Valentine Clays’ excitedly opens its innovative new warehouse/distribution facility, offices, workshops and gallery space, on an historic ceramics site in Fenton with the hope of continuing to help the current resurgence seen within the ceramics industry and to promote the importance of clay.

The development, on the former Diamond Gimson Works site near the A50 slip road, was formally opened by former Stoke-on-Trent MP, and new director of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, Dr Tristram Hunt, on Friday, May 19th.

It sees the family-run clay retailer boost its 22-strong workforce to 28, with ambitions to double staffing levels within five years, as a second phase manufacturing facility takes shape on the formerly derelict site.

Now in its third generation, the family-run Valentine Clays has been supplying clay bodies and raw materials from its Birches Head Road base for the past 37 years.


Specialising in developing clay bodies to suit the specific requirements of the ceramics industry, the education sector, and a long list of renowned British and International potters, the company has seen a 40% growth in sales during the past five years, means expansion is essential to accommodate increases in production and customer demand. 


The development is expected to become a landmark building for the city with the design of the 1,700 square-metre facility reflecting the very heart of the business.  It is clad in horizontal bands of four different clay colours set in random patterns on all sides of the building, to reflect nature of the raw material. In addition, a specially commissioned 2-metre high ‘Firehand’ ceramic art installation was unveiling outside the new building and forms a stunning centrepiece for the site. The sculpture was part of Gladstone 2013 – fired up! a yearlong community project involving over 100 people of all ages celebrating the Potteries and its people.


Speaking at the launch, Dr Tristram Hunt said: “The new site is a welcomed addition to Stoke and it’s current heritage.”


Alan Ault, managing director and owner of Valentine Clays added:  “Our expansion comes at a time when the spotlight is shining brightly on the industry and the city as we bid to secure the UK City of Culture 2021 status.

 “There has been a clear resurgence in the ceramic industry in recent years, with the bigger players growing and niche potteries also expanding. There has also been a real growth in individuals discovering the pleasure of pottery as a hobby, thanks to shows like The Great Pottery Throw Down.


“Valentine Clays supplies all of these sectors and we are proud that our business is developing in order to support the city’s wider success while keeping ceramics at the very heart of its cultural identity.”


Click Here for further details on our new facility and ‘LoveClay’ – The Ceramics Centre at the heart of the Potteries.