I have already extolled the aesthetic virtues of hand made, traditional clay pots elsewhere in this blog so when the chance arose to acquire a fairly large number of these, dating from the 1880’s through to the 1950’s I certainly wasn’t going to turn them down. I set off with my beloved land rover Buster, who loves a challenge like this and after an awful lot of lifting and moving, brought the full collection home. Well I have to report that it has been a thoroughly joyous experience and I am expanding my knowledge of clay flower pots by the day.
I imagine most gardeners know the name Sankey Bullwell of Nottingham, a company that at it’s height could turn out 60,000 clay pots a day and until 1939, these were all hand made and shipped across the world. Familiar too is the name of Ward Darlaston who moved from making bricks to clay pots in the 1920’s. During my childhood I can remember seeing pots by both these makers which had probably come from my grandfather’s garden – the larger nine or ten inch pots he used to call dahlia pots. I don’t think I was ever particularly aware of others although I’m sure there must have been many smaller makers in potteries up and down the country, however I am now the proud owner of a large pot stamped ‘Royal Potteries’ – Weston-super-Mare. These high quality pots, it seems, were made only for the Royal Parks and Kew Gardens so how one has come to be in rural Cheshire is anyone’s guess, but from now on I will treasure it.
Even more interesting is the story of Isaac Button from Soil Hill Pottery. Having found a pot with this marking on, I gave it as a gift to my lovely friend who comes from Halifax, the home of this pottery. She was so pleased that she researched this fascinating man who for many years ran the pottery single handedly, digging his own clay and turning out a hand made pot every 22 seconds. When you get a chance – watch this uplifting video about his story…
Meanwhile, some of these divine pots will be forming the basis of my new auricular theatre (see A particular auricula theatre) but it would be greedy not to share such beauties so a number of them will be making their way onto the shop pages over the next few weeks. Keep your eyes peeled !