The Glost House aims to offer something different to its customers – and the café bar is already attracting attention before it has opened, if only for its name.
At first glance, it could be mistakenly read as The Ghost House. Whether we have any supernatural visitors will remain to be seen, as the venue is in fact, as many potters will tell you, named after the glost or glazing process for ceramic ware.
It was a name we felt was very apt, being based at the Phoenix Works in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, a manufactory which Thomas Forester, one of the best known names in Victorian majolica pottery, started building in 1879.
After completing the expansion of the Phoenix Works with the purchase of adjoining premises, and bringing his sons into the business, Forester & Sons become one of the largest potteries in Stoke-on-Trent.
It continued producing art pottery until its closure in 1959. The factory was then bought by the Milner family for their pottery wholesale business in 1961, and they are now overseeing the renovation of the Grade-II listed site.
Majolica ware is known for its vivid colours and beautiful glaze. During the glost fire, the glaze matures, giving the pot its glossy surface.
The Potbank Dictionary, gives these definitions for terms relating to the glazing process:
GLAZE FIRE: Process. A potter would call this the ‘glost fire.’ The firing which takes place after the biscuit ware has been dipped or sprayed in glaze.
GLOST: Pottery pieces which have been glazed. Adjective of glaze.
GLOST FIRE: Process. The firing after the biscuit ware has been dipped or sprayed in glaze. When glaze is fired it softens progressively as the temperature increases. Then, the constituents fuse together to create the glaze surface.
GLOST OVEN: The oven used specifically for firing glazed ware.
GLOST PLACER: Occupation. Ovens department.
GLOST WARE: Glazed ware, ie biscuit ware that has been glazed and then fired again.
GLOST WAREHOUSE: The department where glazed ware is sorted and selected prior to either being sent for application of decoration or to the finished warehouse.
With The Glost House operating in the shadow of the ovens still standing at the Phoenix Works site, our name is a small nod of recognition to the rich heritage of Stoke-on-Trent and our pride in the city’s revival.