.

    Last year's winner was The Lightbox museum and gallery in Woking. Previous winners of the then Gulbenkian Prize include Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (2007), Brunel's ss Great Britain, Bristol (2006), Big Pit: National Mining Museum of Wales, Blaenafon (2005), The Scottish Gallery of Modern Art for Landform by Charles Jencks (2004), and the National Centre for Citizenship and the Law at the Galleries of Justice, Nottingham (2003).

    For more information please visit: www.artfundprize.org.uk


Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Wedgwood Museum Art Prize - Please Vote

Dear All,

As you may know the Wedgwood Museum is in the final four for the
Museum of the Year Award. If you have not already voted please do so
now as votes must be in by midnight (GMT) on Thursday 11th June.

To vote follow this link:

It only takes a minute to vote and if people wish they can also leave
comments as to why the Wedgwood Museum should win.

Many thanks,


Monday, 1 June 2009

Emma Wedgwood and Charles Darwin Play

Sent to me by Mrs Alison Wedgwood:

"Calling all descendants of Darwin and Wedgwood and friends of Staffordshire Dr Alan Wedgwood (head of the ["Etruria"] branch of the Wedgwood family) has sponsored this play for one showing only at the Wedgwood Museum on 14th June, all about Emma Wedgwood and Charles Darwin and based exactly on their letters. He's saw it a few months ago and thought it was brilliant."

BETTER THAN A DOG” : The relationship of CHARLES and EMMA DARWIN (both grand-children of Josiah Wedgwood) dramatically revealed through their letters and journals.
Triumph and tragedy, humour and heartache all play their part in this extraordinary love story, which reveals the very private life of the very famous scientist and his sociable, devout wife


“Thrilled the audience ….. incredibly moving” Shropshire Star

“a totally different view of Darwin as loving father and adoring husband, with a great sense of humour” – Shrewsbury Chronicle.

Date & Time

June 14th at 4 pm

Tickets £20 including free entrance to the Wedgwood museum and refreshments.