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Stoke-on-Trent: City of Culture finalist

Stoke-on-Trent has been informed this month that it has made the shortlist to become UK City of Culture 2021.

It is now putting together a more detailed bid to be submitted at the end of September when a judging panel is expected to visit the city.

Campaigners are also celebrating after securing enough money to save a rare piece of pottery made by Josiah Wedgwood. Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Friends of the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery managed to raise £482,500 to keep the ' First Day's Vase' from being taken overseas after it was sold at auction recently.

A temporary bar had been placed on it by the Government. The National Heritage Memorial Fund stepped in with a grant to top up the shortfall after hundreds of donations were made from the public and local businesses along side major support from bodies such as Art Fund and Arts Council/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.

The vase was made by Wedgwood's own hands on the opening day of his factory at Etruria on June 13, 1769. It is inspired by ancient Greek pottery from the collection of Josiah's friend, Lord Hamilton.

Councillor, Abi Brown, deputy leader of the city council and Chair for the UK City of Culture bid said: ' We are now one step closer to bringing the vase back to Stoke-on-Trent and insuring an important part of our city's culture and heritage remains freely accessible for all to see and admire.

The original and historic Wedgwood Collection - including 80,000 works of art, ceramics, documents and photographs as well as paintings by George Stubbs and Joshua Reynolds was saved after the Waterford Wedgwood Potteries collapsed in 2009 creating a large pension debt.

V&A Director, Tristram Hunt who spoke about the importance of keeping skills education linked to museums alive at our Future Cities Forum last month, was MP for Stoke Central at the time when the collection of Wedgwood pottery was saved from being sent to auction and dismantled. He said 'The Wedgwood Collection provides perhaps the most compelling account of British industrial social and design history anywhere in the world. I am extremely pleased that this treasure trove will now remain intact..'

See what he had to say at our forum:

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