Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Poole Pottery: The End

Following on from the closure of the Quay shop last week, the Poole Pottery factory has been closed today, leaving over 100 staff without jobs and without this month's pay just before Christmas.

There is a great deal of anger, amongst staff, unions and local people, about the insensitive timing of this announcement and the lack of advance warning. There are also suspicions that the closure has been intended all along by the latest management team. A planning application for a care home has already been placed for a section of the Sopers Lane factory site, although it has been refused.

Managing director Jeffrey Zemmel has announced that the factory may partially re-open in the New Year "leaner and fitter", although staff would have to re-apply for jobs. However, TGWU leader Bob Lanning, who met with the management yesterday, is reported as saying that the factory would no longer manufacture pottery but would import clay biscuit which would be painted and glazed at the factory.

Essentially, after playing a survival game for the last few years, it appears that Poole Pottery has finally folded. Any resurrection that does not include manufacturing can never truly be regarded as Poole Pottery. Thoughts of all those who hold the pottery in affection will today be with the staff in these difficult times, and on our memories of happier days at the factory.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Quay Shop Closes

Today is a very sad day for Poole Pottery. Since 1873 they have had a presence on the East Quay at Poole, mainly as a factory complex and latterly as a retail unit since the factory moved to Sopers Lane.

However, the retail unit has closed suddenly, sadly leaving 50 full and part-time staff redundant just before Christmas. The retail outlet is run by Poole Pottery Outlets Ltd, a separate company to the factory. It is not yet known whether the company will go into administration. There is a rumour that concessionaires have not been paid for some while and that 2 of them have obtained a closure order from the courts.

The company has apparently said that it is going to restructure it's business. It is not clear what this means, although the existing shop was due to close and move to new premises in the Dolphin Quays development in February in any case. It is possible that this may still go ahead, but with a new business structure behind it.

The closure inevitably leads to speculation about the future of the pottery itself, which must be facing increasingly difficult trading conditions. Let's hope it can survive this latest crisis and continue to keep the flame alive for independent British potteries.