ERRINGTON Reay Pottery in Bardon Mill started life as a water-powered woollen mill in the mid-1700s before it was burnt down by an employee, Harvey, whose ghost is said to remain in the upstairs of the building.

The mill continued into the early 1800s as a drain pipe and brick production company and the casts of bricks can still be found hanging from the ceiling structures upstairs in the mill.

The pottery was founded in 1878 by William Reay and Robert Errington and for many years, it specialised in clay sewerage pipes.

But following the advent of plastic pipes in the 1970s, it diversified to produce garden pots, which quickly became popular with clients from across the country.

To this day, it creates ornamental and functional pottery, with those unique coloured salt glazes.

Manager and potter Karl Jacques, along with other employees, can create a pot in less than half an hour.

They use an old drain pipe machine to mould the clay into a cylinder before they start potting.

This means they don’t have to start from scratch, as this would take a lot longer. However, before potting, they create a base to sit the cylinder on.

The pots are then stacked in the outdoor, coal-powered kiln where they are fired over a two-day period at temperatures of up to 1200 degrees celsius, before salt is thrown in for the glaze.

The kiln was built in 2000 and designed to be exactly the same as the one used in the 1930s.

Clay is formed when broken down earth and forest gets wet and creates feldspar. It often contains fossils, which are broken down by water in the mill to get it ready ready for potting.

Three years ago, Karl and his team transformed an old stone kiln at the pottery into a visitor centre, depicting the 135-year history of the business.

Twelve months ago, it expanded further by opening an art gallery in what was originally the factory manager’s house.

Currently, the work of Steve Harrison, a locally-born potter and artist, can be found at the mill. His work features crockery and pots on a large and colourful scale.