Award winning manufacturer, Wade Ceramics Ltd, has marked its 200th anniversary by moving into a new purpose built factory within Etruria Valley, part of the 300 acre Business Park being developed by Stoke-on-Trent Regeneration, a joint venture between St. Modwen and Stoke City Council.
Wade Ceramics, who won the prestigious Business Innovation Award at the recent Sentinel Business Awards 2010 was established in Burslem in 1810 and in its first move since has taken a purpose built 39,000 sq ft new factory, designed by St. Modwen. The historic move away from their Hilltop works site in Burslem has enabled Wade to invest in industry leading innovative manufacturing processes at its new factory.
£7.5m has been invested, which has seen the company invest in people and technology as part of a move towards improving efficiency in readiness for the future. Having updated the manufacturing process to incorporate the latest robotic manufacturing systems, the company has increased its workforce and equipped its staff with extensive I.T. training. In addition, by utilising high technology processes Wade has reduced its space requirement as the new systems require less floor space than traditional ceramic manufacturing.
It is this commitment to innovation that led to the company winning the Business Innovation Award.
Mike Herbert, regional director for St. Modwen commented: “This is great news for Stoke-on-Trent and demonstrates the excellence that exits within the traditional pottery industry and that Stoke is still a world leader in the pottery sector. Wade’s relocation also represents another major step in St Modwen’s regeneration of Stoke. Not only are we helping a long-established company, which plays a key part in Stoke’s heritage, to upgrade and be equipped to compete in today’s sophisticated global market but we will also be regenerating Wade’s former factory site and in doing so, assist in the regeneration of Burslem.
“We are currently in discussions with the City Council over the future of Wades existing site in Burslem, which is earmarked for residential development and expect to be able to move the site forward soon after Wades complete total removal from the Hilltop Works later this year.”
Paul Farmer, managing director of Wade Ceramics Ltd added: “The move to the new premises is excellent news for the industry, the City and most of all Wade Ceramics.
“The new factory is the most advanced ceramics manufacturing facility in the world and, together with a new five year contract to supply decanters to Chivas Brothers, it underpins the future of the 150 Wade employees.”
Spanning 125 acres, Etruria Valley Business Park is part of the former Shelton Steel Works which has been extensively reclaimed by St. Modwen and is an expansion of St. Modwen’s highly successful Festival Park scheme. Phase One, a 35 acre site has already been completed with a total of 167,000 sq ft of office space, alongside a further 148,000 sq ft of industrial / trade park space. The latest phase, Etruria Valley Business Park includes the Head Office for the Hanley Economic Building Society and a landmark building for Vodafone UK. Further development opportunities are available at the Business Park.