The first part of Phoenix, what is now the middle section, came into our family in 1961. It was offered to us by the liquidators of John Shaw and Son Ltd who had recently closed down after occupying Phoenix for couple of years. After buying it we had to demolish four of the six bottle ovens straight away to create space for our wholesale pottery business. The demolition cost nothing as the fire bricks from the inner domes were quite valuable. We obviously had to pay to repair the roofs and floors where the bottle ovens passed through the building.
We also had a problem with the two storey frontage which leaned over the footpath quite dangerously by two feet when measured from the eaves, due to subsidence. The easiest solution was to stabilise it by removing the top storey and make the floor into the roof of the now one storey building. This had to be done on a Sunday because of the danger of collapse once the roof was removed. Coincidentally this solved the problem of access as we were able to remove the very limited arch entrance, more suited to horse and carts, and create a much more open access into the yard. It all worked very well until a few years later we discovered that the street ends of the roof joists which used to be floor joist were rotting. We decided that the cheapest and best way our of this problem was to build a new single storey frontage inside the old one and then demolish to old one.
After two or three years we were able to purchase the small neighbouring yard and buildings from Colin McNeals, who had been taken over by Harrisons and then much later in 1993 we bought the neighbouring factory on the other side from Mr Bardsley, a car dealer who had bought from Mr Ridgway. This provided much needed car parking for the site.