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Potteries Mysteries

Eileen 'Dusty' Deste was an avid photographer of industrial dereliction. She was particularly passionate about chimneys, and in the early 1960s, when she read that the six towns of the Staffordshire Potteries were demolishing their old bottle kilns and replacing them with clean electric versions, she set off to photograph the buildings, people and landscapes before they disappeared.

View her potteries photographs

From those sites we have been able to track down, it seems like Miss Deste concentrated her efforts in Burslem, Longton, Etruria and Hanley. It’s likely that many of the buildings have been demolished or altered, so some may prove a challenge!

If you can pinpoint any of these places or offer further clues, please email us at: canyouhelp@HistoricEngland.org.uk

Mystery Potteries Image Gallery

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • Archive black and white photograph showing a brick built bottle-shaped chimney with factory buildings to either side.
  • Archive black and white photograph showing an open courtyard with buildings on each side.
  • Archive black and white photograph showing a dark brick built tunnel leading to a sunlit open yard with a wheelbarrow in the foreground and buckets and shovels against one wall.
  • Archive black and white photograph of a dilapidated industrial complex, probably a pottery works.
  • Archive black and white photograph of the interior of a dilapidated pottery works
  • Archive black and white photograph of a kiln viewed through a roof stripped of tiles at a dilapidated pottery works
  • Archive black and white photograph of a derelict house with industrial complex in the background
  • Archive black and white photograph of a cobbled back alley (or ginnel) running behind terraces
  • Archive black and white photograph of bottle kilns at a derelict pottery works
  • Archive black and white photograph of a cobbled back alley (or ginnel) running behind terraces
  • Archive black and white photograph across waste ground towards the roofs of terraces and a church with spoil heaps in the distance
  • Archive black and white photograph of the rear of derelict terraced houses with waste ground in the foreground
  • Archive black and white photograph of a view from the top of a flight of steps looking down onto a building site
  • Archive black and white photograph of a view along a main road lined with houses
  • Archive black and white photograph of the chimneys of three bottle kilns
  • Archive black and white photograph along a terraced street with bottle kilns visible in the distance
  • Archive black and white photograph along a terraced street with bottle kilns visible in the distance
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