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Customers talk of company's importance to the regional economy.

Customers at Waterford Wedgwood's Stoke-on-Trent factory shop were close to tears yesterday as they described how important the firm was to the city.

The company is one of the biggest employers in Stoke-on-Trent and forms a significant part of the city's history.

Founder, Josiah Wedgwood I, was committed to caring for his workforce and provided housing for them at the Etruria factory.

Years later, Josiah Wedgwood V planned a village of centrally-heated homes for workers at the Barlaston site, completed in the 50s.

"Josiahcared for their well-being," said Wedgwood fan Stephanie Brown, from Oadby, Leicestershire. "He provided housing and provided them with facilities for leisure time. It's really very special.

If they do not find support, so much will be lost. It's not just the china."

Margaret Kilford, from Stafford, was close to tears as she described how important Waterford Wedgwood was. She said: "It's part of Staffordshire. It's a very sad day. I've always bought Wedgwood.

Nothing else will do. If it goes, that's it."

Resident Rita Hill, aged 62, said: "It's the biggest company left in this area. I feel sorry for the people left without jobs.

The experience of these people will be lost forever if the company goes."

Her 68-year-old husband Geoff, who has lived in Stoke-on-Trent all his life, said: "Josiah would turn in his grave.

"All these people might lose their jobs.

Wedgwood is quite a big group now.

There are very few pottery companies left and this was the biggest. It's very sad."

Elaine Donnelly, aged 47, from Stone, Staffordshire, visits the factory shop once or twice a year. She said: "It would be so sad if it goes. I hope they can find a buyer but whether or not they manage to save the jobs, I do not know."

Mark Meredith, Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, said the news was a "severe blow" to the region. He added: "It shows the real impact of the global financial crisis."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 6, 2009
Words:324
Previous Article:Union pleads for world-renowned Irish glass factory to be saved.
Next Article:Waterford Wedgewood goes into administration; MANUFACTURING.


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