Emma Bridgewater

Emma Bridgewater discusses with Ivan six things which she thinks should be better known.

Emma Bridgewater grew up in Oxford, the eldest of a large family. After studying English at London University, she joined a small knitwear firm, but soon realised that what she really wanted to do was start her own company. Her ‘eureka moment’ came in 1985, when she was searching for a pretty cup and saucer for her mother’s birthday. Discovering that everything in the shops was either delicate and formal, or heavy and clunky, she realised there was a gap in the market for pottery that was both beautiful and practical, and that reflected the relaxed, colourful, mismatched home she’d grown up in.

Emma sketched out a mug, bowl and jug, and found a pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, the home of British ceramics to make them up. She then set about decorating them using cut-out sponges – a traditional technique that was to become her signature style. The designs were snapped up by Liberty, Harrods, and The General Trading Co, and Emma Bridgewater Ltd was born. The company now has a turnover of over £20m a year, and Emma Bridgewater products are sold worldwide.

As the company grew, Emma was determined to keep production of the pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, and in 1996, bought a Victorian factory there. Emma Bridgewater Ltd is now one of the largest employers of potters in the area. In recognition of her work championing manufacturing in Stoke-on-Trent, Emma has honorary degrees from the University of Staffordshire and Keele University, and in 2013, she was awarded a CBE for Services to Industry.

1. Country Music https://www.theguardian.com/music/country

2. Holy Wells http://www.davidfurlong.co.uk/holywellslond.htm

3. Neglected English towns https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/united-kingdom/england/articles/forgotten-english-villages-2020/

4. Winter Savoury and Lovage http://www.herbexpert.co.uk/forgotten-herbs-grow-sorrel-lovage-summer-savory-angelica.html

5. Chimomanthus https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/29215/Chimonanthus-praecox/Details

6. Lardy cake https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/lardy_cake_80839

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