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After the 2009 purchase by KPS Capital, Wedgwood became part of a group of companies known as WWRD, an initialism for "Wedgwood Waterford Royal Doulton."
Wedgwood's founder wrote as early as 1774 that he wished he had preserved samples of all the company's works, and began to do so. The first formal museum was opened in May 1906, with a curator named Isaac Cooke, at the main (Etruria) works. The contents of the museum were stored for the duration of World War II and relaunched in a gallery at the new Barlaston factory in 1952. A new purpose-built Visitor Centre and Museum was built in 1975 and remodelled in 1985 with pieces displayed near items from the old factory works in cabinets of similar period. A video theatre was added and a new gift shop as well as an expanded demonstration area where visitors could watch pottery being made. A further renovation costing 4.5 million pounds was carried out in 2000, including access to the main factory itself, following which the Visitor Centre complex won multiple awards.
Adjacent to the museum and visitor centre are a restaurant and tea room, serving on Wedgwood ware. The museum, managed by a dedicated trust, closed in 2000 and in 2008 reopened in a new multi-million pound building. The new "state of the art" museum was opened on the 24th of October 2008.
In June 2009, the Wedgwood Museum won a UK Art Fund Prize for Museums and Art Galleries for its displays of Wedgwood pottery, skills, designs and artefacts. In May 2011, the archive of the museum was inscribed in UNESCO's UK Memory of the World Register. The Minton Archive is a separate part of the collection. It comprises papers and drawings from 1793-1968 of the designs, manufacture and production of the pottery company, Minton and of the artistic and industrial archives of Royal Doulton. The liquidation of Wedgwood placed this collection under threat of break-up and sale.
Spode is a Stoke-on-Trent based pottery company that was founded by Josiah Spode (1733-1797) in 1770. Josiah Spode earned renown for perfecting under-glaze blue transfer printing in 1783-1784 a development that led to the launch in 1816 of Spode's Blue Italian range which has remained in production ever since.
Josiah Spode is also often credited with developing a successful formula for fine bone china. Whether this is true or not, his son, Josiah Spode II, was certainly responsible for the successful marketing of English bone china.
Today Spode is owned by Portmeirion Group a pottery and homewares company based in Stoke-on-Trent. Many items in Spodes Blue Italian and Woodland ranges are made at Portmeirion Groups factory in Stoke-on-Trent and all products are made to the highest quality.
Josiah Spode is known to have worked for Thomas Whieldon from the age of 16 until he was 21. He then worked in a number of partnerships until he went into business for himself, renting a small potworks in the town of Stoke-on-Trent in 1767; in 1776 he completed the purchase of what became the current Spode factory. His early products comprised earthenwares such as creamware (a fine cream-coloured earthenware) and pearlware (a fine earthenware with a bluish glaze) as well as a range of stonewares including black basalt, caneware, and jasper which had been popularized by Josiah Wedgwood. The history and products of the Spode factory have inspired generations of historians and collectors, and a useful interactive online exhibition was launched in October 2010.