Statment - The Leach Pottery Restoraration Project

01 Jan 2005 Ltd publish below, with kind permission from Lady Holland, her statement setting out the current position and progress made and planned to Restore Bernard Leach's pottery. We are fully committed to helping this important project where we are able and I hope that many visitors to our website will feel the same way and give their support to helping to move this project to a successful conclusion.

Stephen Dee
Director Ltd

Leach Pottery Restoration Project
January 2005

In January 2004 we announced the setting up of an influential Steering Group formed to put together a plan and funding to secure the future of the Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall, England. Since then considerable progress has been made and this Update describes briefly the most important developments and the current position of the project.

Key points

· Penwith District Council and Cornwall County Council have both agreed to put up the local authority match funding that will be required by the main public funding bodies (Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council, Objective 1 etc) if the project goes ahead. St Ives Town Council made a donation to project funds.

· In addition Penwith District Council agreed to take the lead in applying for funding and spearheading the project.

· It was agreed that Penwith District Council would enter into negotiations with the current owners, Sally and Alan Gillam, to sign a conditional contract to purchase the pottery should the necessary funding be secured. This conditional contract is due to be signed in the near future.

· A public consultation day held at St Ives Guildhall in July attracted considerable interest and the displays and questionnaire produced some useful feedback.

· The Steering Group first set up a number of working groups to discuss and plan various aspects of the business plan and later appointed a small number of key individuals to form a Shadow Board for the charity that will operate the pottery. Remaining members of the Steering Group formed an Advisory Group to support the Shadow Board.

· A charitable company is currently being formed to manage the pottery. The Memorandum and Articles have been completed and registration by Companies House and the Charity Commission is expected soon.

· Founder trustees of the charity will be three local residents, Lady Carol Holland (Chairman), Harry Isaacs (currently Mayor of St Ives) and well-known potter John Bedding, together with the Vice-Principal of Falmouth College of Arts, Professor Eric Spiller. Other trustees will be appointed once the company has been registered.

· When the funding is secured, Penwith District Council will purchase the pottery and sign a long lease and management contract with the charitable company, which will be called “Bernard Leach (St Ives) Trust Limited”.

· When the pottery has been fully restored and refurbished, members of the public will be able to enter the old workshop and kiln shed for the first time for many years. There will also be a museum and interpretation display and a considerably expanded gallery and retail area.

· New studios, with modern kiln facilities, will be built and these will be used as a training facility, run in partnership with Falmouth College of Arts, and as start-up units for newly-established potters. Building this new unit will bring the total cost of the project to an estimated £1.7 million.

· Results of the various funding applications are expected in April 2005. Assuming that these are successful, Penwith District Council will then complete negotiations to purchase the pottery and work will begin on site. It will be necessary to close the whole site to the public for a period. As much notice as possible will be given concerning the dates of closure. These dates are unknown at present and the pottery may not close completely until the autumn/winter of 2005/6.

· As soon as the company has been registered as a charity, the project will be in a position to accept donations towards working funds from the many well-wishers who have expressed an interest in supporting the project. However the main public appeal will probably not be launched until the autumn of 2005.

· Considerable interest in the restoration project has been expressed in Japan. Articles have been published in a number of Japanese publications and a partnership has been established with the Japanese Folk Craft Museum (Nihon Mingeikan) in Tokyo, which was founded in 1936 by Bernard Leach’s friend and mentor, Soetsu Yanagi (1889-61). The museum has offered to take a lead in raising funds and support for the project in Japan – a gesture of friendship which is greatly appreciated by all project representatives.

I would like to express my personal thanks and the thanks of all the team to all our partners and all those who have expressed their support for the project. I look forward to another busy, but exciting, year in 2005.

(Lady) Carol Holland
Leach Pottery Restoration Project St. Ives