By Bob Walker
BBC News, Staffordshire
Officials arrived at the Waterford Wedgwood factory on Monday
It should have been another quiet day at Wedgwood's Barlaston plant in North Staffordshire.
Most of the production workers remain on an extended Christmas break and only administrative staff are currently in the offices.
But shortly after 11am, a fleet of vehicles swept down the drive and up to the main entrance.
They were carrying security staff and the administrators whose job is now to save the company which celebrates its 250th anniversary this year.
The factory produces the world-famous Wedgwood ceramics as well as the equally-prestigious Royal Doulton brand which was acquired by Waterford Wedgwood in 2004.
It is just the latest in a series of heavy blows that have hit a region which is still proud to call itself The Potteries.
It used to be said that you could always tell which one of your dinner guests came from Stoke-on-Trent. They would be the ones picking up the plates to see where they made.
Before the outbreak of World War II it was estimated that around half the city's workforce was employed in the pottery industry.
But since then, it has been a slow and steady decline.
Notable losses include 500 jobs which went when Royal Doulton's last factory closed in 2004.
Around 1,000 Wedgwood jobs have already melted away with the transfer of more work to Indonesia, and even the Queen's china maker, Spode, went into administration last year.
Civic and business leaders insist ceramics still has a part to play in this region. But production will have to be scaled back, and research, development and design must be pivotal to a re-birth.
But nevertheless the potential loss of Wedgwood is sure to be a bitter pill for the region.
Kevin Farrell, of the British Ceramic Federation, said there would be a considerable impact on the city.
The iconic Wedgwood design is recognised across the world
"When you actually consider that Wedgwood is one of the most famous brands worldwide and is recognised across the world, I would hope that some part of it could be rescued in some form."
One worker, who has been with Wedgwood for 26 years, said the knowledge that the company was in financial trouble had not softened the blow.
"It's going to have a knock-on effect everywhere... not just here but the whole Stoke-on-Trent area and all the other little local companies that we deal with," he said.
"It's hard enough to find a job in Stoke-on-Trent. We're stuck out here in the countryside with no transport. We'll have no chance whatsoever if Wedgwood goes."
But office worker Kay Marriner said that although staff had been given few details, they were hopeful a buyer could be found.
She added that many workers, herself included, were proud to work for a company with such a fine tradition.