Many of you who listened to my presidential address will know that I was born in Stoke-on-Trent, an area of the UK famous for its pottery industry.
So you will not be surprised to learn that my father worked in the pottery industry at a company called Podmore and Sons. They made and processed the raw materials for making pottery e.g. clays, refractory frits and glazes. This connection to Podmores opened a door to some summer vacation work and was my first exposure to both industrial chemistry and to chemical engineering.
The most famous Stoke potter was Josiah Wedgwood, one of the great engineering entrepreneurs of the industrial revolution. Wedgwood was a Fellow of the Royal Society and was responsible for the industrialisation of the ceramics industry in England.
He also played a large role setting up much of the rail and canal infrastructure which was essential for the widespread impact of engineering.
Wedgwood’s legacy collection is currently under threat, unless the Wedgwood museum in Stoke-on-Trent can raise £2.74m by the end of November it will be sold.