On Friday, February 9th, 1906, the foundation stone was laid by the Earl of Dartmouth, who used a special engraved trowel. The trowel was silver with an ivory handle; it had an inscription – the Burslem coat of arms, and the motto “Ready.” Deposited beneath the stone was an earthenware jar containing copies of the “Sentinel,” the “Staffordshire Advertiser,” a copy of the clays programme, and several coins of the period. Accompanying the jar were several examples of Burslem-made earthenware pots and ceramic tiles produced by the leading manufacturers. The main contributors were Royal Doulton, Maddocks, Malkins, Wood and Sons, Wade Ceramics Ltd, the Marden Tile Company, and Messrs. Boote. The cost of the building was about £6,000, with an extra £1,500 spent on furnishing the spacious studies. The site had previously been occupied by an old factory belonging to Wood and Baker, which was formerly the works of a much earlier pottery owned by Cork and Condliffe. It was donated by Thomas Hulme in 1904 for the sole purpose of erecting a much-needed art school.