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Community Projects

The Shelley Group is a collectors’ club with research and educational aims. We are a Registered Charity - No.1097547. and in support of this and our stated object of public education and promotion of the products of Wileman and Shelley Potteries, we engage in a variety of community activities.

The Ray Reynolds Memorial Award 2020

Bethany Kock with David CoxEach year the Shelley Group makes an annual award, in the form of a Bursary for £500, to a student of Ceramics at the University of Staffordshire. This is a splendid way of commemorating our great friend, Ray Reynolds, and linking him and us with the cutting-edge of UK Ceramics. This year the Award was made to Bethany Lock, now studying for her MA, having completed her BA  Designer Maker last year.

On 4th March Chris Davenport and David Cox visited once again the thriving Ceramics Department. Professor Tim Forrester had given us a major task ; there were 9 candidates for the Award, from both the BA and MA courses. It was a real delight to see the high quality of expertise, innovation and creativity on display. Each candidate was given 10 minutes to talk us through his/her work and aspirations. We whittled the 9 down to a shortlist and then finally decided on the winner, without any disagreement! Bethany received the cheque and information about our Group, its magazine and website. This year, for the first time, the other candidates received a letter of commendation and a small piece of Shelley as a memento.

Display of Bethany Lock's work Bethany is an outstanding winner. We had met her last year, but her work had changed considerably. Chris was in raptures about her work in bone china! The photos do not, perhaps inevitably, do full justice to the wares. Bethany is surely just the kind of student our Group likes to support, just as the Shelley family did years ago with their staff? She pays for all her studies and has to work many hours outside the University to fund herself. She works very hard and, according to Tim, our Award is potentially life-changing in that it gives Bethany more freedom to advance her career. The Ceramics Department is flourishing, with 18 now on the BA course. Our partnership with the Department is strong, and Tim Forrester wishes to pass on to all members his genuine appreciation of our support and enthusiasm. We will continue next year!


We are proud to be able to assist students in this way and to share in enjoying their efforts.

Previous Years Awards

Conservation of Shelley Pattern Books

Following the successful bid by the Art Fund to purchase the Minton Archive in 2015, the Group has worked with Stoke City Archives to catalogue and digitise the Shelley Pattern Books which formed part of that collection. Many of the books are in a state of decay and in need of urgent work to stabilise them and prevent further deterioration. Three of the books which contained work done by Ray Reynolds (the last Decorating Manager of Shelleys), were selected by his daughters for restoration, and financed by donations made following Ray's death, specifically for that purpose. The remaining books have been examined by a conservator and a schedule of repairs agreed. It is considered that any work should be of a minimal nature to preserve as much of the original books as possible whilst improving their structural integrity and allow their further use for research. The cost of conserving these remaining books, which will run well into five figures, is being shared between the UK, USA, and Australian collecting groups.

Sue & Jill (Rey Reynolds daughters) with Chris Latimer of Stoke City ArchivesPhotos

Left: Sue and Jill (Ray Reynold's daughters) with Chris Latimer of Stoke City Archives

Below left: The extensive deterioration of some of the pattern books

Below centre: Books 13 and 17 after conservation. Book 13 has had sympathetic repairs to the spine whilst Book 17 has received a complete new cover

Below right: The dedication to Ray placed in some of the books.

photo montage of pattern book conservation