We are proud to introduce one of our NEW products for 2020, The CALCINING KILN. Continuing with our recycling commitment, below is our latest creation, making use of plastic waste as well as reclaimed pallet wood.

The BIRDBATH and wall planter is ideal for garden birds to drink water and can also be used for bathing and to clean feathers. With three access and exit points, birds will love this unique piece of garden furniture.

The top and bottom sections have been specifically handmade to fit everyday laundry containers and fast-food trays. Our first version not only celebrates Stoke-on-Trent’s industrial heritage but it’s also the 100th kiln made in our community venture. 

Producing a product that benefits the environment, has the capacity to grow plants and helps these wonderful creatures to stay healthy and clean is such a contrast to what these kilns emitted into the atmosphere before the clean air act was introduced in 1956.

Connection To Our Local Heritage Most of the calcining kilns were built rectangular and didn’t need to be bottle shaped, even though there were some used for this purpose. These (now listed) buildings were used to turn flint and cattle bones into a soft fine white powder and produced locally. It was also transported in from the Staffordshire Moorlands when the demand for this product increased. Further research showed that Cornish Stone, with its weathered properties, as well as flint from the south-east coasts of England would also produce a porcelain body. The powder was added to the clay to produce bone China. The product gave the earthenware its translucent quality. The calcining kilns that remain today can still be seen close to our canal network, as it offered an affordable means of transport for this heavy raw material.

Do you know an organisation who would love to give this LIMITED EDITION planter and bird bath a new home? It would be Ideal for a community space or business that has a communal outdoor area for viewing wildlife. For more details, contact Chris Parr at

BELOW: Two Calcining Kilns at the Oliver’s Mill Site on Newport Lane in Middleport, Alongside the Trent & Mersey Canal Near the Junction with the Burslem Branch Canal and Burslem Port. Picture by Chris Parr, Shine in Media ©2019.

Calcining Kiln

Stokies Warm to Recycled Bottle-ovens Across City Markets

Over the warm spring months and continuing into the cold winter evenings of 2019, TheStoke2000 have been holding their popular market stall across the City of Stoke-on-Trent; helping people from The Potteries to celebrate the area’s industrial heritage. As well as running their art, culture, education and recycling workshops in schools, with community groups locally and providing taster sessions at festivals; they have been busy showcasing those bottleoven wall-planters to the general public at venues such as Burslem market, ‘Midfest‘ in Middleport, Market48 at Spode Works, The Kings Hall in Stoke, Newcastle-Under-Lyme Market, Stoke Train Station and The World of Wedgwood in Barlaston.

Feedback from Stokies young and old, who have been captivated with the story behind the unique project and engaged in its journey this far, has been very positive and with new support from organisations, the project will only gain momentum and generate more impact in the new year. We will see some of you over the Christmas period at some of the above artisan markets and certainly in 2020…

Our Range of Bottleoven Planters

Icons Collage 2

With followers now using our ONLINE SHOP and with additional versions of planter in development for 2020, we thought that we would recap and highlight the range of bottle-oven wall planters already being made with community groups and are also available to purchase at local artisan markets. During our last blog post, we focused on our Josiah WEDGWOOD versions in  various colours related to his timeline to celebrate his 260th anniversary.

Wedgwood Brochure Collage

These are part of our range of CLASSIC designs, being used outside, next to a front / back doors or inside a small porch / patio area. Used with house numbers, signage or lighting. Each planter is uniquely numbered and treated with a long lasting oil or stain.

Original Brochure Collage

We also have our INSECT HOTEL version, ideally to be positioned next to rose bushes or other medium sized plants / bushes for easy access by ladybirds and solitary bees etc. These can also be used to fix house numbers, signage or lighting to the font of the planter. Garden canes are used in the back of the planter with a small access point to keep insects sheltered from direct wind and rain.

Bug Hotel Brochure Collage

We have our BIRD FEEDER version to be positioned outside in a more secluded and quieter spot in the garden on a wall or high fence on show from a viewable area. A section is specifically made and fitted to the bottom of the planter allowing access by garden birds. See our SHORT VIDEO on our website showing feeding in process.

Feeder Brochure Collage

We have our BIRD-BOX version ideally to be positioned on a North / North East / North West facing fence or wall, to attract blue tits, sparrows and other common birds to your garden. As with all products, they are made as a planter first. This version would be best suited to plant bulbs in the top section as they are positioned at height and need less maintenance.

BirdBox Brochure Collage

Wedgwood Gets The Stoke 2000 Treatment

On the 1st of May 1759, Josiah Wedgwood began his pottery manufacturing journey at the Ivy House having rented the premises from his distant relatives John and Thomas Wedgwood of the Big House in Burslem. The Ivy House stood on the East side of town, which is now a communal space next to the Town Hall. He stayed there for a few years until 1762, conducting experiments to improve the quality of his ware before moving to the Brick House or Bell Works also in the Mother-Town. In 1769 he moved to his Etruia Factory on the Ridgehouse Estate which was ideally positioned next to the Trent and Mersey Canal. To celebrate the 260th anniversary, The Stoke 2000 are currently introducing a number of colours on their planters related to his timeline.

BLUE: (1759) The first of this range are our blue design, representing the famous iconicWedgwood Blue Collage 2_crop colour best associated with Wedgwood. An unglazed matte “biscuit” finish, it is also produced in a number of different colours, of which the most common and best known is a pale blue that has become known as Wedgwood Blue. We include a deep cobalt blue in this style and dateWHITE: (1765Wedgwood’s innovatory cream coloured earthenware was called Queen’s Ware after the successful completion of his first commission for Queen Charlotte in the summer of 1765. A notice in Aris Birmingham Gazette, (a pre-eminent Midlands newspaper) announced: “Mr Josiah Wedgwood, of Burslem, has had the honour of being appointed Potter to Her Majesty.”

RED: (1765) Rosso antico, also known as ‘Old Red,’ Wedgwood refined the common red ware and started production in small quantities. At the request of his partner Thomas Bentley, production resumed in 1776. Rosso antico production continued until about 1900. After 1790 it was often combined with Black Basalt in decorative items, or covered with enamel decoration.

Wedgwood Redware

GREEN: (1775) Our first product associated with Jasperware is green, being one of the most popular colours and well sought after in antiques and collectables. Sage green (described as “sea-green” by Wedgwood) as with all colours he experimented with is naturally white once fired but stained with metallic oxide colours. Named after the mineral jasper for marketing reasons, the exact Wedgwood formula remains confidential. Jasperware is particularly associated with the neoclassical sculptor and designer John Flaxman Jr who supplied Wedgwood with designs. Flaxman mostly worked in wax when designing for Wedgwood. Various designs and figures were cast from 1775: some of them are still in production. Inspiration for Flaxman and Wedgwood came not only from ancient ceramics, but also from cameo glass particularly the Portland Vase.

We are currently experimenting with other colours, techniques and key dates in history that can generate discussion and educate, encourage people to share stories and commemorate local culture and national heritage. We are also open to ideas and collaborations.

 kiln wedgwood range 1759-1775 

We recommend a visit to the fantastic World of Wedgwood factory tour and museum in Barlaston. It is well worth a day out.

Iconic Artwork Adds Value to Local Townscapes

A community project is leaving its mark on the skyline in towns across the Midlands. The Stoke 2000 – an art, culture, education and recycling project – aims to create by hand, over two thousand bottle-oven wall planters; the number of kilns that once stood proudly across the city of Stoke-on-Trent and the iconic image that best represents the pottery industry. As well as taking on this ambitious venture, company director and local entrepreneur Chris Parr is also collaborating with various artists and inviting them to display their unique talents on the front of each planter made from recycled pallet wood. The purpose is to bring people together, share stories and celebrate the city’s industrial heritage while at the same time, helping the environment.

The project already has supporters with Steve Shaw and his design, depicting saggar placers arranging vertical stacks (BUNGS) of fireclay boxes; Anita Harris with her Middleport Pottery landscape, a recognisable scene made even more popular with the area featured on mainstream TV in recent years; and Phil Hardaker with his eye-catching mosaic design honouring the last firing of a bottleoven in 1978; One of Stoke-on-Trent’s most significant cultural events of the 20th Century.

An exhibition, which brings the artisan community together while helping local tourism, will be held to showcase their work on each of the iconic bottle-oven shaped wall planters.  The general public and business leaders will be invited to view all commissions and bid for the kilns, supporting local charities. The indoor planters would be ideally positioned in community spaces, business premises or even left to ‘fade to grey,’ and blend in with their own Industrial surroundings.

(Images Taken at Middleport Pottery – Stoke North – & Sutherland Works in Normacot Road Longton – Stoke South: Pictures Courtesy of Shine in Media ©2019)



Bottle-oven Enterprise Taking Shape

CP My Stoke StoryIt’s been a two year journey but youth and community project The Stoke 2000 is now building the foundations for a sustainable future. The venture not only celebrates Stoke-on-Trent’s heritage and the area’s iconic bottle-oven, it also brings together various artists, young people and members of public sector organisations across the six towns to learn new skills and share stories about the Pottery industry.

The art, culture, education and recycling project sees the creation of over 2000 bottle-oven wall planters from reclaimed pallet wood saving the environment 37.6 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Equivalent to 47.7 years of television usage, charging 4,794,493 smartphones or driving 91,932 miles in an average passenger vehicle; in other words, travelling around the equator 3.7 times. As well as working with school children and community groups in recent months – leaving a cultural legacy with the next generation and helping to support public sector services that tackle social problems – they are collaborating with creative artists to work on the front of each planter. Managing Director of The Stoke 2000 Chris Parr said, ‘The artisan idea is such an exciting part of the enterprise and a fantastic way for the creative industry to show that we don’t need to have City of Culture status to remember our heritage, especially when grass roots projects like The Stoke 2000 can lead the way. Our main objective is to reproduce the same positive feeling that the 2021 bid generated amongst us Stokies over the next few years.’

The project’s next steps are to secure premises and a base to continue their work with volunteers, give valuable work experience to people with special educational needs, collaborate with more talented artists and secure further workshops with schools and community groups across the City of Stoke-on-Trent.