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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 March, 2004, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
Enthusiasts save valuable pottery
Poole pottery
A very rare model of a potter at a wheel, from around 1970
A group of enthusiasts have succeeded in securing extremely rare pieces of British pottery for future generations.

The Poole Pottery Fighting Fund failed to raise the 400,000 to stop the 290 pieces from the Poole Pottery Museum being sold at Christies on Wednesday.

But it managed to raise 120,000 from local benefactors to bid for selected items with special significance.

Despite many items fetching well above forecast price, the group say they bought 85% of the pieces they targeted.

We are just taking this chance to save it for people so that it won't be owned by any individual or any organisation and can never be sold off again
Martin Fells
Martin Fells, 49, from Southampton, was one of seven fundraisers' bidding.

He said: "It's not just for Poole people. It's part of our English heritage with a history of manufacturing that goes back to 1873.

"We are just taking this chance to save it for people so that it won't be owned by any individual or any organisation and can never be sold off again."

The group intend to put the pieces under the management of Poole Borough Council and show them in local museums.

But, Mr Fells, a collector of Poole Pottery, added: "Our vision, our dream, is to have a museum just for Poole Pottery."

The company, founded in 1873 by Jesse Carter, a builder's merchant and ironmonger, has recently been sold to private owners.

Previous owners, Jersey-based Orb Estates, went into administration and the museum and archive is being offered for sale by administrators Leonard Curtis & Co.


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