Unveiled: The pot arch model at Belper North Mill

On Tuesday 12th October pupils and staff from Belper School and artists from Fleet Arts handed over the completed model arch to Belper North Mill Visitor’s Centre.  This arch was the end result of the ‘Take One Object – Belper’s clay pots’ project.   The model will now be on permanent display in the basement of Belper North Mill and will be used by staff and volunteers to help explain how the building was created. 

William Strutt used hollow pots within the structure of several of his mills, firstly in Derby and then in Milford and Belper.  The North Mill at Belper is a rare surviving example of the early use of hollow pots.  The pots themselves were made locally, some of them at Stanley Common, and are similar to flower pots, but with straight sides. They also had loose ceramic discs on the top, similar to lids.   They do have holes in the bottom, which is still a slight mystery.  Sarah from Fleet Arts said that ‘from making the model it does not appear that the holes in the base of the pots are needed in either the throwing or firing processes. We did not discover a need for them when constructing the arch, as the lids would stop the pots from filling up with any of the rubble and sand that was used to level the arches for the laying of the brick floors above.

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