Barton Hill Pottery 2

Posted on: January 30th, 2017 by webfooted

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.

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