THE history of Worcester's famous porcelain factory and the people who worked there will be brought dramatically to life thanks to a major cash boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Museum of Royal Worcester has been given a grant of £1,282,700 to fulfil plans for a project celebrating 250 years of innovation, industry and craftsmanship at the factory.

The money will transform the museum's offering from an impressive collection of china into a living history of the factory, the families that worked there, its social history and hundreds of years of porcelain production.

It will shine a light on the hidden stories and exhibits from the museum's archives, such as audio recordings which describe the camaraderie and rivalry that existed between departments and show just how many skills and pairs of hands each piece took to create.

Philippa Tinsley, consultant curator for the project, said: "We are all really excited.

"At the moment we have a world-class collection of Royal Worcester Porcelain, which would rival anything.

"It's as good as you might find in the Victoria and Albert museum for example.

"It's a decorative china display but we now are hoping to bring in more of the side of how it was made and who made it and the wider impact of Worcester Porcelain."

Ms Tinsley said the archives held drawings, paintings and wage books along with information about how the china was shipped across the world and details on the children that worked in the factory in the eighteenth century.

She said: "You get a sense of how important Worcester became because of the factory being here.

"People will be able to see much more information about the people who worked here.

"We have photographs, memories and oral histories.

"People will have the opportunity to find out about their own families, the work side and the fun side such as the sports groups and the community and how important it was.

"This is lovely opportunity to use sounds and smells and really get quite engaged in what it was like in the porcelain factory.

"We've always had these archives. I think this has been in the planning ever since the factory went.

"That really changed the landscape about what happens down here.

"We needed to change what we offered so it was more accessible to everybody in Worcester."

Royal Worcester was the oldest porcelain manufacturer in Britain and touched the lives of thousands of people in Worcester, from its formation in 1751 to its closure in 2008.

The company exported to every corner of the world and had porcelain orders commissioned by monarchs and statesmen.

The project will take three years to complete and will also lead to an innovative education programme, community projects and a lively programme of events.

Henry Sandon, the museum's patron, said: “The museum possess a great archive of the lives and work of the thousands of craftsmen and it will be wonderful to display this in a modern way so that it can be brought to life and the public can appreciate the human person behind the superb work.

"We are delighted The Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support and we are looking forward to welcoming new audiences to our doors.”

The project is not related to the news we reported yesterday that an £11 million plan to build a new cultural quarter around the site of Royal Worcester was being watered down.