Bristol Potters and Potteries

Research by Reg Jackson

Bristol Potteries - B

Research by Reg Jackson

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Baptist Mills Pottery

(also known as White’s Pottery)
Millpond Street, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1840-1860 Joseph White II and James White I.
Joseph White I seems to have been associated with the business until his death in about 1854.
William White had also acquired an interest in the business by the time it changed hands in 1860.
1860-1866 Joseph Augustus White and James White II.
1866-1875 Joseph Augustus White.
1875-1890 Frederick James White, trading as J. & J. White.

The pottery closed.

From 1829 until 1840 Joseph White II and his son, James White I, had run the Redcross Street Pottery.  In 1840 that pottery was taken over by William White, the brother of Joseph White II, with Joseph White II and James White I moving to the newly established Baptist Mills Pottery.

It is not know when the White family first acquired land at Baptist Mills and started building the pottery.  However the pottery must have been in use by 1840 when it was first occupied by Joseph White II and James White I.

The White family continued to expand their property ownership in the area of Baptist Mills.  In June 1840 James White I, described as an earthenware manufacturer, purchased a plot of land at Baptist Mills, which adjoined property he already owned, together with seven houses called Henry Row. In September 1842 Joseph White II and James White I leased for 14 years at £60 a year ‘the mill formerly used as a grist mill and afterwards by the Bristol Brass and Copper Company, together with the waterwheel, machinery and the yard, stables and premises adjoining the mill stream, the mill tail, all houses and outhouses, buildings, sluices, floodgates, sewers, etc‘.  In 1844 James White I purchased land at Baptist Mills for £1,200 and in June 1846 he purchased further land and derelict buildings also formerly occupied by the Bristol Brass and Copper Company which adjoined Joseph White II’s land.

Joseph White I, the father of Joseph White II and the grandfather of James White I, purchased premises adjoining the mill at Baptist Mills in October 1845, which had previously been used as a skinner’s yard and parchment factory.  This suggests that he had a financial interest in the Baptist Mills Pottery which he probably retained until his death in about 1854. An advertisement of 1860 confirms that William White was also involved in the Baptist Mills Pottery.

In 1851 Joseph White II was recorded as a master potter, living at 2 Lower Ashley Road, and employing 95 people, while James White I was living at Frome Villa, Lower Ashley Road.

The last reference to Joseph White II and James White I being associated with the Baptist Mills Pottery was in the 1860 directory.  Between 1861 and 1869, but most probably in 1861, James White I emigrated to St John’s, New Brunswick, Canada, where, with his brother Frederick James White, he established the Courtney Bay Pottery at Crouchville.  By 1861 Joseph White II had retired to live near Barnstaple in Devon, later joining his sons at the Courtney Bay Pottery.  In 1862 Joseph White II, then of Waytown, near Barnstaple, mortgaged for £1,000 a property described partly as ‘all that land at Baptist Mills, and all that kiln and other buildings erected thereon now used as an earthenware pottery; all that land and warehouses erected thereon; and all that tenement commonly called the Porch House‘ occupied by James White II and Joseph Augustus White.

In 1860 the Baptist Mills Pottery had been taken over by Joseph Augustus White, the son of Joseph White II, and James White II, the son of James White I. In August 1860 this was confirmed in the following  newspaper advertisement: ‘To earthenware dealers, etc, Messrs J. & J. White (late J. J. & W. White) beg to thank their friends and the public generally for the liberal patronage bestowed upon them, and hope, by the superior manufacture of their goods and promptitude in the execution of all orders with which they may be favoured, to merit that large amount of patronage which has been awarded to the firm for upwards of half a century‘.

It seems likely that Joseph Augustus White was the partner directly involved in running the business.  In 1861 he was described as a master potter employing 37 men, 17 women and 15 boys, and living at Cornwallis Place, St Philip’s parish.  Ten years later he was again recorded as a master potter employing 32 men, 23 women and 12 boys, and living at Claremont Villa, Claremont Place, St Philip’s parish.

James White II died in November 1866 and the business was carried on by Joseph Augustus White alone until his death in November 1875.  In the same month, the pottery was flooded to a depth of 6 feet, and this was the first of a series of floods which eventually resulted in the closure of the pottery.

On Joseph Augustus White’s death his brother, Frederick James White, returned from Canada to run the Baptist Mills Pottery although the business continued to trade as J. & J. White.  During his proprietorship the pottery continued to be seriously flooded by the River Frome: for example, in November 1882 it flooded to a depth of 5 feet 6 inches and in November 1888 ‘at Messrs White’s pottery a mass of clay was washed away, and the works had to be stopped‘.  In 1889 it was reported that the Frome Culvert Committee had entered into an arrangement for the purchase of White’s Pottery at Baptist Mills, in connection with their scheme for preventing the flooding of the river.  In January 1890 Anne White, the widow of James White II, sold to the Mayor and Aldermen of Bristol: ‘all that mill … for many years known as the Baptist Mills and the yard and buildings thereto belonging … building with yard, furnace, pottery … two water wheels … and the three glaze mills belonging to the said mill and pottery, also the smiths shop and outbuildings …‘.

The Baptist Mills Pottery closed with its sale in January 1890 and this also ended the White family’s long association with pottery production in Bristol.  For a short time Frederick James White seems to have had an interest in a redware pottery in Fishponds, three miles north-east of Bristol, and in 1891 he was described as a potter living in Rodford near Westerleigh in Gloucestershire.  However in 1893 he left England to establish a pottery to produce fine stoneware in Denver, Colorado.

Wares produced

Egyptian black and Rockingham teapots, stone jugs, gold lustre ware and earthenwares.

Barton Hill Pottery 1

Barton Hill, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1804-1809 Josiah Duffett.
1809-1836 James Duffett I.
1836-1855 James Duffett II.
1856-c1863 William Hutchings I.
c1865-1872 Alfred Niblett.

The pottery probably closed (see Barton Hill Pottery 2).

Josiah Duffett left the St Philip’s Pottery 2 in 1804 and established the Barton Hill Pottery. The directories showed Josiah Duffett at St Philip’s Pottery 2 in Avon Street until 1809 but this must have been a mistake as Felix Farley’s Journal advertised property in Barton Hill for sale in September 1804 which included ‘a messuage, garden and pottery also adjoining, let to Mt Josias Duffett, at the yearly rent of £28.0.0‘.

Josiah Duffett’s son, James Duffett I, had taken over the pottery by 1809 when he advertised for a journeyman brown-ware potter to work at his pottery at Barton Hill. In 1821 the premises were described in a Sun insurance policy as ‘house … in the tenure of James Duffett £300. House used as a Pottery two kilns therein adjoining the last above mentioned but not communicating therewith with a small stable communicating in the same tenure £450‘.

In 1828 James Duffett I expanded his business, taking over the brick works of his father-in-law, Joseph Gibbs, and he was described in directories as being a redware potter at Barton Hill and a brick and tile maker in St Philip’s Marsh.  Between 1830 and 1838 J. Duffett and Duffett & Co. were exporting earthenware to Waterford in Ireland.

The street directories recorded James Duffett I as working at Barton Hill until 1836 when the pottery was taken over by James Duffett II, who was probably his son.

By 1856 William Hutchings I had taken over the Barton Hill Pottery as the street directories for 1856 and 1857 recorded ‘Wm. Hutchings (late Duffett), red ware, garden and chimney pot manufacturer, Pipe Lane, Temple Back and Barton Hill‘. In 1861 William Hutchings was described as a potter, employing 20 men and 11 boys, although these employees would have been divided between his two potteries at Barton Hill and Pipe Lane.

In 1864 the directories recorded William Hutchings only at the Pipe Lane Pottery and by 1865 Alfred Niblett had taken over the Barton Hill Pottery.  In June 1869 the pottery was offered for sale and was described as ‘valuable freehold premises and building land, at Barton Hill … for sale by auction. Lot 1. A large dwelling-house, known as Queen Anne’s House, a pottery with dwelling house, and valuable parcel of building land adjoining the said premises, situated at Barton Hill, containing together by admeasurement 5A.0R.32P.  The house and land are at present in the occupation of Mr Enoch Goodrope … and the pottery is in the occupation of Mr Niblett … Lot 3. A piece of land, containing by admeasurement 2R.7P, divided by the road from Lot 1. This lot is in the occupation of Mr Niblett‘.

In 1871 Niblett was described as a master potter, employing 3 men and 4 boys.  However, the following year the pottery, described as ‘large and commodious premises, lately in the occupation of Mr Niblett‘, was advertised to let.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares, garden pots, chimney pots, bricks and tiles and, under Alfred Niblett, stonewares.

Barton Hill Pottery 2

Barton Hill, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietorship

c1872-1888 Alfred Niblett.
1887-1888 Stephen Hollister.

The pottery closed.

In 2014 the remains of a pottery were excavated at Barton Hill (see Will, J. (ed.) 2015. Archaeological review no.39, 2014. Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 133, 246).  It was suggested by the excavator that the pottery was built in about 1872 as an addition to the Barton Hill Pottery 1.  This is a possibility, but it could also have been built as a replacement for the Barton Hill Pottery 1, which was advertised to let in 1872 and was described as ‘lately in the occupation of Mr Niblett‘.

In any event, it is clear that Niblett continued to run a pottery at Barton Hill until at least 1886.

On 31 October 1888 Alfred Niblett of Barton Hill, a pottery manufacturer, was declared bankrupt.  In subsequent bankruptcy hearings it was stated that Niblett owned the pottery valued at £1000 but it had been mortgaged for £650.  The pottery was eventually advertised for auction in January 1889 when it was described as a ‘capital cottage in good repair with garden in front and contains sitting room, front and back kitchens, and three bedrooms. The pottery comprises substantially built double kiln, four strongly constructed warerooms, pottery, warehouse, mill room with two capital cellars underneath. In the large yard (to which there is a spacious hauling-way) are two carthouses with living rooms over, stable with loft above, good sized kitchen garden, wood cart shed, and other conveniences. Running under the substantially erected warerooms is a roomy covered hauling-way; there is also a well on the property‘.  The pottery was sold at auction for £750.

Between 1886 and 1888 a Stephen Hollister was recorded as running the Barton Hill Pottery and in April 1886 an advertisement stated: ‘S. Hollister, late Niblett, manufacturer of all descriptions of red and rustic ware. Barton Hill Pottery. Established 1750‘.  It is probable that Hollister was running the pottery on Niblett’s behalf due to his impending bankruptcy.

The Pottery closed in 1888 and Alfred Niblett moved to Welton near Midsomer Norton in Somerset, where he worked as a haulier.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares.

Excavation of the kiln and finds of waste pottery and kiln material

Mason, C. 2015. Archaeological excavation. Barton Hill Pottery and the post-medieval redware industry in Bristol. Bristol and Region Archaeological Services unpublished report no. 2858/2015.
The site of the pottery was excavated in 2014.  The pottery was entered from Barton Hill, to the north, through a covered way.  On the west side of this covered way was a three-roomed building aligned roughly north-south.  In the central room of this building was a kiln, 4.1 metres in diameter, with five fire-boxes evenly spaced around its circumference and projecting 0.9 metres from the structure.  These fire-boxes contained clinker and red earthenware wasters.  The form of the kiln suggests that it was a simple updraft bottle kiln constructed.  The room containing the kiln had a brick floor.  The room to the north of the kiln had a waterproof asphalt floor and a number of metal bolts in the floor, probably used to secure machinery.  To the south of the three-roomed building was a narrower building containing two rooms one pof which had an un-floored octagonal area, thought to be the location of a blunger for processing clay.
It seems that the only waste pottery from the period of use of this pottery came from the fire-boxes of the kiln.  Other waste red earthenware pottery came from the construction trenches of the pottery and must therefore pre-date its period of operation.
(HER no. 25286; BRSMG accession no. 2012/64).

Mason, C. 2017. Barton Hill Pottery and the post-medieval redware industry in Bristol. Journal of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology 51.1, 108-131.
This is a report on the archaeological excavation carried out in 2012. A description of the excavated pottery remains, with colour photographs, is followed by illustrations of 33 redware vessel forms including jugs, bowls, pancheons, salting pans, bread crocks, washing bowls, blanching pots, flowerpots, seed pans and chimney pots.

Bedminster Pottery

(also known as the Boot Lane Pottery)
Boot Lane, Bedminster parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1784-1790 Richard Room.
1790-1821 Peter Dean.
1821-1823 Margaret Dean.
1824-1848 Charles Cook.
1848-1851 Emma Cook I.

The Pottery closed.

It is not known when the pottery was established. Richard Room became a free potter in 1784 and took an apprentice in 1786, so it presumably started production between those dates.  A Day Book which recorded the income and expenditure for the pottery survives, covering the period from 29 September 1788 to 17 October 1789.  The Day Book does not give the owner’s name, but one of the employees was Samuel Sheppard, Richard Room’s apprentice.  (The Day Book has been published in full in Jackson, R. et al 1982, Bristol potters and potteries, 1600-1800.  Journal of Ceramic History 12, 213-226).

The Day Book showed that the main markets for the pottery produced were Bristol and north Somerset, with other shipments going to places on the River Severn transport corridor, as far away as Minehead, Chepstow and Tewkesbury.

Richard Room probably died in May 1790 and the Bedminster Pottery was certainly being run by Peter Dean by 1792. In 1817 he exported 2,300 pieces of earthenware to Dublin. Dean was recorded in the directories as a potter in Boot Lane until 1821 when it is assumed he died, the pottery being taken over by his wife, Margaret.

Margaret Dean died in 1823 and the pottery was then operated by Charles Cook. He exported earthenwares, including flower pots, to Waterford, Jersey and Jamaica.

Charles Cook died in March 1848 and the pottery was taken over by his daughter, Emma.  She was recorded in the directories as a potter in Boot Lane until 1851, when it is assumed that the pottery closed.  It was advertised for sale in September 1854 when it was described as ‘a valuable piece of freehold ground, situate in Boot Lane … with the buildings and erections thereon, formerly occupied as a pottery‘.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares, including flower pots, bread pans, milk pans, salting pans, sugar pots and basins.

Excavation of the kiln and finds of waste pottery and kiln material

Parry, A. 2004. Archaeological excavation of land at Squire’s Court, Bedminster Parade, Bedminster, Bristol.  Bristol and Region Archaeological Services unpublished report no. 957/2004.
The excavated area included part of the north side of Boot Lane and this contained the demolished substructure of the Boot Lane Pottery kiln.  The circular, slightly domed, base of the kiln was constructed from a single layer of brick 0.06 metres thick and 2.9 metres in diameter.  This structure rested upon a 0.25 metres thick bedding layer of fragmented stone, brick and buff coloured mortar.  The 0.8 metres thick outer kiln wall was built of randomly coursed pennant sandstone rubble and brick.  The inner lining of the wall, which formed the circular kiln chamber, was composed entirely of firebrick.  Three of the four vaulted fireboxes used to stoke the kiln were partly preserved. The fourth had been completely removed by a later structure. Each firebox was 0.35 metres wide and 0.42 metres in height.  A metal bar located at the entrance to one of the fireboxes presumably formed part of a grate.  The floor of the kiln, which would have supported kiln furniture and the pots intended for firing, was missing although a shelf in the kiln chamber level with the fireboxes indicated its former position.  Other walls found may have been part of the building surrounding the kiln.
The kiln was thought to have been a coal-fired updraught kiln, fairly typical of a light-industrial pottery of the period.
Red ware pottery that could constitute production waste from the pottery was found scattered across the site.  This material included many garden pots as well as internally lead-glazed hollow-wares and a few unglazed sugar moulds.  Some vessels were misshapen and on others the glaze had not fired correctly. The location of the stacking scars showed that the larger vessels were fired upside down.  A feature interpreted as probably the backfill of a clay pit produced a small but clearly defined group of production wasters. Aside from a small bowl and a jug, the sherds all appeared to come from deep steep-sided vessels with a hammerhead rim form. Some had two large external vertical handles.  They appeared to be three sizes with handles only evident on the larger ones. Ten vessels are illustrated in the report. The fabric of the pottery was fine, firing pale orange to red with a scatter of iron inclusions and occasional irregular fragments of ?limestone (up to 7mm) which were erupting and causing sections of the surface to flake off.  The glaze colour variation was likely to have more to do with irregular firing than specific glaze recipes.
(HER no. 21035; BRSMG accession no. CMAG 2002.0001).

Brislington Pottery

Brislington parish, Somerset.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1652-1659 John Bissicke, Robert Bennett I and Robert Collins.
1659-1668 Alice Bennett/Huntington (the widow of Robert Bennett I, she married Solomon Huntington). Robert Collins retained an interest in the Pottery until his death in 1689.
1669-1671 Robert Bennett II (the son of Robert Bennett I).
1671 Sarah Bennett I/Wastfield (the widow of Robert Bennett II, she married Robert Wastfield). She operated the Pottery alone until she married Robert Wastfield in 1672.
1672-1677 Sarah Bennett I/Wastfield (she operated the Pottery with Robert Wastfield until his death in 1677).
1677-1679 Sarah Bennett I/Wastfield (she operated the Pottery alone until her death in 1679).
1679-1690 Sarah Bennett II/Dickson (the daughter of Robert Bennett II and the step-daughter of Robert Wastfield, she married Thomas Dickson in 1685).
1690-1730 Thomas Dickson (the widower of Sarah Bennett II/Dickson).
1730-1733 Thomas Dickson and Thomas Taylor I were in partnership until Thomas Dickson’s death in 1733.
1733-1747 Thomas Taylor I (he became bankrupt in 1743, but took an apprentice in 1745 and was paying rates on the Pottery until 1746. The apprentice was transferred in 1747 so the Pottery must have ceased production around then).

The pottery closed and was advertised for sale in 1752.

For a detailed history of the Brislington Pottery and a discussion about its location, see the Dissertation section of this website.

Wares produced

Tin-glazed earthenwares.

Finds of waste pottery and kiln material

A number of finds of kiln waste have been made in the vicinity of the Brislington Pottery:
Pountney, W.J. 1920. Old Bristol potteries. Bristol: J.W. Arrowsmith Ltd, pages 23-27.
In 1914 Pountney excavated the site of the medieval chapel of St Anne and found large quantities of kiln waste and kiln furniture.  He also claimed to have found structural remains of the pottery but this now seems unlikely.
(HER no. 20221; BRSMG accession no. 78/1986).

Maxwell, H.W. 1939. Recent excavations in Bristol. Transactions of the English Ceramic Circle 2.7, 115-119.
In about 1937 Maxwell found waste pottery and kiln furniture during the construction of a reservoir at St Anne’s Board Mills, about half a mile to the north-east of the site of St Anne’s chapel. Two decorated sherds bore the dates 1652 and 1653.  Maxwell mentions in passing that the find spot was ‘evidently the site of a pottery, as some of the fragments were found in a recess in the brickwork of what appears to have been the foundations of a pottery oven’.  Unfortunately he did not elaborate on the structures discovered.
(HER no. 20216).

Louis Lipski, a pottery collector, found quantities of wasters on various sites in Bristol, including Brislington. He did not record the exact location of his discoveries and after his death the finds from the different sites became mixed together and therefore of little use in identifying the products of any individual pottery (information from David Dawson, former Curator of Archaeology, Bristol City Museum, where the finds are now housed).

Ponsford, M. & Jackson, R. (eds.) 1996. Post-medieval Britain and Ireland in 1995. Journal of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology 30, 245-320.
In 1995 Oliver Kent found waste material in two areas:
NGR ST 62327292: Redevelopment work uncovered a quantity of biscuit ware and kiln furniture.  Forms included distinctive chargers with wide rims, mugs, bowls and drug-jars apparently dating from the second half of the 17th century.
(HER no. 20217).
NGR ST 62217277: A deposit of kiln waste was found on the east slope of the valley of the Brislington Brook. This appeared to date to the second half of the 17th century.
(HER no. 20215).

See the Dissertation section of this website for a full report on the waste pottery and kiln furniture found during the excavation of a garden pond at 30 Wootton Road in 1975 (NGR ST 62327283).  In summary, the dump of material covered at least 6 square metres and was up to 20 centimetres thick.  The types of wares recovered included plates, dishes, bowls, bowls with lobed handles, cups, mugs, albarello-type containers, storage vessels, jugs, a flower vase and salts. Kiln furniture consisted of saggars, girders and trivets. One hundred and ten sherds are illustrated. It is argued that the group may be dated to the last quarter of the 17th century.

It has been suggested by Oliver Kent that most of the tin-glazed waste found in Brislington is re-deposited (Medieval Pottery Research Group Newsletter 18, September 2016, pages 2-3).  My own research also indicates that this is the case.  Kent goes on to suggest that the presence of Agate ware and red earthenwares show that production continued at this site into the 18th century.

Bristol Victoria Pottery

(also known as the Victoria Pottery)
Feeder Road, St Philip’s Marsh, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1867-1872 The Bristol Victoria Pottery Company Limited.
1873-1878 Halsted Sayer Cobden, trading as Pountney & Company.
1878-1883 Patrick Johnston and Mr Rogers, trading as Pountney & Company.
1883-1884 Patrick Johnston, trading as Pountney & Company.
1884-1905 Thomas Bertram Johnston, trading as Pountney & Company.

The pottery closed in 1905 when Pountney and Company moved their production to a new factory at Fishponds.

In about 1864 a prospectus was published for the sale of share capital in the Bristol Victoria Pottery Company Limited.  The directors of the new company were a number of prominent Bristol citizens and the managing director was John Ellis II, the proprietor of the Redcross Street Pottery.  The company had been formed for the purpose of ‘purchasing from Mr John Ellis, the new erections, buildings and works now nearly completed, in St Philip’s Marsh … called the Victoria Pottery and of carrying on there the business of a pottery in all its branches‘.

Problems were encountered in completing the construction of the pottery on St Philip’s Marsh and in March 1866 it was reported that the ‘directors had taken the business, with stock and plant, of Mr J. Ellis, at Redcross Street, on terms they consider satisfactory, and the business of the company was commenced there on 8 December 1865.  The pottery is in full operation and the business of the company will continue to be carried on there until the premises at St Philip’s Marsh are completed.  The works at St Philip’s Marsh are progressing most satisfactorily, and it is expected that the mill and engine house will be completed by May next …‘.  In August 1866 it was reported that ‘a hope was expressed [in March] that the mill and engine-house would be completed in May, which expression has been fully realised as far as the building and machinery for the mill house are concerned; but the directors regret that a portion only of the steam engine has yet been delivered at the company’s works …‘.

In August 1867 it was again reported that ‘the building and machinery were still incomplete, and had consequently been only partially employed‘.  Despite the company paying a dividend to their shareholders at a rate of 6% in 1868 John Ellis, the managing director, remarked ‘they had not yet got more than half their works employed’. A serious fire destroyed the interior of the printing room and its roof in August 1869 and in the same month it was noted that John Ellis had left the company ‘in consequences of differences between him and his co-directors‘.  Ellis went back to running his Redcross Street Pottery leaving the Bristol Victoria Pottery still in only limited production.

Troubles at the pottery continued and in January 1870 a part of the premises known as the saggar house was almost entirely destroyed by fire.  In August 1870 the directors had to report that they ‘are compelled to express their disappointment that their anxious efforts have not been more successful, and that an actual loss has accrued on the trade of the year.  They believe this may be attributed to the alterations in the manufacture consequences on changes in the management.  The repairs and additions for the year have been very heavy.  Very heavy repairs have been necessary by the sinking of the foundations in the boiler and engine house, causing great damage to the engine and machinery.  New foundations have just been constructed under the boilers, which have been raised in such a manner that the directors hope this cause of evil will be arrested.  Raising the boundary wall for security of the premises, building a new hardening kiln, and some minor additions, are properly chargeable to capital if any were available … and, as additional capital must be provided, they propose to issue 141 of the unissued shares to the proprietors at £10 each …‘.

Further misfortune followed when in September 1870 another fire broke out in the saggar and printing rooms destroying a large amount of property, so it probably came as little surprise that in May 1872 the Bristol Victoria Pottery Company Limited was declared bankrupt and the pottery and its stock in trade were advertised for sale:
In Chancery. In the matter of the Companies Acts 1865 and 1867. In the matter of the Bristol Victoria Pottery Company (Limited). To be sold by private contract, all that very valuable pottery works and premises, called or known as the Bristol Victoria Pottery Company, situate in St Philip’s Marsh … together with the stock-in-trade, machinery and fixtures belonging thereto. The works, which are freehold, are situated immediately opposite the Feeder, having a water frontage of over 200 feet, and cover an area of about two acres.  They are built in a most substantial manner, and the offices and rooms are exceedingly commodious and well designed. The stock-in-trade consists of printed, sponged and cream coloured earthenwares. The machinery consists of horizontal steam engine, with cylinder 27 inch diameter, stroke 4 feet 6 inches; two Cornish boilers, 20 feet long, 7 feet diameter, with domes, furnace doors, and frames, double safety valve, etc; throwing wheels, turning lathes, squeezing press and dies, jiggers and benches, stoves and piping, three jollys, steam lathe, crab winch, flint and stone mills, two patent clay presses, with all necessary fittings, etc.; and there are capital kilns on the property. The works are in the fullest and most complete working order, and afford an opportunity rarely to be met with. They have, besides, an extra advantage in adaptation to uses of other business where space is of importance’.

The pottery was again advertised for sale in July 1872 and in August 1872 the stock in trade was advertised for sale separately:
In Chancery, in the Matter of the Bristol Victoria Pottery Company Limited … to sell by public auction on Monday the 4 day of November 1872 and following days, the whole of the stock-in-trade now lying in the warehouses of the pottery … consisting of pheasant soup tureens, vegetable dishes, gravy dishes, salad bowls, plates, dishes, and bakers; willow soup tureens, sauce tureens, gravy dishes, vegetable dishes, dishes and bakers, mocha and printed measure jugs, cream coloured dishes and bakers, cane jugs and spittoons, white and cream coloured jugs, brown top mugs and jugs, printed wash bowls, ewers, chambers, brush trays, soaps and sponge trays, of various patterns; printed soup tureens, sauce tureens, vegetable dishes, butter boats, dishes, bakers, gravy dishes and plates of various patterns; toy cans and jugs, dipped, sponged and printed jugs; cream coloured stool pans and bed pans, printed and sponged tea and breakfast cups, milk pans, printed bowls and mugs, sponged and cream coloured wash bowls‘.

In 1873 the pottery was purchased by Halsted Sayer Cobden who already owned the Water Lane Pottery where he traded as Pountney & Company.  In August 1873 it was reported that ‘the workpeople employed at the Bristol Pottery and Bristol Victoria Pottery, numbering upwards of 300, had an excursion to Burnham … Mr Cobden by whom both potteries are now carried on, was present throughout the day, and, engaging with his employees in their amusements, added much to their pleasure‘.

In 1878 Pountney & Company was taken over by two London solicitors, Patrick Johnston and a Mr Rogers.  Rogers retired in 1883 and Johnston died in July 1884, when the business was acquired by Patrick Johnston’s nephew, Thomas Bertram Johnston, who closed the Water Lane Pottery in 1885, concentrating production at the Bristol Victoria Pottery.

On the morning of 13 April 1900 a fire occurred in the machine-room at the Bristol Pottery.  The machine-room and its contents, and also a staircase, were severely damaged but the cause of the outbreak was not known (Western Daily Press, 14 Apr 1900).

Pountney & Company moved to the newly built pottery at Fishponds in 1905 and the Bristol Victoria Pottery closed.

On 9 June 1906 the Bristol Victoria Pottery was advertised for sale by auction and was described as:
‘Lot 1. A valuable freehold property comprising warehouses and offices, with kilns erected thereon, situate at Feeder Road … to which it has a long and valuable frontage, at present forming part of the property recently occupied by the Victoria Pottery Company, and containing 2,878 square yards.
Lot 2. A valuable property adjoining, situate on the south side, and adjoining the last Lot, comprising sheds and buildings erected thereon, having a frontage of 117 feet to Glass House Lane, and containing 2,242 square yards.
Lot 3. The desirable site adjoining Lot 2, also forming part of the before-mentioned property, having a frontage to Glass House Lane and York Street, and containing 2,245 square yards.
Lot 4. The long warehouse, situate immediately opposite Lots 2 and 3, adjoining Glass House Lane, and containing 654 square yards.
Lot 5. Fourteen cottages [in Atlas Road and Atlas Terrace], situate adjoining the last Lot, in the occupation of various tenants.
Lot 6. Two dwelling-houses, situate almost adjoining Lot 5.
Lot 7. The warehouses and sheds, with cottage, situate adjoining Lot 6, having frontages both to Feeder Road and Glass House Lane, containing an area of 775 square yards’ (Western Daily Press).
On the 23 June 1906 it was reported that the cottages and sheds did not sell and that the Victoria Pottery was withdrawn at £8,000 (Western Daily Press).

On 30 January 1909 Pountney and Company offered nos, 9 to 25 Atlas Street, St Philip’s Marsh for sale (Western Daily Press) and on 14 July 1915 the whole of the pottery site and the associated dwellings were again advertised for sale by auction (Western Daily Press).

On 26 December 1905 the Western Daily Press published the following description of a celebration held to commemorate the opening of the Fishponds factory:
‘To celebrate the opening of the fine new works, the directors of the company had the pleasure of entertaining their employees to a tea and concert on Friday evening in the Vestry Hall, Pennywell Road.  There were upwards of 400 people present, and they were treated to a substantial repast.  During the evening souvenir boxes of chocolates were presented to each of the ladies, whilst the gentlemen regaled themselves with cigars and cigarettes at the invitation of the directors.  After full justice had been done to the good things provided, the tables were quickly cleared and rearranged for the musical part of the entertainment.  Mr T. Bertram Johnston (managing director) opened the proceedings with a few well-chosen remarks and called upon Mr W.H. Bell (director) to address the employees.  In the course of his speech he remarked that three things were necessary in a big undertaking such as the Bristol Pottery.  For instance, capital, brains, and labour.  Well, they had capital, and certainly brains, and it behoved the workpeople to do their utmost in the matter of workmanship and economy in production.  Then there would be no reason why the undertaking should not attain the highest success and become one of the first-rank concerns in the pottery industry.  All the items on the programme were admirably rendered, and several encores were demanded.  The second part of the programme was the signal for much excitement and enthusiasm, this being the occasion of the presentation of illuminated addresses to Messrs T.B. Johnston and Chas. Burn (joint managing directors) who have been associated together in the business for upwards of 20 years.  Mr G.F. Golding, the senior representative of the firm, made an admirable speech, in which he particularly drew attention to the kindness and forbearance that could always be expected from Messrs Johnston and Burn, and in mentioning the fact that their new pottery was one of the finest – if not the finest – in the world, he sincerely hoped and believed that if the employees would continue to work hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder, the name of Pountney and Co. would be known all over the world as manufacturers of the highest class of pottery (Applause).  Mr Golding then introduced Messrs H. Bullock and T. Blake (two old employees) to make the presentation on behalf of the workpeople, which duty they carried out in a satisfactory manner.  The addresses were most tastefully designed and executed by Mr W. Moore-Binns in the Adams style, with a characteristic old Bristol design introduced, and were worded as follow:

“To T.B. Johnston, Esq., and to Charles Burn, Esq., upon the occasion of the opening of the new pottery, Fishponds, Bristol, 1905: Dear Sir, We, the undersigned members of the staff as representing the whole body of the employees of Messrs Pountney and Co. Ltd., desire to take this opportunity of offering our respectful congratulations upon the gratifying progress of the business during the last few years, under the able management of yourself and your co-director, Mr Charles Burn or Mr Johnston.  We feel also that so important an epoch in the history of the Bristol Pottery as the opening of the new factory at Fishponds should not be allowed to pass without an expression on our part of the most hearty appreciation of the energy which has resulted in so great an undertaking.  We earnestly trust that the success which has attended your efforts in the past may be greatly supplemented in years to come, and we desire to assure you of our loyal co-operation in our respective departments, believing that you will see in the added prosperity of the business an adequate return for the anxious care and labour which you have bestowed upon it”.

In acknowledging the handsome presents, both Messrs T. B. Johnston and Charles Burn – who were received with loud cheers and musical honours – expressed in suitable terms their appreciation of the artistic and beautifully executed addresses, assuring the employees that they would always be cherished by them.

A vote of thanks to the principals for their kindness in providing such a splendid repast and pleasant evening’s amusement, was proposed by Mr J. Marks, which proposition was most ably seconded by Mr W. Flook.  Another vote of thanks to the committee for the trouble they had taken in arranging such an excellent programme was responded to by Messrs A.L. Adams and G.A.C. Thynne, who remarked that if the entertainment had given satisfaction, they felt amply repaid for what they had done.  The animated photographs by Mr Bromhead, of Clifton, gave immense satisfaction, and in no small measure contributed to the enjoyment of the evening.  The whole proceedings were under the presidency of Mr T. Bertram Johnston, who, bye-the-bye, is the Unionist candidate for Bristol East at the forthcoming general election, and he was ably supported by his co-director Mr Charles Burn.  Among the numerous guests were Mrs Bell, Mrs Burn, the Misses Burn, Mr and Mrs H. Green, Mrs Adams, Mrs Golding, Miss Harley and Messrs W. Moore-Binns, J.H. Watling and G. Pike.  The proceedings came to a close with the singing of Auld Lang Syne and the National Anthem, and the pleasant evening will undoubtedly by long remembered by those present’.

Wares produced

General earthenwares, including transfer-printed, hand-painted and sponged wares.