Sharpe’s Pottery Museum is nestled in the market town of Swadlincote at the heart of The National Forest.

Explore our iconic grade II listed Bottle Kiln and discover stories of the Sharpe’s family toilet invention. You will also learn about the significant changes from 19th century coal mining, clay extraction and associated industrial activity in South Derbyshire, to a 21st century sustainable landscape led by the creation of The National Forest! 

Latest News

Celebrating Volunteers Week at Sharpe’s!

This #VolunteersWeek we are thinking about the awesome contributions that volunteers make each and every day. Volunteering comes in many different shapes and sizes, but no matter the role, task or project, the impact is HUGE! Our Volunteer Coordinator, Jenni, has been...

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Museum Opening Hours

Sunday: Closed

Monday: Closed

Tuesday: 10am-5pm

Wednesday: 10am-5pm

Thursday: 10am-5pm

Friday: 10am-5pm

Saturday: 10am-5pm

Sweet Caroline Café Opening Hours

Sunday: Temporarily Closed for the Summer

Monday: 9.30am-4pm

Tuesday: 9.30am-4pm

Wednesday: 9.30am-4pm

Thursday: 9.30am-4pm

Friday: 9.30am-4pm

Saturday: 9.30am-4pm

Our Museum

From toilets to teapots and tiles to Toby jugs; Sharpe’s Pottery Museum has them all. From the early sixteenth century the rich clay deposits of South Derbyshire attracted many entrepreneurs. They included, amongst many others, ‘farm boy to gentleman potter’ Thomas Sharpe, rich businessman T. G. Green, and the creative partnership of Henry Tooth and William Ault at Bretby Art Pottery.

What’s on

We offer an exciting programme of events and activities throughout the year; including art & craft workshops, artisan markets, music and comedy in the Kiln, murder mystery evenings, wellbeing sessions, school holiday activities, valuation Days, seasonal events and much more!

 Keep checking our website and social media sites for updates. 

Help the museum care for its unique collection…

The Museum team have been working hard to create a museum with a bright and sustainable future. We are urging our Buddys, supporters, and local community to support Sharpe’s Pottery Museum through our Adopt an Object scheme to help us to continue to enhance and complete our work; promoting to all a love of heritage, culture, and the arts for years to come.


By adopting an object, you will be supporting the care of our collection at the museum, maintaining the heritage building and ensuring that Sharpe's Pottery Museum continues to be an iconic place for everyone.

Become an Edmund Buddy

By joining, you will help us to run the museum, improve our displays, and to resource our school learning sessions and holiday activities.


As a Volunteer you’ll gain so much along the way: new skills, confidence, social connections and joy to name but a few.


However small, or large, every penny of every gift will go towards continuing the valuable work of Sharpe’s Museum for the benefit people of all ages.

Story of Sharpe’s

Did you know that the Grade II listed and original bottle kiln, together with substantial attached workshop buildings are believed to be the oldest surviving sanitary pottery works in the country and maybe the world?

The founder was Thomas Sharpe. He came from a farming background and established the pottery in 1821.

Starting with the manufacture of functional wares such as tea pots and pie dishes the family business quickly responded to a growing demand for making ceramic sanitary wares including toilets, urinals, wash basins and clay pipes.

Story of South Derbyshire

South Derbyshire is a local government district and was formed on 1 April 1974 as a merger of the Swadlincote urban district along with Repton rural and part of South  East Derbyshire rural districts.

It contains a third of the National Forest and the council offices are here in Swadlincote.

Our museum tells this story and of how the products of the earth (coal and clay) resulted in business prosperity but a deterioration in the environment because of the impact of coal fired kilns.

How to get here


At Sharpe’s Pottery Museum we want everyone to be able to enjoy our building, exhibits and events, and we have taken every measure to ensure that we are as open and accessible to as many people as possible. The Museum is fully wheelchair-accessible and assistance may be provided if required.


We have dedicated spaces for up to 5 vehicles. The nearest off site car parks are Grove Street and Rink Drive, they are free all day. There are 2 clearly marked Blue Badge parking spaces available free of charge on-site off West Street, or on the roadside nearby.


There are bicycle racks on West Street outside the post office, 5-minute walk away.


The nearest train station is Burton on Trent. Travel by taxi for 20 minutes or on the bus to Swadlincote Bus Station, visit Trainline to plan your route.


There are frequent and regular bus services into the town centre, operated by Midland Classic and Arriva. Swadlincote Bus Station is a 10-minute walk away.