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Our largest object, by far, has to be our Wedgwood Fire Engine.

Nothing could devastate factory production, or risk the lives of employees, so much as fire on the works. Josiah I therefore ordered a ‘one-third’ sized fire engine from Samuel Phillips, engine maker of New Surrey Street, Blackfriars, London, in October 1783. The total cost of the fire engine including fixtures, fittings and transport to the Etruria factory, was £58 18 shillings and 3 pence.

We have a few, including this rather interesting cat ashtray. Available with either a black or a silver lustre coloured cat, this quirky feline was first put into production in the 1930s. Do you recognise it? We’d love to see a real example of it!

That one of the secrets that we hold in the archives is that we have several catalogue plates engraved by William Blake for Wedgwood ware.

The oldest object in our collection is our ammonite. These ancient marine creatures lived in the sea between 240 to 265 million years ago, when they became extinct along with the dinosaurs.

In 1898, Harry Barnard produced a fascinating photographic record of Wedgwood workers known as 'Etruscan Bread Winners 1898'. This 27 page album contains a series of extremely high quality photographs of each of the different departments taken by Barnard during July and August of that year. He had the foresight to record the names of the individuals underneath each picture.

Art Fund has helped museums and galleries across the UK to buy great works of art since 1903. 

In 1989 and 1990, Art Fund commissioned contemporary artists to design a collection of plates. Peter Blake, Patrick Caulfield, Patrick Heron, Bruce McLean, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, and John Piper created plate designs for Wedgwood. This plate features a recurrent image in Piper’s work, the foliate head of The Green Man - a robustly pagan figure from English folklore.

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