About Sutherland Institute

This large and impressive building, at the southern end of the Strand, Longton, is the Sutherland Institute, Free Library and a Stoke-on-Trent Business Enterprise Centre which, in its earlier days, was often referred to as Longton’s Temple of Learning.

The whole concept was the brainchild of the Duke of Sutherland, who, as Mayor of Longton in 1896, made a visit to the existing library which was unsuitably housed in the old Athenaeum building. While there, he realised the need for new and larger premises. The experience obviously inspired the Duke, for very shortly afterwards he made a gift to the town of a convenient site for a new library and technical school.

On February 7th, 1897, the idea materialised when the foundation stone was laid by the Prince of Wales.

On October 27th, 1899, the building was officially opened by the Duke of Sutherland.

Among the many guests at the ceremony were the American Ambassador, and a party of the Duke’s friends from Trentham Hall. The architects commissioned were Wood and Hutchins, and the building they designed was in the Renaissance style.

The symmetrical structure was built mainly from red brick with yellow terracotta embellishments; the total cost was in the region of £10,000.

Across the centre, above the ground floor, a frieze of terracotta relief illustrating the pottery industry was added a little later, in 1908-9.

The large studios on the upper floors was used for art education since 1901, when art classes were removed from nearby Longton High School.” These areas are now offices and studio’s for small start-up businesses forming part of Stoke-on-Trent’s vision to help small businesses to thrive and grow.

Find out more about our business and meeting spaces at the Sutherland Institute

Business Spaces


Meeting Spaces


Some venues offer character and charm. Some are eco-friendly. Some venues offer great functionality. Nowhere combines these dimensions quite like Stoke-on-Trent’s BECs.

Award winning restorations of historic buildings

Award winning restorations of historic buildings

Combining the best of 130 years of potteries heritage with cutting edge technology and design, creating an exciting fusion of the old and the new

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