Tag Archives: Wedgwood

J. B. Priestley visits Tunstall

greenfield

An Artist’s Impression of Adams Greengates Factory in the 18th Century

Writer and broadcaster, John Boynton Priestley made his first visit to The Potteries in 1933 when he was writing English Journey, a personalised semi-documentary account of life in England.

A well built, good-natured, plain speaking, pipe smoking Yorkshireman, he visited towns and cities throughout the country collecting materials for his book. Meandering northwards from Southampton, John made his way to The Potteries where he went to two 18th century potbanks – Adams in Tunstall and Wedgwood at Etruria.

John was surprised to hear the foreman at Adams call the workers “ladies and gentlemen” instead of “men and women”. He saw then making and decorating cups and saucers, teapots, butter dishes, dinnerware and tea services. The “ladies and gentlemen” took pride in their work. John admired their skill and craftsmanship but was critical of the firm’s traditional designs which were not selling well in overseas markets. Before leaving the factory, he unsuccessfully attempted to throw a large plate on a potters wheel. John could not control its speed, and the plate kept spinning off the wheel.

Unwilling to admit defeat, he decided to try again when he visited Wedgwood. John persuaded the company to let him throw a vase.

John’s skills as a potter were limited, and amused workers watched his futile attempts to shape the clay. Realising he did not have the ability to make a vase, John spent all afternoon trying to create a bowl. One disaster followed another. Eventually, he managed to produce something resembling a bowl that could be used as an ashtray.

Did you know that Adams had two potbanks in Tunstall? The one called Greengates was near Christ Church. The other called Greenfield was in Furlong Road. Both factories were demolished many years ago.

If you have memories of these factories or photographs of them and the ware they made which you would like to share please email David at daymar727@talktalk.net or visit Memory Lane in Tunstall Market on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Explore the World of Wedgwood

Was out and about on the weekend, and ventured to The World of Wedgwood. I’ve been meaning to go for sometime but just not got round to it. Well last weekend was a rainy day (nothing new there) so needed to go somewhere undercover and this was perfect. The factory site has been recently redeveloped […]

(Posted June 16th, 2017)

To read more visit Explore the World of Wedgwood — Decor Lasting

The Potteries in 1795 (Part Two)

In the second in our series of edited extracts from Dr Aikin’s description of the Potteries in 1795, we look at Burslem, Cobridge and Etruria.

BURSLEM

This is the ancient centre of The Pottery, where doubtless earthenware of one kind or another has been made for many centuries. Doctor Plot, in his History of Staffordshire, written in 1686, makes special mention of the potteries of this place and points them out as being the greatest of their kind… This place has two markets in the week, Monday and Saturday; but the market on Monday is the largest. In the last four or five years, regular fairs where cattle are sold have been established which are well attended. Burslem is a parish, which has a good church, lately enlarged and thoroughly repaired, with a good organ. The late Mr Wesley gained considerable ground here. The Methodists have a chapel, and are very numerous; they have also built chapels in several towns and villages in The Pottery: it is, however, believed that the members of this society are not so numerous now as they were in the lifetime of Mr Wesley. There is also a great variety of other sects in The Pottery: few places have so great a diversity of opinion in respect of religion as this; but the effusions of loyalty hereupon most occasions may be fairly stated to be general, warm, and sincere.

COBRIDGE

Cobridge is a large village where there are factories making earthenware. It lies partly in Burslem parish and partly in Stoke parish.

ETRURIA

Etruria belongs solely to Josiah Wedgwood, Esq. who has a very extensive earthenware manufactory here, a large village and a handsome residence in extensive grounds. In his pottery enterprises, he has most definitely acquired a great fortune with an equal share of reputation. The name of this place was given to it by Mr Wedgwood, after an ancient state in Italy, celebrated for the exquisite design of its pottery, the remaining specimens of which have served greatly to improve the beauty of modern ware. The Trent & Mersey Canal runs through Etruria, which makes it a good manufacturing situation; but the whole belonging to one individual will most likely operate against an increase in the number of factories there.

The Potteries in 1795 (Part Two) – Edited by Betty Cooper 2010

To be continued