THE second phase of the £8.9 million transformation of the historic Leach Pottery in St Ives has been submitted to Cornwall Council for planning permission for major rebuilding and expansion works.

The Leach Pottery has stood on the same site for more than a century. The pottery, a learning centre, museum, shop and gallery space are housed in a series of buildings, with the original pottery dating back to the 1920s. Additional buildings were added in the 1950s and 1970s including a converted house now used for learning, and most recently, the museum reception entrance, the Cube gallery, and the Leach studio workshop in 2008.

The project, which is being funded by St Ives Town Deal and National Heritage Lottery Fund, will see the historic site developed and expanded to provide the pottery with the world-class facilities needed to grow our learning programme, increase studio production, bring the story of the 100-year-old pottery to life in the extended museum, welcome and develop our local, national and international visitors with better on-site services including an expanded shop and new cafe. 

The first phase, to replace Beagle Cross building was approved in May 2023 with work expected to begin early next year.

Leach Pottery Director Libby Buckley said: “Leach Pottery has a global reputation for its training and studio pottery. We are excited to be beginning the next phase of planning for this two-year project that will help ensure the success of the historic Leach Pottery to expand and increase accessibility, create employment and inspire and engage people in the craft of studio pottery.


“The capital project will have economic benefits in terms of employment and visitors to St Ives and cultural benefits as more people can benefit from the Pottery’s learning programme. The building will also create a sustainable future for the pottery.”

The project will involve changes and additions to the whole site. This includes:

  • Provide a new learning and production centre on the site of the current Beagle Cross house that will house a larger more efficient studio, three new learning spaces and new staff facilities. 
  • Retain, refurbish and improve the existing museum (the listed Leach Pottery) to include conversion of part of the 2008 production studio into an introductory gallery to enable the context and importance of Leach to be fully explored.
  • Retain, Refurbish and improve the existing shop in the listed Pottery Cottage
  • Convert a part of the 2008 production studio into a temporary gallery for shows of pottery for sale. Convert the 2008 cube gallery into an archive study centre with a library, object store and archive.
  • Provide a new reception and cafe building
  • Return the first floor of the listed Pottery Cottage to residential use for visiting artist

A key element of the project is to improve and expand services for local people. Gary Topp, Chair of the Bernard Leach (St Ives) Trust Ltd, said:

“The majority of the capital project is funded by the Town Deal, a government-funded programme to improve local facilities. Our learning programme teaches around 3,000 people a year; many of the students are local, with special sessions organised for community groups, schoolchildren and through social prescribing.

“The project will allow us to increase what we offer the local community and safeguard the historic Leach Pottery for generations to come.”

The full planning application is available to view on our website at or you can view on Cornwall Council’s planning portal, reference PA23/00676.