Pot dog trail honours city’s disabled workers

More than 100 dog figures have been displayed by businesses as part of a project celebrating the heritage of disabled workers in Stoke-on-Trent’s pottery industry.

The Pot Dogs, which have been made by people with disabilities, are being exhibited in Hanley’s cultural quarter. There is also an illustrated trail map showing their locations.

Artist Justin Edgar, of 104 projects, said it marked how disabled workers and children in the city helped create Staffordshire Dogs, which were mass-produced ornaments popular in the Victorian era.

Two 8ft tall model dogs will also be installed outside Hanley town hall later this month as part of the project.

Pottery dogs in window Pottery dogs in window

More than 100 disabled people have created the pottery dogs [104 Projects ]

Project leaders said “no aspirational middle-class Victorian home” would have been complete without a set of the Staffordshire Dogs.

On production lines in The Potteries, disabled workers would paint the eyes, nose, mouths and gold chains of the dogs, they said.

Mr Edgar said for project, Ms Thatcher had collaborated with more than 100 people who used clay moulds from original Victorian dogs.

Local artist Chloe Breeze created the trail map where the small dogs can be spotted and ticked off.

“This is a fun way for audiences to discover and understand the heritage of Stoke-on-Trent’s disabled workers and to celebrate disability and disabled artists,” said Mr Edgar.

“No two dogs are the same and we’re really proud of that celebration of individuality.

“We hope people will enjoy the dog trail as well as sample local businesses along the way”.

Mr Edgar and ceramicist Alice Thatcher were due to answer questions after a film about the project was screened at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery on Saturday.

People with disabilities across the city had also been involved in designing the 8ft dog statues, which the team hoped would be become a landmark in the city.

The scheme was funded by Creative Lives and the Arts Council.

Map of pot dogs Map of pot dogs

A map of the Pot Dogs’ locations has been made [Chloe Breeze/104 projects]

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