Bristol Potters and Potteries

Research by Reg Jackson

Bristol Potteries

Research by Reg Jackson

[back to Potteries]

Redcliff Street Pottery 2

Redcliff Street, St Mary Redcliffe parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1733-c1756 Joseph Taylor I was taking apprentices and noted as a gallypotmaker in Redcliff Street.

The pottery closed.

Joseph Taylor I became a free gallypotmaker in March 1722 and was taking apprentices to the trade between 1733 and 1756.

He was variously described as a gallypotmaker, a mugmaker and a potter living in St Mary Redcliffe parish and more specifically in Redcliff Street.  He was paying rates on at least two properties in Redcliff Street, one of which was described as a ‘shop over ye way’ and another as a warehouse.  The warehouse was ‘void’ in September 1756 and he last paid rates on another property in Redcliff Street in September 1759 suggesting he was either dead or had moved away after that date.

The fact that he was taking apprentices and was paying rates on a shop and warehouse strongly suggests that he was operating a pottery in Redcliff Street.

Wares produced

Probably tin-glazed earthenwares, although the reference to him being a ‘mugmaker’ indicates he may also have been producing stonewares.

Redcliff Street Pottery 3

56 Redcliff Street, St Mary Redcliffe parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1836-1841 John Milsom.

The pottery closed.

John Milsom ran the 124 Temple Street Pottery until 1835 when he moved his business to the Redcliff Street Pottery 3.  From 1836 to 1840 he is listed in the directories as a stoneware and patent water pipe manufacturer at 56 Redcliff Street.  He was probably the John Milsom who was buried at Temple church in July 1841 as he was not mentioned in the directories after 1840.  There is no further reference to this pottery so it is assumed that it closed.

Wares produced

Stonewares, including patent water pipes.

Redcross Street Pottery

Rich’s Buildings, Redcross Street, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1823-1829 Possibly Joseph White I.
1829-1839 Joseph White II and James White I, trading as J. & J. White, possibly in partnership with Joseph White I.
1840 White & Doubting.
1840-1850 William White.
1852 The pottery was vacant.
1853-1855 John Ellis II.
1856 only John Ellis II and probably James George Hawley, trading as Ellis, Hawley & Company.
1857-1865 John Ellis II.
1865-1866 Bristol Victoria Pottery Company Limited.
1869-1871 John Ellis II.

The pottery closed and John Ellis II moved to the Crown Pottery at St George.

It is not known when this pottery was established.  It seems to have been started by Joseph White I in about 1823 when he was recorded as paying rates on a pottery at 13 Rich’s Buildings, Redcross Street.  However the directories listed him as a tobacco pipe manufacturer with, from 1829 to 1845, china and glass warehouses at Rich’s Buildings, and it is possible that although Joseph White I owned the pottery, it was his son, also called Joseph, who was operating the pottery, perhaps even from as early as 1823.

Certainly from 1829 to 1839 the directories showed that the Redcross Street Pottery was being run by Joseph White II and James White I, trading as J. & J. White.  It is possible they were both Joseph White I’s sons, although we have no details of the birth of James White I. They were producing yellow wares and, later, black ware tea-pots.  It seems likely that Joseph White I retained a financial interest in the pottery as his will of May 1854 recorded that he still owned the ‘plant, utensils and implements used in the trade of potter which shall by in or upon the pottery in Redcross Street’.  The Port Books recorded the White family exporting earthenware to Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Jersey, Guernsey, Jamaica and Barbados from 1830 to 1838.

The directory for 1840 showed the Redcross Street Pottery as being run by White and Doubting, although the identity of Doubting is not known.

In 1840 Joseph White II and James White I started the Baptist Mills Pottery and the Redcross Street Pottery was being operated by William White, who was also a son of Joseph White I.  From 1841 to 1850 William White was described as a black and Rockingham tea-pot manufacturer and later as a stone jug, fire-clay chimneypot and tobacco pipe manufacturer.

In 1851 William White was living in New Jersey in America when his daughter Emma was born, so he had obviously given up the business by then.  In March 1851 the pottery was advertised to let ‘with immediate possession’ and was described as ‘that old established pottery, Redcross Street, carried on successfully for upwards of thirty years by Messrs Joseph White & Sons, the kilns and all the working utensils being in good condition; with dwelling house and good stabling on the premises; warehouses and workshops, plentiful supply of water, a mill, and every convenience … up to the present time there has been a good wholesale and retail Staffordshire ware and glass trade successfully carried on’.  Another advertisement in May 1851 is worded similarly although it mentions a horse mill and states that application should be made to ‘Joseph White, senior, Prospect Place, Baptist Mills’.  This again shows that Joseph White I still retained a financial interest in the pottery.

The pottery was noted as ‘void’ in a rate book of 1852 but by 1853 it had been taken over by John Ellis II. The directories listed John Ellis II at the Redcross Street Pottery from 1853 and stated that he was an Egyptian black and Rockingham tea-pot, stone jug and ware manufacturer.  In January 1857 the following advertisement appeared in the Bristol Mercury: ‘The best and cheapest house in Bristol for china, glass and earthenware, is Ellis & Company’s, manufacturers of stone and earthen ware, Redcross Street Pottery.  Wholesale and retail dealers in British and foreign china and glass.  Export orders promptly attended to.  Offices and ware rooms, 14 Bath Street’.

In 1856 there was a reference to a firm known as Ellis, Hawley and Company working in Redcross Street.  This indicates a partnership, though perhaps a brief one, between John Ellis II and James George Hawley in the Redcross Street Pottery.

In 1861 John Ellis was described as an earthenware manufacturer, employing 33 hands.

It is possible that John Ellis II was in partnership with Joseph Ellis, the latter apparently having paid rates on the pottery between 1853 and 1863.  However, as Joseph Ellis probably died in 1854 it is most likely that ‘Joseph’ may have been a mistake for ‘John’ in the rate books.

The pottery was advertised for sale in July 1863: ‘To potters. To be disposed of, with immediate possession, in full work, Redcross Street Pottery … Principals only treated with. Capital required, about £1,500 to £2,000. Satisfactory reasons will be given for the present occupier wishing to decline the business’.  John Ellis II established the Bristol Victoria Pottery Company Limited between 1864 and 1865 and constructed a new pottery at St Philip’s Marsh.  Despite this the Redcross Street Pottery was operated briefly in 1865 by the Bristol Victoria Pottery Company, the business being transferred to their new premises by the end of 1866.  When Ellis left the Bristol Victoria Pottery Company in 1869 he apparently resurrected the Redcross Street Pottery as it still seems to have been still operating when John Ellis II opened the Crown Pottery in December 1870.

However it then closed and was finally advertised for sale in April 1871: ‘To builders, manufacturers & others, about 8500 superficial feet of freehold land, Redcross Street … for sale by auction, the 8 day of May 1871. The following very valuable freehold property: All that messuage or dwelling-house, office, warehouses, kilns, furnaces, and other erections and buildings, and the two large cellars under part thereof, situate in Asher Lane, Redcross Street and until recently used as a pottery, and known as the Redcross Street Pottery.  The pottery contains in length, from Asher Lane to the River Froom, by which it is bounded to the northwest side, 170 feet or thereabouts, and has an average width throughout of 50 feet or thereabouts. The arching of the River Froom will give it a double frontage.  It forms a most eligible site for building either a manufactory, warehouse, or cottages, which latter are in great request in the neighbourhood, and always let well.  The bricks and stones at present in the kilns and other buildings are, it is considered, sufficient for the rough stone and brick work for the number of cottages which could be erected on the ground’.

The pottery was eventually demolished.

Wares produced

Earthenwares, yellow wares, black tea pots, Rockingham tea pots, chimney pots and stonewares, including stone jugs.

St Philip’s Pottery 1

Back Lane/Avon Street, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1740-1768 Paul Townsend.
By 1760 he claimed to be incapable of carrying on his trade and from then the pottery may have been run by his son, John Townsend.

The pottery closed.

Paul Townsend became a free gallypotmaker in July 1731 and in 1734 he established and built his ‘mugg-kiln’ in Tucker Street.  The Common Council of Bristol forced him to close that pottery down in December 1738 and he received £50 in compensation.

With that he set up the St Philip’s Pottery 1 in about 1740, its location being given in the rate books as Back Lane, Unity Street and Jacob Street, all being in the Avon Street area.  The property was described as ‘void’ in the poor rate book of September to March 1740 but it was occupied from March 1740 onwards.  Townsend was described as a potter when he took three apprentices between 1741 and 1753, but as a gallypotmaker in the poll books of 1739 and 1754.

In 1760 Townsend petitioned the Mayor and Common Council of Bristol for the post of Exchange Keeper as he was ‘a stone potter, a free burgess of near 60 years of age, now rendered incapable of getting a sufficient competency in his trade’.  However, he was not elected to the post.

Paul Townsend continued paying rates on the pottery until March 1762, after which date the rates were paid by his son, John Townsend, also a potter, and it seems likely that John was then running the pottery.

In August 1768 the St Philip’s Pottery 1 was advertised to be let or sold and was described as ‘a commodious pot-house situate in Avon Street, St Philip and Jacob.  Lately in the occupation of Paul and John Townsend, who erected a new kiln built of Stourbridge bricks, also a large workhouse and other convenient buildings at a considerable expense … N.B. – a purchaser will be preferred, to whom the working materials and utensils (which are almost new) will be sold very reasonably’.

There is no record of the pottery operating after 1768.

Wares produced

Probably tin-glazed earthenwares initially as Townsend was described as a gallypotmaker in 1739 and 1754, although Paul Townsend described himself as a ‘stone potter’ in 1760, suggesting he was producing stonewares.

St Philip’s Pottery 2

St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1749 Edward Rumley.
There is no direct link between Edward Rumley and Joseph Hill.
c1770-1772 Joseph Hill.
1772-1774 Henderson, Rice & Keenes (also trading as T. Keene & Company).
c1780-1804 Josiah Duffett.

The pottery probably closed, Josiah Duffett having moving to the Barton Hill Pottery in 1804.

Edward Rumley was recorded as a potter of St Philip’s parish from 1742 and it is probable that he was the ‘Rumney’, the owner or occupier of a pothouse, who in May 1749 was accused of creating a nuisance and encroaching on the River Avon ‘above the Bridge’ [presumably Bristol Bridge] by depositing ‘a large quantity of potsherds … on the banks of the said river near the glasshouse’.   Edward Rumley wrote his will in March 1759 where he was described as a potter and, although the will mentions his three houses, two of which were in Avon Street, there is no reference to a pottery.

It is not known what happened to this pottery after 1749 but it is possible that it is the same property that was being run by Joseph Hill in April 1770 when he advertised that he ‘takes this method of acquainting his friends and the public that at his pottery in St Phillip’s, Bristol, is made every sort of sugar moulds and garden pots, where merchants and others may be supplie’d on the shortest notice and reasonable terms.  He likewise makes all sorts of chimney moulds for ornament and preventing smoky chimneys’.

He advertised again in August 1771: ‘Joseph Hill takes this method to acquaint the public in general and noblemen and gentlemen who inhabit this and the neighbouring counties in particular, that at his Pottery in St Philip’s, are made his new-invented moulds for the preventing of smoaky chimnies, which very seldom fail, as numbers in and about this city can testify.  Nor is that their only use, for they entirely prevent rain, hail or snow from falling down the chimney. He therefore apprehends no one would chuse to be without them, (even if their chimnies do not smoke) to prevent so great an inconvenience. They are three feet high and made to fit any chimney, of very little weight, and will resist the most violent gust of wind. – Plain sold at 4s, pined 7s.6d and cannister and hooded at 12s a-piece.  Any person may have them at the shortest notice, by sending the size of the chimney’.

Hill offered the pottery for sale in September 1772 when it was described as ‘a large and commodious well built pottery, with a large yard and sheds, landing stank, and every other conveniency, situate on the bank of the river … now let to Messrs Henderson, Rice and Keenes’.    The identity of the individual partners in the firm of Henderson, Rice and Keenes are not known.  However, they were presumably the Thomas Keene and Company who were exporting earthenware to Dublin, Philadelphia and Corunna in 1773.

In 1774 the premises were described as ‘a pottery and building for the purpose of making and manufacturing sugar moulds and pots and other articles with a burning kiln and sheds’.

Joseph Hill had died by November 1775, having previously been declared bankrupt, when his estate was offered for sale, which presumably included the pottery let to Henderson, Rice and Keene, and as there are no further references to that partnership it is assumed that they went out of business.

It was probably this pottery that was taken over by Josiah Duffett in about 1780.  Duffett had obtained his freedom as a potter in October 1780 and was described as a potter of Avon Street from 1780 to 1804.

In September 1804 he was noted as renting the Barton Hill Pottery.  Although the directories recorded him as a potter in Avon Street until 1809, it seems most likely that he closed the St Philip’s Pottery 2 in 1804 when he moved to Barton Hill.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares, including sugar moulds, garden pots and chimney pots.

St Philip’s Pottery 3

Bread Street/Avon Street, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1760-1776 William Maynard I.
c1777-1797 William Maynard II.
1797-1810 Roger Yabbicom and Henry Yabbicom I, trading as Roger Yabbicom & Son.
1810-1842 Henry Yabbicom I.

Between 1812 and 1842 there may have been two potteries operating on the site, one run by Henry Yabbicom I and the other by his sons Henry Yabbicom II, Thomas Bawn Yabbicom and Edward Yabbicom as the directories also listed:
1812-1836  H & T Yabbicom.
1837-1842  H & E Yabbicom.

1847-1866 William Henry Pardoe.
1861 Henry and Charles Pardoe.
1863 Charles and George Pardoe, trading as C & G Pardoe.
1875 James Gibbs took over the premises but he does not seem to have been a potter.

It is not known when William Maynard I established the St Philip’s Pottery 3, although he was certainly taking apprentices from 1760.  Various addresses for Maynard were given in the apprenticeship records – Old Market, Three Crown Lane, Back Lane – but later 18th-century documents certainly show him as working in Bread Street.

It is assumed that William Maynard I had left the pottery by 1776 and it was taken over by William Maynard II who had gained his freedom as a potter in August 1777 and immediately started taking apprentices.  The relationship between William Maynard I and II is not known.  They were not father and son, but may have been cousins.  The apprenticeship records gave William Maynard II’s address as St Philip’s Plain or Bread Street but the directories listed him as a brown stone and redware potter and a chimney mould maker at Bread Street from 1787 to 1797.  He then moved to the Counterslip Pottery which had been operated by Joseph Gadd and Company.

It seems most likely that Roger Yabbicom and his son, Henry Yabbicom II, previously of the Westbury-on-Trym Pottery, took over the St Philip’s Pottery 3 as the directories recorded the firm of Yabbicom and Son working as sugar, chimney and garden pot manufactures in Avon Street or Cheese Lane from 1797 to 1809.  The pottery was insured for £600 in 1807 when it was described simply as ‘workshops and sheds communicating’.  They also acquired the Temple Back Pottery 2 in 1806.

Roger Yabbicom died in March 1810 and both potteries were then run by Henry Yabbicom I who was described as a sugar, chimney and garden pot manufacturer.  In 1815 Yabbicom rented a field called Four Acres on the Cote Estate adjoining Durdam Down for a period of seven years.  It measured 91 yards by 28 yards and Yabbicom was allowed to dig and carry away clay from the land provided that ‘Mr Yabbicom engages from time to time to fill up the places from which clay is dug, and to cover them on top with the mould which has been previously removed … in consideration of his being allowed to leave at the expiration of his term one place or pit not filled up but which shall not be larger than sufficient to hold twenty cart loads of rubbish … He further agrees to pay for the said piece of land so marked out, twenty pounds p. annum …’.  This lease was renewed in February 1818 in respect of a property called Gregorys Leaze.

From 1812 Henry Yabbicom I’s sons, Henry Yabbicom II and Thomas Bawn Yabbicom, were also operating a pottery in Avon Street, manufacturing stone ware.  It seems likely that the two potteries shared the same premises and they are both referred to here under St Philip’s Pottery 3.  The sons are listed separately in the directories, trading as H. & T. Yabbicom manufacturing crucibles, brown stone ware and improved water pipes, pantiles and fire bricks in Avon Street.  From 1832 to 1842 they were trading as H. & E. Yabbicom, presumably the brothers Henry Yabbicom II and Edward Yabbicom.

From 1810 to 1842 H. & T. Yabbicom, Yabbicom & Co., and H. Yabbicom were exporting stoneware, including stone bottles and sugar moulds, to Waterford, Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Guernsey, Jersey and Bordeaux.

In March 1824 the pottery was advertised for sale and was described as ‘a wharf and pottery in Avon Street, St Philip’s, late in the occupation of Messrs. Yabbicom & Sons, stone ware potters, having a frontage and wharfage of 80 feet, and measuring in depth 167 feet or thereabouts’.  Despite the suggestion that Yabbicom and Sons had vacated the premises it was again advertised in April 1844 when it was described as ‘a spacious pottery situate in Avon Street … opposite the works of the Bristol Gas Light Co., having a frontage against the Floating Harbour of 80 feet’.

By 1844 Henry Yabbicom I appears to have retired and his son, Henry Yabbicom II, had left the St Philip’s Pottery 3 and was carrying on the business at the Temple Back Pottery 2.

By 1847 the St Philip’s Pottery 3 had been taken over by William Henry Pardoe who was listed in the directories as a potter and tobacco pipe maker in Avon Street.  From 1849 he was simply described as a tobacco pipe manufacturer although in 1858 he was a ‘vitrified stone ware potter, tobacco pipe, garden pot & red ware manufacturer [at] Nantgarw, near Cardiff … and at Avon Street, St Philip’s, Bristol’.

He was recorded in the Cardiff Directory of 1858 as ‘William Henry Pardoe, vitrified stone ware potter, tobacco pipe, garden pot & red ware manufacturer, Nantgarw, near Cardiff, Glamorganshire; and at Avon Street, St Philip’s, Bristol.  Jars for spirits, porter, ale, ginger beer, and other bottles, warranted not to absorb and withstand acids.  Gentlemen supplied with every description of garden pots, cheaper and better burners than any others in the West of England.  Superior fire-clay mixed for use.  Post-orders punctually attended to’.

In 1859 Pardoe advertised for ‘Potters, etc. Wanted, a thrower and turner; also from ten to twenty hands, at tobacco pipe making. Constant work at usual wages; but parties not connected with the union preferred. Apply at the works, St Philip’s, Bristol; or at Nantgarw Pottery, near Cardiff. Wm Henry Pardoe, proprietor’.

The directories for 1860 to 1866 listed William Henry Pardoe as a tobacco pipe and brown ware garden pot manufacturer in Avon Street, although the directory for 1861 also recorded the pottery as being run by his sons, Henry and Charles Pardoe, and that for 1863 showed it run by his sons, Charles and George Pardoe.

William Henry Pardoe died in 1867 and there are no further reference to the pottery in the directories.  In September 1875 a James Gibbs was noted as the tenant of ‘all that pottery erected and built by the said Thomas Hooper Riddle … and formerly in the occupation of Messrs Yabbicom … and [in 1848] in the occupation of William Henry Pardoe’.  There are no references to James Gibbs as a potter and he may have been carrying on some other trade on the premises.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares, including sugar moulds, chimney pots and garden pots and, under the Pardoes, clay tobacco pipes.
H & T Yabbicom and H & E Yabbicom made stonewares.

St Philip’s Pottery 4

Avon Street, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

pre-1772 Alexander Edgar.
1772-1795 Earl Pearce I.
1795-1814 Elizabeth Pearce.
[1797-98] Pearce & Quarman (probably a partnership between Elizabeth Pearce and Samuel Quarman).
1815-c1818 Colston Pearce.
[1816] Thomas Pearce I (he was probably in partnership with his brother, Colston Pearce).
1823-1827 George Cox.
1830 Edward Melsom & Company.
1831-1836 Edward Melsom and Francis Melsom I.

The pottery closed when Edward and Francis Melsom moved to the 124 Temple Street Pottery.

It is known that the pottery was in existence before September 1772 when it was advertised for sale as ‘All that pothouse, yard and buildings, situate in Avon Street … now lett to Alexander Edgar, Esq., for a term of twenty-one years, about sixteen years whereof is not to come …’.  This suggests that the pottery was let to Edgar in about 1767 although nothing else is known about Alexander Edgar.

It is known that Earl Pearce I succeeded Edgar at the pottery, having taken his freedom in 1772 and his first apprentice in the same year.  He was variously described as a potter of Bread Street and Old Market between 1773 and 1795 although an advertisement dated September 1782 places Pearce’s pottery ‘on the bank of the River Avon, in the parish of St Philip & Jacob’.

Earl Pearce I died in June 1795 and the pottery was taken over by his widow, Elizabeth, who was listed in the directories as a potter of Avon Street or Bread Street between 1797 and 1814.  Between 1797 and 1798 she seems to have been in partnership with Samuel Quarman, the firm trading as Pearce and Quarman.

In 1815 the pottery passed to her son, Colston Pearce, who was listed in the directories as a potter of Avon Street from 1815 to 1818.  It seems likely that he was in partnership with his brother, Thomas Pearce I, for some of this time as a Thomas Pearce was noted as a brown stone potter in Avon Street in 1816.

It is not known when Colston Pearce gave up running the pottery, although it is known that he continued to own a share of it, given under his father’s will, until he lost it as a result of an action brought against him in 1839 by his married sister, Hannah Wildgoose.

By 1823 the pottery had most probably been taken over by George Cox who was listed in the directories as a stoneware potter in Avon Street from 1823 until 1827.

From 1827 the pottery was being run by Edward Melsom and Francis Melsom I, who were probably brothers.  They were listed in the street directories as stoneware potters in Avon Street from 1830 until 1836.  However in an assessment carried out in 1833 Edward Melsom’s ‘dwelling house and kilns’ in Avon Street and Cheese Lane were recorded as ‘void’, suggesting that the pottery had closed by then.

Certainly it is known that Edward and Francis Melsom took over the 124 Temple Street Pottery in 1836 and the St Philip’s Pottery 4 must have ceased production and closed in 1836 at the latest.

Wares produced

From 1823 they were producing stone wares, including patent water pipes.

St Philip’s Pottery 5

Bread Street/Avon Street, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1801-1824 Samuel Sheppard.
1824-1828 Mary Sheppard.
1829-1834 Jonathan Flood.

The pottery closed.

Records show that Samuel Sheppard worked for the Bedminster Pottery in 1788 and 1789, but by 1801 he had established his own pottery in Bread Street/Avon Street.  The directories for 1801 to 1819 listed Samuel Sheppard as a manufacturer of red and glazed wares and chimney and garden pots.

In October 1819 the St Philip’s Pottery 5 was advertised to let as ‘a stone pottery, with every requisite for immediate work, adjoining the Float [the Floating Harbour].  The premises may be applied to any other business requiring room.  Apply to Mr M. Sheppard on the premises, Avon Street’.  Presumably M. Sheppard was a mistake for S. Sheppard.  However the directories show that Samuel Sheppard continued as a ‘brown ware potter’ in Avon Street until his death in March 1824.

The pottery was then run by his wife, Mary, until 1828 when it was advertised: ‘to be let, and entered upon immediately, a red ware pottery, situate in Avon Street … and for many years carried on by Mr Samuel Sheppard, deceased. Apply to Mrs Sheppard, on the premises’.

The Sheppard family probably continued to own the pottery as William Sheppard was paying rates on the premises in 1833. However it was let to Jonathan Flood, who was then also running the Temple Back Pottery 1.  From 1829 to 1834 he was listed in the directories as a ‘red ware potter (late Sheppard)’ with premises in both Avon Street and Temple Street.

In 1834 he took over a brick and tile works on St Philip’s Marsh and the St Philip’s Pottery 5 was closed.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares, including garden pots and chimney pots.
It was referred to as a ‘stone pottery’ in 1819 suggesting that it was also producing stonewares.

St Philip’s Pottery 6

(known as the St Philip’s Marsh Pottery and the Albert Pottery)
Avon Street, St Philip’s Marsh, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

The early history of this pottery is confusing and involved a number of partnerships.

1815-1816 Cole & Spokes (John Cole I was probably in partnership with John Spokes I, but Spokes established his own pottery in 1816: see St Philip’s Pottery 7).
1817-21 John Cole I, possibly in partnership with someone called ‘Campbell’, as a partnership between them was dissolved in 1821.
1825 John Cole I was in partnership with someone called ‘Pearce’ (possibly Colston Pearce).
1832-1835 John Cole I.
1836-1855 Frances Cole.
1855-1867 Thomas Homans Cole.
1867-1869 Lavinia Cole.
1869-1871 Joseph and Lavinia Hands.
1871-c1874 Joseph Hands.
c1877-1908 John Forward Moorse, trading as the Albert Pottery Company.
1908-1934 Walter John Moorse, trading as the Albert Pottery Company.
1934-c1939 Ada Moorse, trading as the Albert Pottery Company.

The pottery closed.

John Cole I was taking apprentices from 1807, so it is possible that the pottery was operating by that date.  However, it was first listed in the directories in 1815 when it was trading as Cole & Spokes, brown stone potters in Avon Street. It is possible that the Spokes in this partnership was John Spokes I who established his own pottery in 1816 (see St Philip’s Pottery 7).

John Cole I seems to have been involved in a number of short-lived partnerships while running this pottery. There is a reference to the partnership of John Cole, John Homans Cook and John Hilhouse Wilcox, trading as Wilcox, Cook and Company, stone ware potters and manufacturers of tobacco pipes in Cheese Lane, being dissolved in December 1815.  Between 1817 and 1821 John Cole I ran the pottery, possibly in partnership with someone called ‘Campbell’, as a partnership between them was dissolved in 1821.   The directory of 1825 recorded Cole and Pearce (possibly Colston Pearce) as brown ware potters in Avon Street.

In September 1825 the auction of the pottery was advertised and was described as ‘A small and convenient stone and brown ware pottery, with a yard, two kilns, small dwelling house, and other suitable buildings, now in the occupation of Mr Coles, as yearly tenant. These premises … have a frontage of 108 feet and are in depth on the northward side, 40 feet and on the southward side 54 feet’.  The pottery was again advertised for sale by auction in January 1830 when it was described as ‘A small and convenient stone and brown ware pottery, with a yard, two kilns, small dwelling house, and other suitable buildings, now in the occupation of Mr John Coles, as yearly tenant … situated near the bridge over the Feeder, at the bottom of Cheese Lane … and are within a short distance of the new Cattle Market’.

The pottery was advertised to let in March 1832 but John Cole I continued to work there, the directories showing him as a brown stone and red ware potter.  He exported stoneware to Guernsey and Jersey between 1832 and 1835 and in 1833 he paid duty of £2.8s.9d on his manufacture of stone bottles.

It is possible that he died in 1835 as the directories for 1836 to 1855 listed his wife, Frances, as running the pottery and taking an apprentice in 1838.  The 1841 census gave the address of the pottery as 4 Marsh Buildings, St Philip’s Marsh.  Between 1836 and 1849 Frances was described as a brown stone and redware potter, but from 1850 she was also producing bricks and tiles.

Frances Cole, of the ‘St Philip’s Marsh Pottery’, died in August 1855 at the age of 80 and the pottery was taken over by her son, Thomas Homans Cole.  In August 1857 he advertised to ‘Liquor merchants, nurserymen, builders and others. Albert Pottery … Thomas Cole returns his sincere thanks to his friends and the public for the many favours they have bestowed upon him for the last two years, and begs to inform them that, in addition to all kinds of brown ware, he has entered upon the improved stone, which he can supply cheaper than any firm in the West of England’.  The census of 1861 recorded him as a master potter employing 7 men and 3 boys.

From 1858 until 1865 he was listed in the directories as a ‘brown and red ware potter, improved highly glazed stoneware, brick and tile maker’, but from 1866 the ‘improved highly glazed stoneware’ was omitted, suggesting perhaps that he no longer made that type of ware.

Thomas Cole died in October 1867 and the pottery was taken over by his widow, Lavinia.  She was listed in the directories as a ‘brown and red ware potter, garden pot manufacturer, and brick and tile maker’.  In October 1869 Lavinia married Joseph Rowland Hands and they then ran the pottery together.   In the 1871 census Lavinia was employing 6 men and 2 boys.

Lavinia died in November 1871 and the pottery continued to be operated by Joseph Hands, although he was probably running the pottery down, as various advertisements appeared in newspapers in 1873 and 1874 offering damaged chimney pots and caps, carpenters’ benches, a turner’s lathe and a cart horse for sale cheaply.

In January and May 1873 the pottery was advertised for sale: ‘Old established redware pottery business to be disposed of, with every requisite, in full working order. Proof of trade. Stock at valuation. Satisfactory reason for sale’.   Joseph Hands moved to Liverpool and the pottery was probably sold in 1873 or 1874.

By 1877 the pottery was being run by John Forward Moorse, trading as the Albert Pottery Company. The pottery was advertised for sale by auction in August 1878 when it was described as: ‘Valuable freehold pottery, with residence, stabling, yard, and premises in Albert Road, St Philip’s Marsh … All that spacious and convenient manufactory, formerly known as Cole’s Pottery, but now as the Albert Pottery, with good residence, stabling, yard and premises, situate in Albert Road, St Philip’s Marsh, close to the Marsh Bridge, and very near the stations and goods departments of the different railways and barge depots.  These premises have been used as a red and stone ware pottery for a great many years; they have a frontage in Albert Road of 185 feet and a depth of 55 feet 6 inches or thereabouts, and comprise one stone and two red ware kilns, pug and lead mills, three working mills, stove, drying racks and stages, sheds and store rooms, all well lighted. There is a good yard with double doors, stabling for two horses with loft over, cart and straw house, manure pit, etc. There is also a comfortable brick-fronted dwelling-house, comprising two parlours, two bedrooms, kitchen, scullery, pantry, w.c., and minor offices, with vinery and conservatory in front.  Gas pipes are laid throughout the works.  The entire premises are now let at the very moderate ground rental of £80 per year, and are subject only to a small ground rent of £10 per annum.  Possession may be had on the 29 September next if desired’.

The pottery was offered for sale or let again in October 1878 and in May 1880 but it continued to operate, producing all kinds of flower and garden pots, including rhubarb pots.  In 1901 John Moorse was described as a ‘flower pot manufacturer’ and at that time he was being assisted in the pottery by his son Walter John Moorse, a ‘pottery worker’ and his daughter Kate, a ‘pottery clerk’.  Rhubarb pots were again advertised for sale in December 1904.

John Moorse died in April 1908 and the pottery was taken over by his son, Walter John Moorse, whose occupation was described as ‘red ware pottery manufacture, employer’ in 1911. His sister Ada was a ‘clerk, assisting brother’ so she was also involved in running the pottery.  Kelly’s directory of 1914 recorded Walter Moorse at the Albert Pottery in Victoria Terrace, St Philip’s Marsh.

In December 1928 the following advertisement appeared in the Western Daily Press: ‘W.J. Moorse, Albert Pottery, St Philip’s Marsh, Bristol. Established 1801. Manufacturers of red glazed ware. Washing pans. Bread pans. Rhubarb pots with cover 3s.6d. Seakale pots with cover 3s.6d. Chimney pots. Garden pots. Garden rustic vase 7s.6d. All in stock’.  He continued advertising garden pots and rhubarb and seakale pots until his death in July 1934, when he was described as of 19 Kensington Park Road and the Albert Pottery.

His sister Ada carried on running the pottery until November 1940 when it was advertised for sale or to let as: ‘warehouse premises at St Philip’s (formerly Albert Potteries).  Large yard of 7,000 square feet with various single and two floor buildings.  Electricity’.  It seems that the pottery had closed before it was advertised for sale, although it is known from the following newspaper report that it was still in operation in 1939.  The Evening Post for July 1997 published a letter from an L.M. Ingram (possibly the Louise Maud Ingram who was born in 1907 and who had a brother Joseph A. Ingram, born in 1912).  In this she stated that she ‘had a brother who worked at St Philip’s pottery until he was called up during the Second World War.  At this time it was being run by Mr John Moorse and his sister Ada [this is probably a mistake, as Walter John Moorse had died in 1934], and I often watched my brother at work. The pottery itself was a very old building.  You entered through huge wooden doors, and the inside of the walkway was covered with cobble stones.  The right side was occupied by stables and a horse used to haul clay from the pit in a field at the back of Meriton Street.  It must be at least 70 years ago, when I would stand and be mesmerised to see all sizes of pots and huge bread pans, complete with covers, emerge from lumps of clay.  The potter’s wheel was mounted on some sort of wooden platform and was driven by a belt, worked by my brother using a treadle.  No way could I stand near the kiln because of the terrific heat.  I can’t recall how the pots obtained their lovely terracotta glaze’ (information from John Bryant).

Ada Moorse died in 1948.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares, including flower and garden pots, including rhubarb and seakale pots and rustic vases, washing pans, bread pans, chimney pots and bricks and tiles.
Improved highly glazed stonewares.

St Philip’s Pottery 7

(known as the Avon Street Pottery, the St Philip’s Pottery and the Avonside Pottery)
North of railway bridge, between 21 and 22 Avon Street, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1816 John Spokes I, trading as Spokes & Bourne.
1817-1844 John Spokes I.
1844-1847 John Spokes I and Samuel Spokes.
1848 Samuel Spokes.
1849-1863 John Thomas Spokes I.
1863-1871 Sarah Spokes.
1872-1886 John T Spokes II.
1886-1890 Cooper & Company.

The pottery closed.

John Spokes I is first recorded as a brown stone potter in Avon Street in 1816, when he appears to have been in partnership with someone called ‘Bourne’.  However from 1817 to 1844 he was working on his own.  In 1833 he was paying rates of £8 on his pottery in ‘Cheese Lane & Avon Street’ and in 1836 his property was described as ‘tenement, garden, tobacco pipe manufactory and pottery’.  The 1841 census also recorded him, aged 60, as a potter in Avon Street and the 1851 census as a potter living at ‘1 Avon Street Pottery’, which was located between 21 and 22 Avon Street.

From 1844 to 1847 John Spokes I was in partnership with his son, Samuel, while Samuel was working alone as a ‘brown and stone ware potter’ at the pottery in 1848, presumably after the retirement of his father.

In 1849 the pottery was taken over by John Thomas Spokes I, who was also the son of John Spokes I.  In the 1851 census he was living next to his parents and brother Samuel, who was then a pauper, at ‘2 Avon Street Pottery’.  From 1849 to 1863 he was recorded as either a brown ware potter or a brown stone potter.  In November 1861 the pottery was advertised to be let or sold and was described as ‘the old established freehold redware pottery, situated near the railway arch, Avon Street … The stock and plant to be taken at a fair valuation.  For further particulars apply to John Spokes on the premises’.

However the pottery continued to operate under John Thomas Spokes I, who was noted as ‘many years master of the redware pottery’ on his death in April 1863.  The pottery was taken over by his widow, Sarah, who was listed as a brown ware potter in Avon Street from 1863 to 1871.  In June 1869 she attempted to dispose of the premises described as ‘an extensive pottery business, together with large buildings, outhouse, stables and yard, situate in a business locality, and where a large trade has been successfully carried out for more than fifty years. The above would be a first class investment for anyone possessed of energy and pushing habits. For particulars apply to S. Spokes, Avon Street Pottery …’.

Sarah continued running the pottery until 1871 and she was noted in the 1871 census return as a redware potter living with her step-son, John, ‘north of railway bridge, Avon Street’.  From 1872 the pottery was being operated by John Thomas Spokes II who advertised for redware potters, a redware burner and small ware potters to work at the ‘St Philip’s Pottery’ in 1874, 1882 and 1886.  In 1886 he was advertising for sale ‘garden pots and red ware, all kinds of vases for painting at J.T. Spokes’ Pottery, Avon Street’.

In about 1886 Spokes became an earthenware dealer and the pottery was taken over by the firm of Cooper and Company.   In 1887 they advertised for sale ‘flower pots, rhubarb and seakale pots from one dozen to 50,000 [at] The oldest redware establishment in the west of England. Avonside Pottery, Avon Street’.

In 1890 the pottery was acquired by the Great Western Railway for the extension of the Bristol Joint Station and in May the contents were offered for sale by auction and described as the ‘whole of the stock of redware pottery, comprising flower pots (plain and ornamental) in all sizes, rustic garden vases, chimney pots and caps, rhubarb and seakale pots, garden vases, etc., red glazed ware, sundry vases for painting, etc., a quantity of timber and sundry potter’s appliances. Also two spring carts, coal cart, hand-cart, wheelbarrows, etc, three sets of cart harness and … a capital bay mare … ‘.

In June 1890 the pottery itself was advertised for sale by auction when it was described as ‘various buildings, forming the Avonside Pottery, including the two kilns (to come down), the horizontal engine and boiler, clay mill, potters’ wheels, heating apparatus, wrought iron tack, lead mill, kiln bands, etc. The whole will have to be cleared within ten days of the sale’.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares including flower pots, garden vases, rhubarb and seakale pots, chimney pots and caps, and vases for painting.

St Philip’s Pottery 8

St Philip’s Marsh, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1821-1825 John Oland.

The pottery closed.

From 1821 to 1826 John Oland was listed in the directories as a brown stone potter or stoneware manufacturer of St Philip’s Marsh.  The Port Books for 1821 to 1823 recorded him exporting earthenware and stoneware to Quebec and Jamaica.

There is a suggestion that he was to be made bankrupt in 1823 but he appears to have avoided this, possibly by going into partnership with someone called ‘Boddington’.   However, Boddington and Oland, potters of St Philip’s Marsh were declared bankrupt in 1825 and the pottery was advertised as for sale by auction in September 1825:
‘A valuable stoneware pottery, with yard, 2 kilns, drying rooms, ware rooms, and other suitable and convenient outbuildings; together with a newly erected, substantial and roomy dwelling-house, adjoining thereto, with a large garden attached, now and for some time past in the occupation of Mr John Oland, as yearly tenant.  These premises occupy a frontage of 206 feet, and are in depth on the northward part 64 feet, and on the southward 60 feet; the late proprietor has expended within the last few years the sum of £1500 in the various above-mentioned erections. NB The purchaser of this lot may be accommodated with the fixtures and stock of clay, now on the premises, at a fair valuation, by which the pottery may be set to work at a small expense’.

There is no evidence that the pottery continued after its sale in 1825.

Wares produced

The directories recorded him as producing stoneware.  The Port Books refer to earthenware and stoneware.

St Philip’s Pottery 9

(known as the Avon Cottage Pottery)
Albert Road, St Philip’s Marsh, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1850-1872 William Rich I.
1872-1876 John Rich.
1876-1879 John Rich and Boon (possibly John Boon, an ironmonger).
1880-1883 Mrs Rich.

The pottery closed.

William Rich was first recorded in the directories as a drain pipe and fire brick maker in 1850, although he could have been operating the pottery at an earlier date.  In the 1841 and 1851 censuses his occupation was given as ‘brick maker’, while the 1861 census showed him as a pipe maker, employing 7 men and 2 boys, and the 1871 census as a drain pipe manufacturer.

William Rich died in June 1872 and the pottery was taken over by his grandson, John.  From 1876 to 1879 the firm traded as John Rich and Boon.  The ‘Boon’ in this partnership was probably John Boon, an ironmonger, who was one of the executor’s of William Rich’s will.

The pottery was advertised for sale in July 1878 when it was described as ‘Avon Cottage Pottery, St Philip’s Marsh, Bristol. Messrs Tricks, Sons & Co. are instructed by the trustees of the late Mr W.P. Rich to sell by auction, on the premises … the whole of the machinery, plant, and stock-in-trade of a drain pipe and fire brick pottery; and comprising 10 horse power engine, egg-end boiler, runners, pug mill, pipe machine, moulds of all descriptions, tiles, fire bricks, burrs, drain pipes, ejects, junctions, chimney pots and the usual materials used in the above mentioned business. Also a useful horse and tip cart’.

The directories show that from 1880 to 1883 the pottery was being run by Mrs Rich, possibly Ann, the wife of John Rich.  Meanwhile John Rich was shown in the 1881 census as a ‘drain pipe maker, unemployed’.

The pottery closed in 1883 or 1884 and was probably the pottery advertised in April 1884: ‘To manufacturers of drain pipes, pottery and terra-cotta goods. To be let or sold, 11 acres of first class clay, with two kilns, sheds and cottage thereon, together with plant and machinery for brick, tile and pipe working. Moderate and convenient terms to responsible party’.

Wares produced

Stoneware drain pipes, fire bricks and chimney pots.

St Philip’s Pottery 10

4 Avon Street, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1870-1879 George Ring.

The pottery closed.

Little is known about this pottery.  The directories listed George Ring as a potter in Avon Street, or at 4 Avon Street, from 1870 to 1879. The 1881 census return showed him as a ‘potter employer’ at 4 Avon Street.

Wares produced

Not known.

St Philip’s Pottery 11

There was a reference in August 1842 to Messrs C. Price and Son having operated a pottery in St Philip’s Marsh for many years: ‘Eligible stoneware pottery, to be let, on the 21 December next. A commodious stoneware pottery situate in St Philip’s Marsh, now and for many years past in the occupation of Messrs C. Price and Son. These premises, as well as the whole of the freehold property extending therefrom to the Marsh Bridge, may be purchased if preferred’.

There are no other references to the Price family owning a pottery in St Philip’s parish.


St Silas Pottery

St Philip’s Marsh, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1885-1898 Thomas Hickery and Edwin Caleb Hickery, trading as Thomas Hickery & Son.
1898-c1900 Edwin Caleb Hickery.

The pottery appears to have closed, although there is are references to a John Thomas and an E. Scourse being associated with the pottery in 1901 and 1902 respectively.

The census returns from 1861 to 1881 showed that Thomas Hickery was the foreman, and subsequently, the manager of a brick and tile works near Morton Street in St Philip’s parish.    However, by 1885 he was recorded as running the St Silas Pottery with his son, Edwin Caleb, and trading as Thomas Hickery and Son.  In October 1888 they were selling a pair of rollers for crushing clay, which could be worked by either horse or steam.  In May 1892 they advertised for ‘a good potter for redware’.

In October 1896 it was recorded that high tides in the river Avon had flooded Hickery’s pottery works and that it was some days before work could be resumed.  The pottery was again flooded by high tides in February 1899, that time to a depth of from four to five feet, the water making its way into the kilns and halting production for several weeks.

Thomas Hickery died in 1898, aged 81, and the pottery was then run by Edwin Hickery who, in 1891, was noted as a ‘potter employer’.  Although the directories listed Edwin Hickery at the St Silas Pottery from 1901 to 1903 it seems likely that these entries are errors and that he had given up the pottery business by 1901 when he was recorded in the census as an ‘oil and soap stores keeper’.  However, the 1901 census records John Thomas as a ‘furnace stoker at pottery’, his address being given as the St Silas Pottery, Feeder Road.

There is also a reference in September 1902 to an E. Scourse at the St Silas Pottery but there is no other record of him as a potter.  However, William Scourse, Frederick William Robert Scourse and Robert Scourse are all recorded in the 1901 census as a brick maker, a brick merchant and a brick works manager, so the Scourse family were certainly associated with ceramic production in Bristol.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares.

St Thomas Street Pottery 1

St Thomas Street (originally known as Thomas Street), St Thomas parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1805-1806 James Alsop & Company.
1807 Morgan, Walker & Company.
1808-1816 W.W. Walker.
1816-1830 William & Thomas Powell.

The pottery closed. For details of the Powell family business after 1830 see under the Temple Gate Pottery.

James Alsop I had been running the 123 (or 125) Temple Street Pottery from 1781 to 1804, when it was taken over by Price and Read, and Alsop started the St Thomas Street Pottery 1.  In 1805 he was listed in the directory as trading as James Alsop and Company, brown stone potters in Thomas Street.

James Alsop I died in January 1806 and the pottery was taken over by Morgan, Walker and Company who were trading as ‘brown stone ware manufacturers’ in 1807.  By 1808 the business was being run by W.W. Walker.  Nothing else is known of W.W. Walker although he continued running the pottery until 1816.

In 1816 the pottery was being run by William and Thomas Powell who produced brown stoneware on the premises.  The Powells built up a substantial business and between 1816 and 1830 they were exporting stoneware, including stoneware bottles, to Guernsey, Jersey, Dublin, Waterford, Cork Youghall, Belfast, Limerick, Newry, Londonderry, New York, Leghorn [Livorno], Genoa, Naples, Sicily, Jamaica and Nevis.

In 1828 they patented a method for making stoneware sugar moulds.

By 1821 they had established a Stourbridge glass warehouse at Temple Gate and in March 1830 they advertised that they had moved their stoneware pottery from Thomas Street to their premises at Temple Gate.

Wares produced


St Thomas Street Pottery 2

(also known as Price’s Pottery)
37, 38, & 42, 43 & 44 St Thomas Street (originally known as Thomas Street), St Thomas parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1808-1809 Tripp & Company.
1809-1817 Charles Price I, trading as Price & Read.
1818-1822 Charles Price I.
1822-1844 Charles Price I and Charles Price II, trading as Charles Price & Son.
1845-1849 Charles Price I, Charles Price II and Joseph Read Price, trading as Charles Price & Sons.
1849-1863 Charles Price II and Joseph Read Price.
1864-1882 Joseph Read Price, Charles Price III, Samuel Newell Price and Alfred Newell Price, trading as Joseph & Charles Price & Brothers.
1882-c1901 Alfred Newell Price, Samuel Newell Price and Arthur Newell Price, trading as Price, Sons & Company.
c1901-1930 Alfred Newell Price and Arthur Newell Price and, until his death in 1922, John Harold Price, trading as Price, Sons & Company.
(William Powell & Sons amalgamated with Price, Sons & Company in 1907, the firm then trading as Price, Powell & Company).
1930-1946 Alfred Newell Price and Charles Newell Price, trading as Price, Powell & Company.
1946-1961 Charles Newell Price, trading as Price, Powell & Company.

The pottery closed.

There was a single reference to a firm known as Tripp and Company, brown stone potters, running a pottery in St Thomas Street from 1808 to 1809.  It is assumed that they were running the St Thomas Street Pottery 2.

The pottery seems to have been taken over by Charles Price I in 1809 when the firm known as Price and Read was listed as brown stone potters at 123 Temple Street and ‘next to the Bunch of Grapes, Thomas Street’.  Although Charles Price I was working on his own he still retained the surname of his late partner, Joseph Read, in the name of the business.  In 1810 the pottery was offered for sale by auction when it was described as ‘all those three messuages or tenements adjoining together, situate in Saint Thomas Street … and also the extensive yard and potter’s manufactory complete, situate behind the said messuages, one of which said messuages is now in the occupation of William Peters, tinman, and the other two are used as warehouses, and are, together with the said manufactory, in the occupation of Charles Price, potter …’.  However Charles Price I continued to operate the pottery after that date.

From 1812 to 1849 Price and Read, Charles Price and then C. Price and Son, were exporting stoneware to Waterford, Dublin, Cork, Youghall, Limerick, Belfast, Dundalk, Newry, Guernsey, Jersey, Jamaica, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Calcutta.

From 1818 to 1822 Charles Price I was trading under his own name, the firm being listed in the directories as ‘Charles Price (late Price & Read), brown stone potters’.  In January 1822 he entered into partnership with his eldest son, Charles Price II, and announced this in an advertisement: ‘Bristol Old Stoneware Pottery, Temple-Street and St Thomas-Street, Charles Price takes this opportunity of returning his very grateful acknowledgements to his friends and the public, for the liberal support he has experienced in the late firm of Price & Read, and since on his own account, including a term of upwards of 25 years, and begs to inform them that he has taken his son Charles into the partnership with him under the firm of Charles Price & Son. C. Price & Son respectfully solicit a continuance of that preference which the old concern have been favoured with for so considerable a period’.

In April 1824 they advertised that: ‘Charles Price & Son beg to inform their friends and the public that they have added to their general trade, the manufacture of patent stone ware water pipes, which for their durability, purity and price, give them a decided preference to either wood or lead. C. Price & Son beg to state, that the pipes are extensively used for the purpose of draining land, as well as the conveyance of water from roofs of houses, etc., etc.’.

In 1845 Charles Price I took another son, Joseph Read Price, into the business, the firm then trading as Charles Price & Sons.  Charles Price I died in January 1849 and in his will he left the following property for the use of his sons Charles Price II and Joseph Read Price as tenants in common: ‘the messuage or dwellinghouse number 123 Temple Street together with the pottery, kilns, warehouses and other hereditaments and premises wherein I now carry on in partnership with my sons Charles and Joseph Read Price the trade or business of a stoneware manufacturer … all of which premises … extend from Temple Street … and fronting which the said messuage or dwellinghouse stands to Thomas Street … fronting which the said warehouses stand … together with all the machinery, implements and utensils and my share and interest therein …’.

In February 1849 the following notice appeared in the Bristol Times: ‘St Thomas and Temple Street Potteries. Charles and Joseph Read Price, in continuing the business so many years carried on by them in connection with their late father (under the firm of Charles Price and Sons), beg to state they have always a large stock of every description of the improved stoneware on hand, and orders to any extent for exportation and the home trade will always command their attention’.

In 1851 Joseph Read Price was recorded as a potter employing 30 men and by 1871 he was employing about 60 men and 40 boys.

The firm traded as Charles and Joseph Read Price, manufacturers of the improved or highly glazed stoneware until 1863 when Charles Price II appears to have retired from the business.  He died in January 1869 and in his will he appointed trustees who were empowered to sell to his three sons, Charles Price III, Samuel Newell Price and Alfred Newell Price his freehold and leasehold premises in Thomas Street and Temple Street occupied by them and Joseph Read Price under a lease granted by him to them, together with the steam engines, machinery and fixtures in the premises.

From 1864 the firm comprised Joseph Read Price and the brothers Charles Price III, Samuel Newell Price and Alfred Newell Price, trading as Joseph & Charles Price & Brothers.

In November 1873 there was an industrial dispute in Price’s Pottery.  This was reported in the newspapers who said that ‘A general summoned meeting of the whole of the operative labourers employed by Messrs Price Brothers, Potteries, Temple Street, took place on Friday evening … to consider the advisability of memorialising their employers for a general advance of wages. A working labourer presided, and opened the meeting by some sensible remarks, in which he stated that the present rate of wages paid by the firm of Messrs Price Brothers was below the wages paid by the Bristol and other potteries in the city. He said that the average wages of a labourer in Messrs Price’s firm was from 13s to 17s for a lone week’s work. He therefore advocated the necessity of a general advance of wages being accorded to them in the face of the exorbitant price of provisions. [The following resolution was carried]: That, as the members of every trade and the operative labourers have received a considerable advance in their wages of late, which is justified through the very high price of every article of subsistence, we give our employers due notice that we shall require an advance of sixpence per day all the year round, to come into force on and after Monday morning November 17, 1873′.

The dispute was not settled by the employers and on 22 November it was reported that: ‘On Monday last some of the labourers, to the number of about thirty, employed at Messrs Price’s pottery, Thomas Street, came out on strike on a question as to the amount of their wages. It appears that the men, having joined the Labourers’ Union, the firm received a printed notice from the secretary of the Union, intimating that the men had had a meeting and demanded an advance of 3s per week.  No notice was taken of this circular, and the firm intimated that they preferred treating with the men themselves, and that they were surprised that no demand was made upon them by the men except through the printed circular of the union. They received, just before the expiration of the notice, a written letter from the men that unless the demand or arbitration were conceded they should strike. On Monday, after an interview had taken place between two of the union committee and the members of the firm, the latter saw the men, and expressed themselves willing to give two-thirds of the demand, namely two shillings advance to such of the men as they were willing to take back from amongst those who had struck. This offer was declined, and the men accordingly remained out on strike. Since then we learn that the firm have taken on some fresh labourers, and have determined to do without the labour of those who have struck. It has been stated that the weekly earnings of the men have been averaged, according to the skill of the workmen, from 15s to 24s, including overtime. In reply to this the secretary of the union has stated that the average earnings per week of 54 hours have been 18s, and that 24s a week means a weekly working of excessive hours of overtime’.

Clearly it was not the intention of the Price family to meet the demands of their employees and they simply advertised for new workers on 22 November: ‘Constant work for steady, industrious and intelligent men. Wages from 18s and upwards, Apply at Messrs Price’s Pottery, Thomas Street. Only those of good character, and who can read and write, need apply’.

In 1876 it was reported that: ‘J. & C. Price & Bros., stoneware potters, 69 Victoria Street, Bristol, exhibited jars and vessels of all kinds of highly glazed stoneware, capable of resisting the action of all spirits and acids; ale bottles, spirit jars, barrels, preserve jars, water filters, feet warmers, etc., at the International Exhibition in Philadelphia’ and that they had also won a Prize Medal at the Paris Exhibition in 1867.

Charles Price III died in 1877 but the firm continued trading as Joseph & Charles Price & Brothers until Joseph Read Price’s death in 1882.  It was subsequently run by Alfred Newell Price, Samuel Newell Price and their nephew, Arthur Newell Price, trading as Price, Sons & Company.  In 1881 Samuel Newell Price was described as a ‘stoneware potter (master), employing 75 men and 20 boys’.

In December 1883 the pottery advertised: ‘Clay modelling. Messrs Price, Sons, and Company, of the Old Stoneware Potteries, have set apart a room in their manufactory for the use of lady amateurs desiring to experiment with clay. Full particulars on application to 89 Victoria Street’.

In September 1884 there was a report on the Industrial and Fine Arts Exhibition which included: ‘Price, Sons, and Co., Old Stoneware Potteries, Victoria Street. Pottery is another industrial art which Bristol has for centuries made its own, and it has always given employment to large numbers of skilled workpeople. The old stoneware of Bristol manufacture has been known far and wide, and Messrs Price, Sons, and Co. are one of the oldest of the existing firms, they having absorbed two or three of the oldest potteries in the city, and the family of the present firm have been connected with the pottery for nearly a century.  The improved Bristol stoneware illustrated by their exhibits at Stand 45, and noticeable for the beautiful glazing of the surface – specially excelling in this respect the production of other towns – is a Bristol speciality; and even when initiated elsewhere it is always known as ‘Bristol ware’. The improvement consists in its being so highly glazed and vitrified that it has all the advantages of the smooth surface of glass incorporated with the strong body of stoneware. This quality specially commends it to the large firms who now produce immense quantities of jams and preserves.  These producers are substituting this stoneware for glass, the brittleness of which gives rise to a danger already often incurred by the consumer, who is unable to detect in jam or preserves the presence of a bit of glass. This ware, moreover, is in no way affected by acid in the fruit. Messrs Price, although one of the oldest firms in our city, seem at the same time to prove themselves not the least enterprising. We notice two new, important, and evidently successful branches added to their original business. We refer to their electrical department, in which they exhibit insulators, accumulators, battery jars, porous cells, etc., which have already been largely adopted by electrical engineers. Prominent on their stand also, are articles in what might be well termed the art department, in which they show some really beautiful specimens of plain and figured, glazed and unglazed vases; the latter being in great demand just now by the ladies for painting. The shapes and designs are specially good, and the floral adornment in wreaths, sprays, clusters and single flowers is light and graceful in extreme. The filters, for which during the past 40 years they have been noted, are also a feature of Messrs Price, Sons, and Co’s exhibits’.

In February 1885 the Exhibition of Womens’ Industries included vases sent by Messrs Price Brothers from their pottery, showing floral embellishments, all the work of women.

At the Bath and West of England Society Show in 1886: ‘Messrs Price, Sons & Co., Victoria Street, are well represented by a stand of pottery of a variety of descriptions, some of which are marked by great taste in design. The assorted samples of Redclyffe ware, perfectly vitrified and suitable for painting, decorated and undecorated, deserve favourable notice. Ware for many uses, including electrical battery jars, porous cells, and insulators for electric purposes, are also shown’.

A detailed description of the St Thomas Street Pottery 2 appeared in the Bristol Observer newspaper of 1 October 1892 and is quoted in full below:

‘Returning as before to industries, interest is found of another sort, and in point of age scarcely any could claim prior right to notice than the potter.  The art of moulding clay and baking or burning the article produced is pretty near coeval with man, and the potter’s wheel of today is practically the same as it was thousands of years ago, in the earliest history of the race.

The old stoneware potteries in Thomas Street, of which Messrs Price, Sons, and Co. are the owners, are also tolerably antique, having been founded as long ago as 1740.  The firm devoted themselves to the production of all sorts of glazed stone-ware and to the making of the insulators which requires much more careful treatment.

On the ground-floor, as we enter the building, we see the clay in firm half-dry blocks being unloaded from the carts; it is in just the same condition as it has been dug from the pits, and brought to the port by ship.  Clay, of course, differs in its composition, and the selection has to be made in view of the nature of the article to be produced.  Dorsetshire and the neighbourhood of Newton Abbot supply most of that used by Messrs Price, and it is a little surprising to find that the first operation is to dry the compact, square lumps as they come from the clay store to the manufacturing rooms.  In the dried condition it is hardly distinguishable from the white pipe-clay used for cleaning soldiers’ belts and gloves, and it is so friable that it is easily broken up on its passage through a disintegrating machine.  At this stage the other ingredients are added and mixed up with the pulverised clay to obtain the composition which will, in burning, give the hard, close-grained structure of aptly-named stone-ware.  The mixture goes into vats, where it is wetted, and lies so that the moisture may evenly pervade it: from there it passes into an upright cylindrical grinding machine.

From the bottom of the mill the stiff clay is squeezed out, and looking like an endless bar of a whitey-grey soap six inches high and of the same breadth, it travels across the floor on a number of little roller wheels, until it projects over the top of the second mill reaching down into the room below.  A revolving cutter slices off pieces of the continuously arriving bar of clay, and after being again ground it oozes out in similar fashion on the lower floor, and is now ready for the throwing room – in other words for the potter’s wheel.  There are a number of such apartments, all having a family likeness in their overhead pulleys and straps, their rows of potter’s tables, and their smooth and unctious coating of clayey particles.

One of the first workmen we come to is making two-gallon stone jars, and an assistant is dumping up masses of clay to keep him supplied with conical lumps he needs for his wheel.  Air bubbles are the bane of the potter, and the plastic mass is handled so as to get rid of them as far as possible.  Throwing one of the lumps on to the small revolving table, kept in rapid motion by wheels and straps, it adheres to the surface, which has been smeared with moist clay.  Shaped by the potter’s two hands, it is astonishing to the stranger to see with what quickness the clay rises into definite shapes, and these succeed one another with great rapidity.  One moment the form is that of an earthen jar with wide open mouth and very thick sides.  At another the top is closed more in the fashion of the completed article, but the exterior surface is marked by a spiral of indentations left by the pressure of the artisan’s fingers.  The sides have not only to be made even but to be of fairly equal thickness, and it may be the mouth of the jar is opened for the entrance of the workman’s hand several times in the course of its structure.  Height, diameter, and capacity have all to be borne in mind as this work proceeds.  The height and the point at which the narrowing of the neck begins are indicated by bits of stick projecting from a part of the table, and the diameter is now and again tested by a pair of callipers.  Much practice, however, makes the potter very expert in judging these things, and not many of the completed jars are found, when their liquid capacity is measured, to be seriously out.

At a wheel turned by a strong lad four-gallon jars are being made.  The method is the same, but the size, of course, occasions greater difficulty, and the workman’s arm is only just long enough to enable him to reach the bottom of the tall cylinder of stiff clay shortly to have its top narrowed in into a shapely neck.  Handles are added afterwards, when the vessel has become a little drier.  The handles are pressed into shape, some being ornamented by a little fluting, and are sufficiently soft to readily stick to the vessel made a day or two before.  They are attached very rapidly, and a workman bends the straight handle into its proper form, and with his fingers flattens down the ends firmly on to the jar in less time than it takes to write about it.

Piecework lends speed to fingers.  Ginger-beer bottles – and there is of late a renewed demand for ‘stone gingers’ – ink bottles, large and small, and tiny jars, holding one or two ounces, for scent, are being made at other tables in immense numbers.  One man can turn out 700 or 800 lipped ink jars a day, a fair indication of the speed in making the smaller classes of goods.

Stone-ware barrels and filters form, of course, a much heavier kind of work, and are usually made in sections, and connected afterwards.  Many of the articles, when dry enough to be touched without stickiness, have the name of the firm for whom they are made impressed on them by metal type, and in other cases are printed in colours.

The manufacture of insulators for telegraphic and telephone purposes is an important branch of the business.  Some forms of insulator require very careful moulding.  In shape they are somewhat like a jam-pot, with a substantial tube in the centre of its cavity, and attached firmly to its bottom.  The insulator, however, is made from one piece of clay, and the exterior wall of the cylinder assumes some queer phases while the interior tube is being produced.  The moulded article when partly dry is transferred to a lathe to be made perfectly even and smooth, and to have the required channels cut through it.

Other articles of the better class, such as jugs of ornamental form, have to undergo a somewhat similar treatment to give them a burnished surface.  Drying and dipping into the liquids which glaze and supply the required colour when acted upon by the furnace heat are preliminary to the burning necessary to give the ware the hard texture it requires for its battle of life.

The public are tolerably familiar with the appearance of the upper part of the kilns used, – huge conical chimneys which are at once both fireplace and oven.  The kiln has in its thick brick circumference nine fireplaces, some of the flues of which run across the bottom of the chamber enclosed by the circular wall and others discharge their fiery heat into it.  It is entered by a doorway big enough for a man with a load on his head to walk through, and is charged while cold.

A man, who deserves credit for his skill in balancing, brings into the kiln-room a long board, on which stands the ware to be burned, and one wonders how he manages to carry so many articles inclined to topple without their coming to grief.  He places his burden on a table, from which several men fill the goods carefully into saggars, in other words, circular or oval tubs of fire clay. No article must touch another, or the two would, when the glaze was melted in the heat, adhere, and precautions are taken to prevent the ware sticking to the saggar.  A second saggar is placed mouth down on top of the first, so as to form a cover for the contents, and the circular or elliptical fire-clay boxes are marched off to the kiln and piled one on to the other up to its ceiling.  The kiln full, the doorway is closed, the kiln walls are strengthened by chains, and the fires lighted.

Lump coal only is used, and before long the interior of the kiln is so intensely hot that the glare is blinding when one is asked to look into a draw-hole.  From this aperture small bits of ware are from time to time fished out so as to see how the work is progressing.  If the fires are lit on Monday night they are raked out on Wednesday afternoon, and it takes three days for the saggars and their contents to cool.  The goods are tested by compressed air being forced into them and are ready for the market.  The baskets with which the spirit jars are covered are made in the factory, and from ten to twenty men are usually employed in this department.  Only a few of the useful forms taken by stone-ware have been mentioned, but these have given a general insight into the methods on which the manufacture is conducted’.

Samuel Newell Price retired from the firm in 1901 and it was then run by Alfred Newell Price, Arthur Newell Price, and, until his death in 1922, Alfreds son John Harold Price, trading as Price, Sons & Company.  William Powell & Sons of the Temple Gate Pottery amalgamated with Price, Sons & Company. in 1907, the firm then trading as Price Powell & Company.

The Bristol Times and Mirror newspaper published a description of Price, Powell and Company’s pottery on 27 March 1923 and that is quoted in full below:

Treatment of Rough Materials
Two most interesting hours spent at the Old Stoneware Potteries gave me an insight into the modern working of the industry.  In order that my impressions should begin at the beginning of things in these large works, I first watched the principal raw materials being brought in.  It consists of clay obtained from pits in South Devon, and arrives in large lumps roughly cubic in shape.  Here I should like to digress for a moment, however, to mention that I also visited the roof of the establishment in order to get a bird’s-eye view of the pottery.  This showed me that it covers a considerable area, for I saw an imposing array of roofs sheltering the various departments which are all spacious and airy.  To return to our clay, I found that on its arrival it is stacked around the outside of the great kilns with which it is destined later to make a much closer acquaintance.  It is necessary that the clay should be thoroughly dried, and the radiation of heat from the kilns soon effects the process.  The dry blocks of clay are then pounded by a powerful machine from which the resulting powdery clay is received in the receptacles of an endless revolving ladder which afterwards drops it into a big trough.  Naturally, the water which is then added is speedily absorbed.  The wet clay is then passed through various mills and subjected to treatment until it reaches the consistency fit for the hands of the potters.

All the machinery at the pottery, by the way, is run by steam, and the principal of the firm, Mr Arthur N. Price, who piloted me with great patience and courtesy, mentioned that one of the engines had been running since 1877, and is working better now than in its early years.  The clay is moved from the store vault by means of a power hoist, and goes to the potters, with its texture beyond reproach.

The Potter’s Wheel
Though I had on previous occasions witnessed the art of the potter, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the “throwing rooms”, as the department in which the potters are installed are named.  The clay for each article is weighed.  For each of the familiar stoneware ink bottles, for instance, the requisite ball of clay was weighed out.  After this operation it is ready for the “throwing wheel” at which the potter sits.  I watched with fascination the dextrous operations by which the popular stone ginger beer bottles are formed.  The potter placed the ball of clay upon his wheel, which he then started in rapid rotation.  Under his sensitive hands the bottle quickly took shape and was in a few seconds ready for the application of the “rib” – a flat piece of iron so shaped as, when held against the spinning clay, to contour the shoulder and neck of the bottle.  The potters work to gauge, which indicate the height of the required bottle or other article, and the position of the shoulder.  An upright near the wheel supports two horizontal rods tipped with flexible whale-bone.  These horizontals are set in accordance with the gauge stick and guide the potter in getting the shoulder and neck of the bottle just in the right place.  Another rib is inserted for a moment to fashion the lip of the bottle.  To the layman the making of stoneware bottles by means of this simple wheel seems to need amazing skill, but so clever are the operators that they do it at a tremendous pace.  I timed the production of a bottle on the wheel and found that it took exactly three-quarters of a minute!  Some of the potters have been at this work a very long time; one of them is not far short of seventy years of age, and another is seventy and more.  The well-known stone bottles are by no means all the same.  Some are for “crown corks” now so popular; others for ordinary corks; and some for screw stoppers.  Moreover, every customer requires goods made in a slightly different form – needing some slight variation in height or shape.  At the time of my visit a large number of stoneware bottles were being made for export to South America.

Other goods I saw on the wheels or placed on shelves to dry included jars (with or without screw stoppers) in great demand by chemists and for domestic purposes; drinking “fountains” for birds; varnish bottles; jars used to hold cordials and other liquids (many thousands of jars for Army use were made at this pottery during the war); big jars which are fitted with taps and used at inns and cafes, pickle jars, honey pots, and furniture polish jars.  After leaving the throwing wheels, all the pottery is placed in warm places near the kiln to dry.

Glazing Process
Now I was initiated into the mysteries of the glazing process.  All the glazes are made on the premises, and are finely ground in up-to-date glaze mills.  The firm’s stoneware is glazed with a highly vitrified and brilliant enamel which is acid resisting, and therefore fits it for a variety of uses.  As an example of the subsequent process, I will take the case of a jar which is to be glazed white over most of its area, but amber over the shoulders and neck – the common practice in glazing.  The jar is dipped in one kind of glaze up to the shoulder, and when it emerges the superfluous glaze is removed by passing the bottom of the jar over brushes.  When the glaze is dried the jar is dipped upside down a certain distance into another variety of glaze and then dried.  The lower part of the jar was then whiteish, but to my surprise, the shoulder and neck was of a kind of battleship grey.  The kiln, however, changes that into a beautiful amber tint.

“Firing” the Article
I had now reached the “firing” process.  When the goods have been dipped in the glaze and dried, they are ready for the kilns.  They are packed in “saggers” – the large cylindrical receptacles made from clay and grit on the premises.  A proportion of these break in the kilns, and the resultant “shards” are ground up for use as material in the making of saggers.  When a sagger has been filled, it is covered with another sagger, and hundreds of these double receptacles are carefully stacked in the kiln.  The huge furnace underneath is then lit, and the heat from it travels through a series of flues – the principal ones are given the curious name of “bags” – into the kiln.  For a long time the interior of the kiln is in a state of white heat, and the glow from the kilns and the furnace gives a picturesque effect.  As in cooking, the men in charge of the firing find it necessary to make trials.  Rings of clay dipped in glaze – they are very like the neck of a stone bottle – have been placed at a convenient spot within the kiln.  At intervals an iron rod is inserted through a small aperture in the wall of the kiln and a ring is withdrawn.  The experts at the pottery have no difficulty in deciding, from the result of these trials, whether or not the firing process has been completed.  The kilns reach a very high temperature – from 1,200 to 1,300 degrees centigrade.  When the firing has been satisfactorily accomplished the fires are let down and the kiln is allowed to cool, after which the saggers are taken out and the goods in them go either to the packing department to be crated for delivery, or to the store rooms.

Moulded Articles
Hot water bottles, other than the usual rounded shape, have to be moulded, and the moulds for these much-appreciated foot-warmers and other moulded articles are all made at the pottery.

An interesting little process was the printing of the name of the firms on bottles and jars.  It is done before they are dipped in glaze and there are two methods.  Much of the printing is done by rubber stamps, but the choicest work is accomplished by means of transfers, and I saw some splendid transfer work being executed.

Many orders are received for large jars cased in basket, and I saw basket workers busily engaged in wickering the jars in their closely woven willow armour.I also saw the making of stoneware taps for vessels containing acids and other chemicals.  The revolving parts of these taps have to be ground to an exact fit.

In conclusion, I may sum up the characteristic output of the firm as consisting of jars and bottles for all purposes, drugs, spirits, ale and stout, ginger beer (which is an important feature), ink, blacking, and varnish bottles, bread pans, jam and pickle jars.  A large business is conducted by it in foot warmers and also insulators, for which Bristol stoneware is specially suitable.

In addition to their home trade, the Old Stoneware Potteries export large quantities of articles to Canada, India, South Africa and Australasia.

Alfred Newell Price died in 1930 and the pottery was then run by Arthur Newell Price and his son, Charles Newell Price.  The pottery was seriously damaged by enemy bombing on 24 November 1940 and Charles Newell Price obtained planning permission to put three temporary ‘Nissen’ huts on the site of the St Thomas Street Pottery 2.  This was sufficient to accommodate an office, a store and the basket makers’ workshop.  From this limited enterprise and with the help of the Potteries in the Midlands, who paid him a commission on stone ware sales in the south-west, Charles Newell Price was able to make a living for himself and the few staff he had been able to keep employed since the Blitz.

The balance sheet for 1946 showed a net profit of £1,203.  Compensation for war damage was eventually paid in 1949 and the amount payable was £2,500.  Total compensation to all the interested parties was only £8,762, which was far below the market value of the premises. Arthur Newell Price died in 1946 and the company was then run solely by Charles Newell Price.

From the Nissen huts by St Thomas Street, the firm moved to other temporary buildings at Ashton Gate and finally to 1 Upton Road, Southville, which Charles Newell Price named ‘St Thomas House’.  The accounts were finally closed in 1961 and Pearsons of Chesterfield bought the goodwill in the business.

Wares produced


St Thomas Street Pottery 3

57 St Thomas Street (originally known as Thomas Street), St Thomas parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1847-1849 John Ellis II, trading as John Ellis & Company.

The pottery closed.

Detailed history

In 1841 John Ellis II was working as a potter presser in Shelton, Staffordshire, but in May 1847 he was recorded as a ‘glass and china manufacturer’ in Bristol, so it seems likely that by 1847 he had established the St Thomas Street Pottery 3.  In 1848 and 1849 the directories listed him trading as John Ellis and Company ‘stone and red ware potters’ and ‘earthenware manufacturers’ at 57 Thomas Street.

In June 1849 the following advertisement appeared: ‘To Earthenware Manufacturers.  To be disposed of, that newly erected earthenware manufactory situated at 57 Thomas Street, in the city of Bristol, with immediate possession.  The moulds, kilns and working utensils may be purchased for about one third of their original value.  This is an opportunity that seldom occurs here.  Bristol for potting stands unequalled, being the nearest port for clays, flints and stone.  A saving of 10 to 15 per cent on common goods can be effected, having no carriage on the goods to the western parts of England.  A good wholesale glass and china trade is done on the premises. For further particulars, apply to the proprietor, John Ellis.  Or, a respectable partner would not be objected to, who could command from £800 to £900.  One who understands the trade would be preferred.  N.B. There is also a respectable dwelling-house attached to the premises’.

The pottery probably closed in 1849.  In 1851 John Ellis was an earthenware dealer in Liverpool, returning to Bristol by 1853 to establish the Redcross Street Pottery.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares.

St Thomas Street Pottery 4

95 St Thomas Street (originally known as Thomas Street), St Thomas parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1832 Thomas Bullock I, trading as Thomas Bullock & Son.

The pottery closed.

From 1832 to 1833 Thomas Bullock I, trading as Thomas Bullock and Son, was listed in the directories as an earthenware potter at 95 Thomas Street.  The entry for 1833 may have been a mistake as in October 1832 the pottery was advertised to let: ‘Earthen-ware pottery. To let, all that eligible, compact, and convenient earthen-ware pottery, with the dwelling-house attached thereto, situate in Thomas Street, and lately in the occupation of Messrs. Thomas Bullock & Son, who have been obliged to give up the business from want of sufficient capital for carrying on with advantage.  The premises have been lately fitted up at considerable expense, and as every necessary apparatus has been left, together with the fixtures, moulds, etc., etc. (which may be taken at a valuation) the pottery can be put to work immediately.  This affords an excellent opportunity for the employment of a small capital, as it is well known that the supply of earthenware manufactured in Bristol is quite unequal to the demand’.

The pottery does not seem to have operated after 1832.

Wares produced


Stapleton Road Pottery 1

(known as the Horticultural Potteries)
Stapleton, Gloucestershire.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1854-1858 William Maule, trading as William Maule & Sons.
1858-1875 Alexander James Maule and William Alexander Maule, trading as William Maule & Sons.
1875-1884 Alexander James Maule, trading as William Maule & Sons.

The pottery appears to have closed, as after 1884 the firm were described only as ‘nurserymen’.

William Maule had been working as a nurseryman from at least 1815 and as a nurseryman, seedsman and florist from at least 1847, trading as William Maule and Sons, the sons being William Alexander Maule and Alexander James Maule.  In 1851 William Maule was described as a nurseryman, owning 45 acres and employing 28 men and 9 boys.

By 1854 the business had been expanded to include ‘horticultural potteries’.  William Maule died in February 1858 and the firm was carried on by his sons, although they retained the trading name of William Maule & Sons.  In 1861 they employed 50 men, 2 women and 20 boys in the nursery and pottery and in March 1862 they advertised for ‘an industrious, intelligent man, competent to work and superintend for garden pots only, and if he can undertake a part in mould making and working the same for ornamental goods he would be preferred’.

Some idea of the types of wares they produced can be seen from the following reports of their exhibits at the Bath and West of England Show in June 1864:
‘Messrs Maule and Sons, of the Horticultural Potteries, Stapleton Road, erected a handsome terra cotta fountain on a very large scale, and of a new and striking design.  It will be named the Prince of Wales Fountain.  It will stand in a basin 21 feet in diameter, and rising from the base are several pieces of statuary, representing figures supporting a second basin eight feet in diameter.  On the surface of this other figures support the tazza, or receptacle for the superstructure, consisting of a third group of figures, scattering the water from a height of fifteen feet, first descending to the tazza, then into the second basin, and again into the lower one.  The fountain will be surrounded by ten elegant trees of the coniform tribe, twenty-five feet in height, and we understand that they will be removed from the grounds of Messrs Maule by a new principle, which enables the contributor to keep them in the yard, standing in frames, in which they can be readily returned to the ground from which they were transplanted’.

‘Dog, full-sized Newfoundland, eagle, shell pedestal and boy figures, woman bracket, suspension architectural basket and hangings, square pedestal, sun dial, round fluted pedestal, circle for raised flower bed, boy with shell on his head for trailing plants, boys for water jet, large sized wicker basket and stand, large Italian bell-shaped vase with handles … large leaf vase, Grecian vase with handles … octagon pot and stand, Italian basket, tulip vase, tree stump pots, rose pot and stand, tall stump orchid pot with knot holes, large tatza and stand, tank aquariums sizes, urn or scent jar for halls and conservatories, garden flower pots, seed pans, stands, etc, large fountains …’.

William Alexander Maule died in December 1874 and the pottery was then run by his brother until his death in May 1884.  Although the firm was carried on, probably by their sister Louisa Maule, and still traded as William Maule & Sons, the horticultural pottery side of the business was not mentioned after 1884 and it seems likely that the pottery had closed.  The firm appears to have ceased trading as a nursery in about 1889.

Wares produced

Horticultural wares.