Bristol Potters and Potteries

Research by Reg Jackson

Bristol Potteries

Research by Reg Jackson

[back to Potteries]

Stapleton Road Pottery 2

(known as the Cornwallis Pottery)
Stapleton, Gloucestershire.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1854-1855 Mayer, Boulton & Company.
c1856-1858 Morgan & Hawley (possibly John Morgan I and James George Hawley).
1858 Mayer & Company.

The pottery appears to have closed.

The pottery was first mentioned in August 1854 in a newspaper article and an advertisement which stated:
‘Cornwallis Pottery, Stapleton Road. This is a new and important addition to the manufactories in our city and neighbourhood.  The proprietors, Messrs Mayer, Boulton and Co., from London, have purchased the premises formerly used as a tip factory and foundry, and have converted them into a Staffordshire pottery, where they are producing a great variety of articles, and especially such as are connected with sanitary purposes, etc., with which they are laying themselves out to supply “the millions”. Messrs M., B. and Co., approve of and are adopting the half-holiday system on Saturdays, and for the improvement of their workpeople are about to establish a library and reading-room on their premises.  These are steps in the right direction, and worthy of extensive imitation’.

‘To Sanitary Commissioners, Surveyors, Architects, Brass Founders, Plumbers, Builders, Engineers, etc, Mayer, Boulton & Co. (from London). Cornwallis Pottery, Stapleton Road, Bristol.  This is the only manufactory in the kingdom for the exclusive production of plug, closet, sanitary and lavatory basins of all descriptions. M., B. & Co have purchased these extensive premises, which were formerly used as a tip factory and foundry, and converted the same into a Staffordshire Pottery, are now producing from fifteen hundred to two thousand of these articles weekly, and, from their intimate knowledge of, as well as their long practical acquaintance with, this peculiar business, they can manufacture cheaper than any other house.  They invite especial attention to their drab hopper basin and trap, at 7s 6d each, delivered in any part of the kingdom, and where large quantities are required a liberal discount is allowed.  Orders for white, drab, marbled, blue-printed, enamelled and gilt goods attended to on the shortest notice.  London Depot: 22 Anderson’s Buildings, City Road.  NB. On sale, two lathes, a drilling machine, a facing machine, a punching machine, a bending machine, a stove, a large fan, a pair of shears; also a great variety of patterns and tools used in the foundry business, and which must be removed before M.B. & Co. can complete their alterations’.

In 1855 the directories listed Mayer, Boulton & Company as porcelain and earthenware manufacturers and stoneware potters.  However by June 1855 they were involved in bankruptcy proceedings: ‘Re Mayer, Boulton and Co., Bristol, potters.  Mr Leonard, for the assignees, applied for an adjournment of the last examination for a fortnight, with a view to supercede the bankruptcy.  An arrangement, he said, was in contemplation by which the creditors would get 4s in the pound; whereas if the matter were carried through the court they would not get 6d.  The estate was a peculiar one, being a pottery, and one of the assignees, who was himself a practical potter, had consented to take the works and to pay the compensation mentioned.  A meeting of creditors had been held, at which all who were present assented to his proposition, and he (Mr Leonard) believed that those at a distance would come into it.  It was for the purpose of communicating with them that the adjournment was asked’.

In September 1855 they were again before the bankruptcy court for their last examination which gave details of their finances.  The period comprised in their balance sheet is 1 year and 4 months. The bankrupts commenced with a capital of £410.19s.10d; the unaccrued creditors amount to £2744.13s.11d; creditors holding security £1901.13s.3d; liabilities £1396.19s.1d; net profits £322.18s.1d; losses £1135,12s.1d; amount drawn out by the partners £330.16s.6d; assets £743.4s.2d.  Mr Mayer was briefly examined as to the amount of capital with which the bankrupts commenced business, and also as to some accommodation bill transactions, and the amount expended on the Cornwallis Pottery, after which the bankruptcy was passed.

The pottery seems to have been carried on by a firm trading as Morgan and Hawley.  The identity of the Morgan in this partnership is not known but the Hawley was probably the potter James George Hawley.  These men may have been trustees running the pottery on behalf of the creditors of Mayer, Boulton & Company, as in February 1858 the Cornwallis Pottery was advertised for sale by tender on instructions ‘from the Trustees’: ‘the valuable business, including the plant, machinery, with the manufactured and unmanufactured stock-in-trade, of Messrs Morgan and Hawley, manufacturers of earthenware, porcelain, and sanitary goods. The plant comprises steam engine and boiler, colour mill, two glaze mills, a pair of stampers, pug mill, lathes, throwing wheels, implements, tools, printing presses, copper plates, a variety of moulds, blocks and cases, and working moulds, and other effects.  The stock includes a general assortment of printed, sponged, biscuit, cream-coloured, and sanitary ware; saggars, closet, china and black clays, with a variety of materials used in the trade.  A large amount has been recently expended in the improvement of the pottery, which is now replete with every convenience for carrying on the business, and comprises one biscuit kiln, two glaze kilns, one fritt kiln, one enamelling kiln, workshops, storerooms, stable and large yard.  There are also a good dwelling-house and garden attached’.

In February 1858 the contents of the pottery were also advertised for sale consisting of: ‘the extensive stock in trade, plant, fixtures, horse, carts, and effects of Messrs Morgan and Hawley, Cornwallis Pottery, Stapleton Road.  The stock consists of a general assortment of printed dinner, tea, breakfast and toilet ware; jugs, mugs, and a variety of articles adapted for family purposes; also sanitary goods of all descriptions, and a quantity of biscuit and clay ware; saggar, closet, china, black and blue clays, with a variety of materials used in the trade.  The plant comprises colour mills, two glaze mills, a pair of stampers, pug mills, lathes, throwing wheels, various implements, three printing presses, variety of copper-plate engravings, moulds, blocks, cases, and working moulds; counting house and other fixtures and effects. One enamelling, one glaze and one frit kiln. One capital chestnut gelding, one cart, one crank axle, harness, chaff cutter, etc.’

The directories for 1858 list Mayer and Company as earthenware manufacturers at the Cornwallis Pottery, but their period of operation must have been very short as in June 1858 the Cornwallis Pottery was again advertised for sale on the instructions of the ‘first mortgagee’: ‘Lot 1. The whole of the manufactory, standing on an area 200 feet by 70, comprising a steam engine and boiler; two glaze, two enamel, one biscuit, and one fritt kilns; two biscuit and one glost warehouses; press, printing, and painting rooms; workshop, stable, counting house, and all other buildings and erections thereon … Lot 8. All that brick-built messuage or dwelling-house and garden, adjoining the last lot, containing ten rooms and having a supply of both sorts of water’. Also being sold were six plots of ground well adapted as sites for cottages.

The pottery was again advertised for sale in July 1859 and in May 1860 a vertical steam engine was for sale at the Cornwallis Pottery.

The pottery does not seem to have operated after 1858.

Wares produced

Earthenwares, sanitary goods and stonewares.

Stapleton Road Pottery 3

3 Regina Place, Stapleton Road.
(also Queen Street and St Philip’s Marsh)

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1857-1868 Frederick Wildgoose.

The pottery closed.

It is not known when this pottery was established.  Frederick Wildgoose traded as a brick and tile maker at 3 Easton Buildings, Easton Road from 1852 to 1853, at 16 Victoria Place, Stapleton Road in 1854 and at 3 Regina Place, Stapleton Road from 1855 to 1856.  The first reference to a pottery was in 1857 at the 3 Regina Place premises when Wildgoose was trading as a ‘brown ware pottery, brick and tile maker’.

Although his address was given as 3 Regina Place until 1868, there was a reference to his pottery in Queen Street in February 1860: ‘Stoneware and redware. Wholesale and retail purchasers of the above goods are respectfully informed that the best and cheapest place in Bristol for improved white-glazed stoneware and redware, of every description, is at F. Wildgoose’s stoneware pottery, Queen Street, Castle Street, Bristol. Where a good stock of every description of the above goods is constantly on sale. Flower pots, ornamental vases, etc, at remarkably low prices. Also some good seconds ware at half price’.

In 1860 he was exporting earthenware and red ware to Guernsey and Jersey.  The 1861 census showed him as a brick and tile manufacturer employing 7 men and 4 boys and living at Regina Place.

In February 1862 he advertised: ‘Flower pots … for sale, at a reduced price … also some well made, hard burnt rhubarb and seakale pots, which may be seen and price known by applying to F. Wildgoose’s red ware pottery, St Philip’s Marsh’.  A court case in 1865 involving Frederick Wildgoose and Alfred Niblett referred to Wildgoose as the proprietor of a ‘brick and tile yard at St Philip’s Marsh, together with a pottery adjoining’.

The last reference to the pottery was in 1868 and by 1871 Wildgoose had become a commission agent.

Wares produced

He was originally a brick and tile maker, brown ware first being mentioned in 1857 and improved white-glazed stoneware and redware in 1860.  His products included flower pots, ornamental vases, rhubarb pots and seakale pots.

Temple Back Pottery 1

(known as the Temple Pottery and the Temple Stoneware Pottery)
Temple Back (originally known as Commercial Road), Temple parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1801-1803 Richard Skidmore.
1803-1818 Edward Patience.
1818-1847 Jonathan Flood.
From 1821 to 1826 he was in partnership with John Bright I, trading as Flood & Company.
1848-1851 Charles Webb.
1851-1859 Mrs Leah Webb.
1859-1873 William Hutchings I.
1873-1888 James George Hawley.
1888-1901 George Henry Hawley and James Alfred Hawley, trading as Hawley & Company and Hawley Brothers.

The pottery closed.

Richard Skidmore was a bricklayer and potmaker and in 1801 he was listed as a ‘potmaker for glass houses’, which suggests he was making crucibles for use in glass furnaces.  In 1792 he was located in Thomas Street but by 1801 his address was given as Temple Back.  It is not clear whether he was operating the Temple Back Pottery 1 although it may be more than coincidental that he stopped being listed in the directories in 1803, the same year that Edward Patience started taking apprentices as a potter or stone potter in Temple Back.

Edward Patience may have originally been in partnership with Samuel and Thomas Gough, as their partnership as stoneware manufacturers was dissolved in 1805.  From 1806 to 1807 he was trading as Edward Patience and Company, but from 1808 to 1818 he appears to have been working alone as a brown stone potter at Temple Back.  He seems to have got into financial difficulties as in February 1818 his stock in trade was advertised for auction ‘under distress for rent’ and included ‘all the extensive and valuable stock in trade, materials of two large-size burning kilns, numerous manufacturing implements, some articles of household furniture; and other effects of Mr Edward Patience, stone potter, at his manufactory, Temple Backs’.  In March two further advertisements appeared concerning the auction of ‘an extensive variety of brown stone, and other ware, numerous fire bricks, an assortment of clay and other articles’ and a ‘large quantity of spirit, spruce and ginger beer, soda water, pickling, preserve and other jars; assortment of different kinds of earthenware and numerous other effects’.

The pottery was taken over by Jonathan Flood who was listed as a red ware potter at Temple Back from 1818.  By 1821 he had entered into a partnership with John Bright I and the firm traded as Flood and Company until 1826.  In 1821 the pottery was advertised for sale when it was described as ‘a pottery and warehouse … now in the occupation of Messrs Flood and Bright, stone ware potters. These premises have a frontage, next the Commerical Road, of about 30 feet, and extend 170 feet in depth’.

In 1827 Flood exported earthenware to Jamaica and he continued trading on his own after John Bright I left the partnership.  Between 1828 and 1834 he also ran the St Philip’s Pottery 5 and produced bricks and tiles from premises on St Philip’s Marsh.

He was probably the Jonathan Flood who died aged 73 and was buried at Temple church in February 1847.  The pottery was then taken over by Charles Webb who had married Jonathan Flood’s daughter, Leah, in October 1835.  At that time Webb was described as a chemist.  Charles Webb ran the pottery until 1851, producing red ware, water and draining pipes and chimney pots.  He died in 1851 and the pottery was subsequently run by his widow, Leah, who advertised: ‘Flood’s red ware pottery, and draining pipe manufactory, Temple Back, Bristol. Leah Webb (widow of the late Mr Charles Webb) begs respectfully to inform her patrons and friends, and the public generally, that she will continue to carry on, at the above named premises, the business formerly and for many years conducted by her father, the late Mr Jonathan Flood, and since his death by herself and her deceased husband, with so much success; and she hopes, by the same prompt attention which has hitherto been paid by her to all departments of the business, to obtain future favours as liberally as heretofore’.

In 1851 she was a red ware manufacturer employing 12 men and between 1855 and 1858 she exported red ware, brown stone ware and clay pipes to St John’s, Newfoundland.  The pottery was advertised for sale in August 1859: ‘To redware potters. To be disposed of, the business of a redware potter, situated on Temple Backs, which has been carried on for the last half century by the late Mr Jonathan Flood, and since his decease by his daughter, Mrs Webb.  The trade is in full work; the stock and plant to be taken at a valuation, and a lease of the premises will be granted. Apply to Mrs Webb, Redware Pottery, Temple Back’.

The pottery was purchased by William Hutchings I who ran it together with the Barton Hill Pottery and the Pipe Lane Pottery.  In 1861 Hutchings was employing 20 men and 11 boys, though presumably spread across his three potteries. He was listed as a red ware, garden and chimney pot manufacturer and between 1861 and 1863 he exported red ware to Guernsey, Jersey and Barbados.

The Temple Back Pottery 1 was advertised to let in April 1873 and it had been taken over by James George Hawley by the end of that year when he advertised for ‘a man to glaze and set kilns, etc., also a haulier. Man used to pottery work indispensable. J.G. Hawley, Temple Pottery, Temple Backs’ and also ‘an experienced man to glaze, etc.’.

Between 1875 and 1888 Hawley was listed as a stoneware manufacturer although it is clear that he also produced red wares as in 1875 he advertised a large quantity of chimney pots in all sizes and a stock of flower pots and stands.  Details of his products are given in the following description of his exhibits in the 1884 Industrial and Fine Arts Exhibition:
‘Hawley, Temple Back, Bristol. At Stand 104 … Mr Hawley exhibits from his pottery, Temple Back, a well-arranged and complete selection of stoneware for all purposes. Amongst it is a small collection of stone rustic ware, fired at a great heat in order to guarantee its resisting the effects of severe weather and constant exposure.  This advantage will be appreciated by those requiring boxes for window sills, jardinieres, vases, etc. Mr Hawley is now devoting special attention to these articles, which he is for the first time introducing to the public. But amongst the general selection of stoneware referred to are specimens suitable for brewers, wine and spirit merchants, dry-salters, wholesale chemists, grocers, oilmen, jam and pickle manufacturers, and numerous articles for domestic purposes including filters, fancy vases, decanters, claret jugs and water bottles. On this stand also Messrs Hawley and Son exhibit pipes from 24 inches long down to two inches, including fancy cutty pipes, plain and coloured in majolica, and enamelled colours, and many other descriptions made for exporting’.

‘J.G.Hawley, Temple Stone Ware Pottery, Temple Back. At Stand 88 Mr Hawley illustrates the different processes of forming shapes, etc. A thrower with an attendant to ‘wedge’ the clay for him is at work at a potter’s wheel, and the ease and skill with which the lump of clay is shaped as the wheel revolves appears to greatly interest throngs of spectators. At the same stand Messrs Hawley and Son, tobacco pipe manufacturers, have workmen engaged in the process of pipe making, and these divide with the thrower the interest of many visitors curious as to the potter’s art’.

James George Hawley died in April 1888 and the firm was then run by his sons, George Henry Hawley and James Alfred Hawley, trading as Hawley and Company and Hawley Brothers.  They carried on the same trade as their father, producing stonewares and clay tobacco pipes.  Part of their premises was advertised to be sold or let in August 1889 when it was described as: ‘extensive freehold warehouses, premises, and yards, known as Harris’s Yard, Temple Backs. The property comprises a warehouse situated at the entrance to Harris’s Yard, with frontage and cart entrance to Temple Backs, now and for some time past in the occupation of Messrs J.G. Hawley and Sons Potteries, at the annual rent of £25’.

The pottery was last recorded in 1901 and probably closed in that year, as in the 1901 census George Henry Hawley was recorded as a commercial traveller and James Alfred Hawley as a wholesale cutler and electroplate factor.

Wares produced

Under Richard Skidmore the pottery produced crucibles for glasshouses.
Edward Patience was a stoneware potter.
Jonathan Flood was a red ware potter and water pipe manufacturer, although there are references to him producing stoneware.
The Webbs produced red earthenwares, including chimney pots and garden pots.
The Hawley family were red ware and stoneware manufacturers.

Temple Back Pottery 2

Temple Back (originally known as Commercial Road), Temple parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1806-1810 Roger Yabbicom and Henry Yabbicom I.
1810-1842 Henry Yabbicom I.
1843-1862 Henry Yabbicom II.

The pottery closed

From 1806 the directories listed Roger Yabbicom and Henry Yabbicom I, trading as Yabbicom and Son, as operating both the St Philip’s Pottery 3 and their new pottery in Temple Back.  Roger Yabbicom died in March 1810 and the Temple Back Pottery 2 was then carried on by Henry Yabbicom I, producing sugar, chimney and garden pots.

The pottery was insured with the Sun Insurance in 1821 when it was described as ‘Henry Yabbicom of Bristol, potter. On his set of pot works in one building in the parish of Temple … stone and tiled (a stove therein) £800, stock and utensils therein only £100. Stable, counting houses and warehouse all adjoining near £100’.

The St Philip’s Pottery 3 closed in 1842 on Edward Yabbicom’s death, with Henry Yabbicom II, the son of Henry Yabbicom I, taking over the Temple Back Pottery 2 and concentrating production there.  He was described in the directories as a manufacturer of brown stone ware, improved water pipes, pantiles, firebricks and chimney pots.

In February 1861 it was probably Yabbicom’s pottery that was advertised for sale described as: ‘most eligible land, with the erections thereon, at Temple Backs … for very many years past and now occupied as a pottery, with a frontage of 250 feet, and 56 feet in depth, and immediately contiguous to the termini of the Great Western, Midland and Bristol and Exeter Railways …’.  The pottery does not seem to have sold as in February 1862 Yabbicom was advertising: ‘To millwrights and others. To be sold, very cheap, two large crushing mills’ and in March of the same year ‘To spirit, oil and colour merchants, earthenware dealers, and others. To be sold, at a very great reduction in price, the consequence of the owner declining the business, a quantity of stoneware goods, glazed inside and out with the new improved glaze; also a quantity of red ware chimney and garden pots and stands. Apply Mr Yabbicom, Pottery, Temple Backs’.

The pottery closed in 1862 and does not appear to have operated again after that date.

Wares produced

Stonewares, improved water pipes, red ware chimney pots, garden pots, stands, pantiles and fire bricks.

Temple Gate Pottery

(known as Powell’s Pottery)
Temple Gate, Temple parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1830-1854 William Powell.
From 1816 to 1830 he was in partnership with Thomas Powell.
From 1831 to 1832 he was in partnership with John Powell.
From 1833 he ran the pottery alone.
1854-1906 William Augustus Frederick Powell and Septimus Powell, trading as William Powell & Sons.

The pottery closed and the business was amalgamated with Price, Sons & Co. in 1907 (see the St Thomas Street Pottery 2).

From 1816 to 1830 William Powell had run the St Thomas Street Pottery 1 in partnership with Thomas Powell, who was probably his brother.  In 1830 they closed that pottery and moved their business to new premises at Temple Gate where they had established a ‘brown stone pottery and Stourbridge glass warehouse’ and advertised that ‘William and Thomas Powell beg to inform their friends and the public, that they have removed their stoneware pottery from Thomas Street, to their premises at Temple Gate …’.  Thomas Powell left the partnership and in 1831 and 1832 the firm traded as William and John Powell, John being William’s brother. They were described as ‘brown stone potters, patentees and manufacturers of stone ware sugar moulds’.  Between 1831 and 1832 they exported stoneware, including bottles, to Limerick, Cork, Waterford, Belfast, Dublin, Newry, Guernsey, Jersey, New York, Madeira and Jamaica.

In 1833 William Powell was running the pottery alone and the directories described his business as ‘brown stone ware, glass bottle and patent sugar mould manufacturer, inventor and sole manufacturer of the improved stoneware which is glazed inside and out with a glaze warranted to resist acids, and will not absorb’.  Between 1833 and 1854 William Powell was exporting stoneware to Ireland, the Channel Islands, Madeira, Portugal, the West Indies, the United States of America, Canada, India and Australia.

William Powell seems to have run the business with a firm hand as in May 1839 he was charged with a violent assault on a young lad who worked for him who had been accused of stealing money.  He was ‘taken into the counting house, where Mr Powell was sitting. He denied the accusation whereupon Mr Powell snatched up a stick and struck him several times, inflicting a severe wound in his head, the effects of which kept him in bed for four days.  Mr Powell was fined 20s and costs’.

William died in March 1854 and in his will he specified that the pottery should be run by his sons, Septimus Powell as general manager and William Augustus Frederick Powell as superintendent of the stoneware pottery, the firm trading as William Powell and Sons.

In 1865 an insurance policy was taken out on the Temple Gate Pottery which described it as ‘Pottery buildings all communicating £1,750. Shed, warehouses, clay mills, crushing mill and steam engine and boiler house all communicating £50. Lodge £50. Stable £50. Basket shop £200. And on fire engine house and loft £50.  A policy taken out in the same year on the contents of the pottery mentions ‘stock, utensils and fixtures in the buildings all communicating used as a shed, warehouses, clay mills, crushing mill and steam engine and boiler house £100. The steam engine and the machinery, worked thereby in the last named buildings £400, stock and utensils in stable £60’.

In the census returns William A.F. Powell was described as a ‘glass manufacturer’, which was the other part of the family business, whereas Septimus Powell was described in 1861 as a stoneware manufacturer employing 50 men and 20 boys, in 1871 as a master potter, employing 40 men and 20 boys, and in 1881 as a stoneware potter employing 40 men, 14 girls and 3 boys.

In 1901 the following advertisement appeared: ‘William Powell and Sons. Improved-glazed spirit jars. Inventors and original manufacturers of the Bristol stoneware, spirit, treacle and vinegar jars (wicker & plain), drip pans, barrels, stoneware ale, porter and giner beer bottles. Improved water filters, jugs, pans, pickerling and preserve jars and an especial registered air tight pot. Wm. Powell and Sons have introduced a new and effective way of marking. Name and trade mark, etc., on jars in colour’.

William A.F. Powell died in February 1906 leaving effects valued at an enormous £168,842.14s.3d.  Following his death William Powell and Sons amalgamated with Price, Sons and Company in 1907, the firm becoming Price, Powell and Company.  The Temple Gate Pottery closed in 1906 and the new firm operated from Price’s premises at the St Thomas Street Pottery 2.

On 21 December 1907 a charity called ‘The Church Lands’ proposed the granting of a building lease on the pottery recently occupied by W. Powell and Sons, and described as ‘a piece of land containing 4,540 square yards … with buildings thereon, situate between Pile Street and Redcliff Mead Lane, at Temple Gate’.

Wares produced


Finds of waste pottery and kiln material

David Dawson reported the finding of two stoneware sugar moulds in 1978 during redevelopment of the site of the Temple Gate Pottery. The moulds were identical and were 520mm high and 215mm in diameter at the mouth.  They were made of the typical Bristol grey stoneware fabric, have a dark brown ferruginous salt glaze and had the clear impressed mark ‘W. & T. POWELL – PATENTEES – BRISTOL’.
(BRSMG accession no. Q1845).

Temple Street Pottery

(known as Mary Orchard’s Pottery)
Temple Street, Temple parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1696-c1721 Mary Orchard.

The first reference to Mary Orchard in connection with pottery production was on 15 May 1696 when she exported 123 pieces of earthenware to Dublin.  After that she was regularly exporting ‘English earthenware’ (presumably tin-glazed earthenware) to Cork, Dublin, Madeira, Nevis, Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, Montserrat, Carolina, Boston and Newfoundland.

Mary Orchard took her first apprentice with her ‘co-partners’ in May 1698 and took a further nine apprentices in her own right between 1702 and 1720.  In the apprenticeship records she was described variously as a potmaker, mugmaker, gallypotmaker or potter and her apprentices were to be taught the art of gallypotmaking, potmaking, mugmaking and glass or white glass making.  The work of glass and white glass making probably refers to the production of ‘frit’ for glazing the wares.

In March 1701 Mary Orchard leased a property for ten years in Temple Street on which she could build ‘one or more pothouse or pothouses’ from John Knight of New Sarum in Wiltshire and William Andrews, a merchant of Bristol, and described as ‘All that messuage or tenement of him the said John Knight scituate lyeing and being in Temple Streete in the parish of Temple … Together with all the garden stable pothouse and warehouse thereto belonging thereon lately erected and built And alsoe all and singular roomes kitchens halls parlours chambers sollars shopps lofts lights pavements wayes water easements … And alsoe liberty for them the said William Andrews and — Orchard … to erect in some part of the said garden one or more pothouse or pothouses …’.

Mary Orchard made her will in April 1721 but lived for almost another ten years, her burial being recorded at St Mary Redcliffe church in December 1730.  She was still exporting earthenware in December 1721 but in the Port Book studied for 1726 no exports were recorded in her name.  It is assumed she had given up the Temple Street Pottery sometime between 1721 and 1726.

Wares produced

Tin-glazed earthenwares.

124 Temple Street Pottery

Temple Street, Temple parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1797-1798 Joseph Gadd and Charles Price I.
1798-1804 Charles Price I and Joseph Read, trading as Price & Read.
1805-1820 John Duffett I.
1821-1836 John Milsom (from 1823-1825 he was in partnership with Edward Melsom, trading as Milsom & Melsom).
1836-1858 Edward Melsom and Francis Melsom I.
1858-1861 Edward Melsom.
1861-1867 Francis Melsom II.

The pottery closed.

Joseph Gadd and Charles Price I moved from the Counterslip Pottery to the 124 Temple Street Pottery in 1797.  Gadd died in April 1798 and by 1799 Charles Price I formed a partnership with Joseph Read, the firm being listed in the directories from 1799, trading as Price and Read, brown stone potters.  Joseph Read died in December 1803 and, although Charles Price I carried on the business alone, the firm traded as Price and Read until 1817.  In 1804 Charles Price I moved from the 124 Temple Street Pottery to the premises next door at the 123 (or 125) Temple Street Pottery.

John Duffett I, a red ware potter, then took over the 124 Temple Street Pottery and by 1817 he was also operating the Pipe Lane Pottery on Temple Back.  In 1820 John Duffett I moved all his business to the Pipe Lane Pottery and the 124 Temple Street Pottery was taken over by John Milsom.  In 1823 he entered into a partnership with Edward Melsom, the firm trading as Milsom and Melsom, stone ware potters and patent water pipe manufacturers.  A survey of Temple parish in 1823 lists 124 Temple Street as being occupied by Edward Melsom as a dwelling house, stoneware shop and manufactory.

In November 1825 the partnership between Milsom and Melsom, brown stone potters, was dissolved and John Milsom carried on operating the 124 Temple Street Pottery alone until 1836 when he moved his business to the Redcliff Street Pottery 3.

The 124 Temple Street Pottery was purchased for £410 by Edward and Francis Melsom I in March 1836 when it was described as the ‘messuage together with the potters kiln and other erections and buildings thereon then in the tenure of John Melsom, stone potter’.  They had previously been operating the St Philip’s Pottery 4.  In 1851 Francis Melsom II was described as a ‘master potter, employing 8 men’ and they were listed in the directories as being ‘stoneware and patent water pipe manufacturers’.

Francis Melsom II died in December 1858 and Edward Melsom carried on the business alone being described in the 1861 census as a ‘stoneware manufacturer employing 9 men and 7 boys’ and in the directories as a ‘white glazed and patent stone ware potter and patent water pipe manufacturer’.

In 1861 the pottery was taken over by Francis Melsom II, the son of Francis Melsom I and he continued the business until 1867 when the pottery closed.

Wares produced

Under Charles Price and Joseph Read: stonewares.
Under John Duffett: red earthenwares.
Under John Milsom and subsequent proprietors: stonewares, including patent water pipes and, under Edward and Francis Melsom I and II, ‘white glazed’ wares.

125 (or 123) Temple Street Pottery

(documents give the address variously as 123 or 125 Temple Street)
Temple parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1781-1804 James Alsop I.
1805-1817 Charles Price I, trading as Price and Read.
1818-1822 Charles Price I.
1822-1844 Charles Price I and Charles Price II, trading as Charles Price and Son.
1845-1849 Charles Price I, Charles Price II and Joseph Read Price, trading as Charles Price and Sons.
1849-1863 Charles Price II and Joseph Read Price.
1864-1869 Joseph Read Price, Charles Price III and Samuel Newell Price and Alfred Newell Price, trading as Joseph and Charles Price and Brothers.

The pottery is not mentioned after 1869 and production was transferred to the St Thomas Street Pottery 2.

It is not known when James Alsop I established the pottery, but he was listed in the directories as a potter or brown stone potter in Temple Street from 1781.  However he had been paying rates on a property in Temple Street from at least 1776 so it is possible that the pottery had been operating from that date.  In 1804 Alsop moved to the St Thomas Street Pottery 1 and his pottery in Temple Street was taken over by Charles Price I, who had previously been working next door at the 124 Temple Street Pottery.  The firm traded as Price and Read although Joseph Read had died in 1803.

The Price family took over the St Thomas Street Pottery 2 in 1809, but they continued to use the 125 (or 123) Temple Street Pottery until 1869.  For the full history of Price’s potteries see under the St Thomas Street Pottery 2.

Wares produced

Stoneware vessels of all kinds, including patent water pipes.

131 Temple Street Pottery

Temple Street, Temple parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1775-1779 Thomas Fletcher.
c1781-1811 John Hope.
1812-1822 John Hope and John Bright I, trading as Hope and Bright.
1822-1830 John Bright I.
1831-1840 John Bright I and Joseph Bright I, trading as J. and J. Bright.
1840-1848 Joseph Bright I.
1848-1852 Jane and Ann Bright.
1853 Jane Bright, trading as Bright & Company.
1853-1863 Charles Price II and Joseph Read Price.
1864-1869 Joseph Read Price, Charles Price III and Samuel Newell Price and Alfred Newell Price, trading as Joseph and Charles Price and Brothers.

The pottery is not mentioned after 1869 and production was transferred to the St Thomas Street Pottery 2.

The pottery was established by Thomas Fletcher in about 1775 when he was listed in Sketchley’s directory as a potter with an earthenwarehouse at 131 Temple Street.  He was paying rates on his property in Temple Street until March 1779, but subsequently the rates were being paid by his widow, Sarah.  Sarah Fletcher was granted a licence to marry the potter, John Hope in December 1780 and it is assumed that Hope acquired the pottery through this marriage.

John Hope was paying rates on the pottery by 1781 and by 1783 was listed in the directories as a potter in Temple Street.  Over the following years he was variously described as a stoneware potter and a patent water pipe manufacturer.  In May 1811 John Hope insured his property in Temple Street which consisted of ‘his dwelling house … not exceeding £100 … contents therein … not exceeding £200. Pottery adjoining but not communicating, a brick wall between, not exceeding £400’.

In 1811 John Hope entered into partnership with John Bright I, the firm trading as Hope and Bright.  John Hope died in 1822 and in April 1823 notice was given ‘that the partnership … between John Hope and John Bright, of Temple Street, carrying on the trade of potters, stoneware and patent water pipe manufacturers, under the firm of Hope and Bright was dissolved and determined from the 31st day of December now last past [1822] … Mrs Hope returns her sincere thanks for the favours received by her deceased husband; and informs her friends and the public that the business will be carried on in future, in all its branches, by his late copartner, John Bright’.

Between 1810 and 1831 Hope and Company, Hope and Bright and J. Bright exported stoneware (including garden pots and earthen pipes, stone pots and bottles) to Guernsey, Jersey, Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Oporto, Lisbon, Grenada, Barbados, Jamaica, St Vincent, Antigua, St Thomas, Demerara, Newfoundland, Quebec, New Brunswick and New York.

From 1831 John Bright I entered into a partnership with his brother, Joseph Bright I, the firm trading as J. and J. Bright.  They were listed in the directories as stoneware and patent water pipe manufacturers, and between 1831 and 1840 they exported stoneware to Dublin, Guernsey, Jersey, Quebec, Newfoundland, Barbados, Jamaica and Antigua.

In October 1840 Joseph Bright I advertised that the partnership with his brother had ended and he also advertised that ‘the original stoneware pottery and patent water pipe manufactory, opposite Temple church, Temple Street … in returning thanks for favours received whilst in partnership with his brother, Mr John Bright, begs to inform his friends and the public, that he intends continuing in the business of a stoneware potter in all its branches on his own account and respectfully solicits continuance of their patronage and support. 131 Temple Street’.

In April 1843 the pottery was advertised for sale, when it was described as ‘All those truly desirable and extensive freehold premises, situate in Temple Street … comprising a capital shop, with dwelling house and offices, and having a frontage towards the street of forty feet or thereabouts and extending in depth backwards about one hundred and eighty feet, with an excellent hauling-way thereto, and for about one hundred feet running behind the adjoining premises, where the width is about sixty feet. Together with the warehouse and lofts, four large brick kilns, sheds, drying rooms, workshops, and every other conveniences for carrying on the brown stone manufactory to a great extent; the whole now in the occupation of Mr J. Bright, brown stone ware manufacturer, by whom and his predecessors the said manufactory has been lucratively carried on upon the said premises for a long period of time’.

Joseph Bright I died in February 1848 and the pottery was taken over by his daughters, Jane and Ann Bright, and they carried on the business together until 1852.  They were described as stoneware and patent water pipe manufacturers and later as improved glazed stoneware, closet-pan, eject and water pipe manufacturers.  In 1851 Jane was described as a stoneware manufacturer, employing 6 men, 3 boys and 1 clerk, while Ann was listed as having no occupation.  This suggests that Jane was probably the working partner.  In 1852 Jane and Ann Bright exported 3,500 pieces of red and stoneware to Adelaide in Australia.

Ann left the partnership in 1852 and Jane carried on alone until 1853 when the pottery was taken over by the Price family.  This comprised Charles Price II and Joseph Read Price and, later Joseph Read Price, Charles Price III, Samuel Newell Price and Alfred Newell Price.

In October 1853 Charles and Joseph Read Price advertised that they were ‘manufacturers of the improved stone ware, having purchased the premises, with the entire stock-in-trade, fixtures and plant of the late firm of Messrs J. Bright & Co., 131 Temple Street, beg to inform their friends and those of the late firm that they are enabled, by the addition and enlargement of their works, to meet most effectively the demand for the home trade, and increased requirements for exportation …’.

In 1869 Charles Price II died and the Price family closed the 131 Temple Street Pottery and concentrated their production at the St Thomas Street Pottery 2.

Wares produced

Stoneware vessels of all kinds, including patent water pipes and, later, closet-pans.

Tower Harratz Pottery

Located on the site of Tower Harratz on the medieval Port Wall, Temple Back, Temple parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1695-1698 Richard Champneys.

In December 1694 Richard Champneys, a Bristol merchant, leased ‘all those ruinous and decayed storehouses, housings and buildings near and adjoining to Tower Harris in the parish of Temple between Templeback and Templemeades and reaching from the round tower which tower is not to be granted there downe to the river with the materials thereon and all appurtenances thereto belonging …’.

In September 1695 there was a reference to ‘the workehouse by the said Richard Champneys lately built intended for pottmaking’ adjoining Tower Harratz.  However by the first half of 1698 a rate book listed ‘Richard Champnyes for the pothouse void’ which indicates that the pottery was no longer being used.

This is the earliest recorded pottery in Bristol to have manufactured stoneware.  It is not known which master potter was working there.

Wares produced


Finds of waste pottery and kiln material

Stoneware waste has been found in the vicinity of Tower Harratz and this was reported on in full in:
Jackson, R. 2003. Late 17th-century stoneware waste from the Tower Harratz Pottery, Bristol. Journal of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology 37/2, 217-220.
The large number of stoneware wasters belonged entirely to vessels termed in contemporary documents as ‘gorges’, that is, globular-bodied, single-handled drinking vessels with elongated necks decorated by combing.  A colour wash which fires to a dark brown had been applied over the top of the vessel rims and externally but there was limited evidence for successful salt-glazing, the external surfaces of the sherds having a dull appearance.  Six sherds are illustrated.
The kiln furniture was limited to fragments of round saggars having four large knife-cut apertures in their sides and small cuts in their rims.  Two sherds of saggars are illustrated.
(HER no. 463; BRSMG accession no. 45/1994).

Tucker Street Pottery

Temple parish

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1734-1738 Paul Townsend.

The pottery closed.

Paul Townsend became a free gallypotmaker in July 1731 and by 1734 he had established and built his own ‘mugg-kiln’ in Tucker Street.  He took an apprentice as a potter in 1736 but by December 1738 he had been forced to close his pottery.  In February 1739 he petitioned the city council saying that ‘he had erected a mugg-kiln in Tucker Street … and therein expended the sum of one hundred and thirty pounds and carried on his trade there till the 19th day of December last when he was ordered to stop further working at the said kiln to which he had submitted although to his great detriment and prayed such relief in the prem’es as to the House shall deem meet …’.  He was subsequently granted £50 compensation.

By 1740 Paul Townsend had established the St Philip’s Pottery 1.

Wares produced

Paul Townsend was generally referred to as a gallypotmaker so it seems likely that the pottery was producing tin-glazed earthenware.

Two Mile Hill Pottery

(known as the Albert Pottery)
Two Mile Hill, St George.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1870 Possibly Ann Phipps.

There is a single reference to this pottery when it was advertised to let on 19 February 1870: ‘To be let, with immediate possession, Albert Pottery, Two Mile Hill, St George, near Bristol. For terms and particulars, apply to Mrs Ann Phipps, on the premises’.

Ann Phipps was the wife of Aaron Phipps, a master builder, who, in 1861, was employing 4 men and 4 boys.  Aaron died in August 1863.  The 1871 census recorded Ann Phipps as having no occupation and she was visiting Church Road, St George.  In 1881 she was a retired publican of 22 Two Mile Hill, St George.

Wares produced

Victoria Pottery Company

See the Bristol Victoria Pottery Company.

Water Lane Pottery

(sometimes known as the Temple Back or Bristol Pottery), Temple parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1682-1710 Edward Ward I.
1710-1712 Edward Ward II.
1712-1732 James Ward.
1732-1738 Thomas Ward I.
1738-1746 Frances Ward.
1746-1756 Thomas Cantle II.
1756-1777 William Taylor I.
Probably at some time during this period he was in partnership with his brother Joseph Taylor II.
He may also have been involved with his cousin, Thomas Taylor II, from about 1760 to 1768.
1777-1785 Richard Frank.
He may have been in partnership with his son, Thomas Frank II, from 1777 to about 1778 as the firm was trading as Richard Frank & Son.
1785-1788 Joseph Ring I.
1788 Joseph Ring I in partnership with Henry Carter and William Taylor I, trading as Ring & Taylor.
1788-1791 Elizabeth Ring in partnership with Henry Carter and William Taylor I, trading as Ring, Taylor & Carter.
1792-1797 Robert Ring in partnership with Henry Carter, trading as Ring & Carter.
1798-1800 Henry Carter.
1800-1813 Henry Carter in partnership with Joseph Ring II, trading as Henry Carter & Company.
1813 Henry Carter and Joseph Ring II in partnership with John Decimus Pountney.
1813-1815 Henry Carter in partnership with John Decimus Pountney, trading as Carter & Pountney.
1815-1816 John Decimus Pountney.
1816-1835 John Decimus Pountney in partnership with Edwin Allies, trading as Pountney & Allies.
1835-1836 John Decimus Pountney.
1837-1850 John Decimus Pountney in partnership with Gabriel Goldney, trading as Pountney & Goldney.
1850-1852 John Decimus Pountney.
1852-1872 Charlotte Fayle Pountney, trading as J.D. Pountney & Company, as Pountney, Edward & Company in 1857 and 1858 and then as Pountney & Company.
1872-1878 Halsted Sayer Cobden, trading as Pountney & Company.
1878-1883 Patrick Johnston and Mr Rogers, trading as Pountney & Company.
1883-1884 Patrick Johnston, trading as Pountney & Company.
1884-1885 Thomas Bertram Johnston, trading as Pountney & Company.

The pottery was then closed and production transferred to the Bristol Victoria Pottery.

It is not known precisely when the Water Lane Pottery was established.  Edward Ward I obtained his freedom in September 1682 and took his son, Edward Ward II, as an apprentice in February 1683.  It is assumed that the pottery was established between those dates.  Edward Ward I had previously been recorded as a gallypotmaker of Brislington and had presumably been working at the Brislington Pottery.

Edward Ward I was first recorded exporting ‘English earthenware’ to Jamaica on 9 January 1685 and during the next ten years he was exporting to Cork, Waterford and Dublin.  In March 1692 the churchwardens of Temple parish received 10 shillings from ‘Mr Edward Ward for halling through the parish wast’ [presumably pottery waste] and in November 1693 Edward Ward, potter, was noted as having a tenement in Temple Street.  In 1698/9, 1700/1 and 1703 he was paying rent on tenements on land formerly occupied by two ‘rack closes’ owned by St John of Jerusalem (that is, the Knights Templar) near Temple church.  In 1696 he was paying rates on a property in Temple parish where he was living with his wife, Deans, and children, Deans, James, Hannah, Sarah and Mary.

Between at least 1694 and 1702 he was paying rates on a mill at St Annes, Brislington, which he probably used for grinding materials for his glazes.  (This need for a mill was a continuing problem for the pottery.  By the 1780s a mill had been acquired at Woollard, near Pensford, Somerset, which was worked by a small stream but, as the production of the pottery increased, this too soon proved inadequate.  Hanham was next tried, and finally, years afterwards, a steam engine was erected in the pottery).

Edward Ward I was buried in February 1710.  His will, made three weeks before his death, shows that he was a wealth man.  In addition to ‘the houses and utensils of trade belonging to my potthouse and also the said potthouse’ which he left to his son Edward Ward II, he bequeathed a number of properties including two houses in Water Lane, two houses in Rack Close, a house in Temple Street, his house, stable and two closes of grounds on St Michael’s Hill, two houses in Bitton, Gloucestershire, three houses and parcels of ground in Compton Dando, Somerset, and four acres of ground in Keynsham, Somerset.

Edward Ward II took over the Water Lane Pottery and worked there as a gallypotmaker until his death in 1712.  In his will dated 2 April 1712 he left his brother, James, and John Lidiard, a Bristol clothier, his ‘messuage and tenement wherein I now dwell in Water Lane … with all the outhouses and buildings thereto belonging … and all other my houses, buildings, gardens, lands and hereditaments … there and elsewhere in the said parish of Temple’, which presumably included the Water Lane Pottery.

Following the death of Edward Ward II James Ward operated the Water Lane Pottery.  In 1721 he was exporting earthenware to Jamaica, Boston and Philadelphia and in 1726 he was exporting to Jamaica.  In 1732 his son, Thomas Ward I, started paying rates on the pottery and it seems likely that by then James Ward had retired from the business, and from at least 1734 James was referred to as a gentleman rather than a potter.  In August 1734 Mary Bristow, the daughter and surviving heir of Edward Ward II sold to Samuel Tipton and Thomas Page of Bristol, surgeons, ‘all that messuage, tenement and pothouse late in the possession of Edward Ward, since in the tenure of James Ward, but now in the possession of Thomas Ward, gallypotmaker, and also that other tenement wherein Edward Ward the elder, dec’d, late father of the beforenamed Edward Ward, dwelt … together with a close called the Rack Close containing one acre of ground (the same lying behind the tenement and pothouse now in the tenure of James Ward or his undertenants) all situate in Water Lane’.

Thomas Ward I probably died in 1738 as in 1739 his wife, Frances, was described as a widow.  She took over the Water Lane Pottery and in 1739 and 1741 she took apprentices as a gallypotmaker.

In April 1746 Thomas Cantle II advertised that ‘Notice is hereby given that the pot-house in Water Lane, Temple Street, late Ward’s, is now occupied, and the work carried out by Thomas Cantle jun., and Co., by whom all persons may be supplied with all sorts of earthenware, on most reasonable terms’.  Between June 1746 and October 1753, with his wife Bathsheba, he took 16 apprentices.   In April 1750 the Water Lane Pottery was advertised for sale by auction and was described as ‘a messuage or dwelling house and several buildings contiguous thereto, erected for carrying on the business of an earthen potter, with stables, a large court and all conveniences for carrying on that business together with a close of very good ground adjoining thereto called Rack Close containing about an acre … in the occupation of Mr Thomas Cantle, Potter and Co. at the yearly rent of £40 …’.

Despite the sale, Thomas Cantle II, who was the tenant, continued running the pottery until 1756 when it was taken over by William Taylor I who, from September of that year, was paying rates on the ‘Potthouse, Water Lane’ and between June 1756 and October 1762 he took 12 apprentices.  It appears that William Taylor I may have been in partnership with his brother, Joseph Taylor II, as they are both mentioned in an advertisement in July 1774 when some of their property was advertised to let: ‘several large warehouses with lofts over them, one stable and 3 stalls and a large commodious yard, situate upon Temple Backs, near the river, for many years past, in the occupation of Wm. And Jos. Taylor, potters, to whom apply; or to Richard Frank & Son on Redcliff Backs’.

His cousin, Thomas Taylor II, may also have been involved with William Taylor I in the pottery as his address was given as Water Lane in 1760 and he took apprentices as a potter in 1760 and 1768.

The pottery was taken over by Richard Frank together with his son, Thomas Frank II, as in June 1777 they advertised that ‘Richard Frank & Son, earthen and stone pot works are removed from Redcliff Backs to Water Lane, where they continue the same business in all its branches’.

In September 1784 an inventory and valuation of the contents of the pottery was prepared prior to the sale of the pottery to Richard Frank’s son-in-law, Joseph Ring I:
‘The stock and utensills in trade at the Pot House in Water Lane, Bristol, as appraised as following, viz:- Black ware £27.6s.2½d; Red china ware £3.16s.2d; Tortoishell ware 18s.0d; Blue and white sprig’d ware £14.15s.6d; Blue and white stone Staffordshire ware £2.18s.9½d; Dutch ware – 18 jugs, one to ye warp 18s.0d; Delph ware £7.5s.0d; 21 doz. and ½ copperplate tiles £4.4s.0d; Best Nottingham ware £25.16s.8½d; Blue china glaz’d ware £11.3s.2½d; Enamelled china glaze ware £14.8s.11½d; Common enamelled ware £3.13s.3d; Copperplate ware £2; Cream colour ware £90.13s.4½d; White stone ware £52.0s.9d; Brown stone ware £159.16s.11½d; Materials: 27 tons clay at 2s.6d, 80 bags sand at 1s.2d, 11 cwt salt at 5s.6d: £3.0s.6d; Tools: 324 pot boards, 3 benches, 1 pounding trough, 1 mixing trough, 1 clay chest, 3 compleat wheels and wheel frames with working benches, etc., moulds and drums for making slugs, kiln ladder, salting boxes, lignum vitae blocks and hand mill £10; Old iron pot in the yard 4s.6d’.

Richard Frank died in April 1785 and in May the same year it was announced that: ‘Joseph Ring, rectifier, raisin wine and vinegar maker, takes this opportunity to inform his friends, that he has removed his business to the Pottery, Water Lane, Temple-Street; and likewise has taken the pottery business carried on by his late father-in-law, Richard Frank, and returns his thanks to the merchants and others for continuing their favours.  The brown stone manufactory is carried on as usual and sold in the lowest terms’.

In June 1786 Ring commenced his preparations for manufacturing cream ware (otherwise known as Queen’s ware) and he engaged Anthony Hassells of Shelton in Staffordshire at £1.1s.0d a week to assist him.  Hassells had been producing cream ware and Ring purchased his stock, some one hundred and forty-eight dozens, and paid him £5.5s.0d for the cost of his journey to Bristol, £3.14s.6d for the expenses of the workmen who accompanied him, and £5.5s.0d for ‘moulds’.

In December 1786 Joseph Ring of the Bristol Pottery advertised that he ‘takes this opportunity to inform merchants and others, that he has established a manufactory of Queen’s and other earthenware, which he will sell on as low terms wholesale and retail, as any of the best manufactories in Staffordshire can render the same to Bristol’.  In 1787 the directories listed ‘Joseph Ring, the only manufacturer of Queen’s Ware’ at Temple Back.  One of his business cards, undated but probably of about 1787, states that ‘Joseph Ring, successor to Richard Frank in the pottery business, continues the manufactory of the Bristol stone ware and sells all sorts of Queen’s and other ware, wholesale and retail. Pieces of stone ware at twelve months credit: 1 gallon bottles – per hundred, 2 gallon bottles – ditto, full quart bottles – ditto, full 3 gallon bottles – ditto, pickling pots and other goods proportionately low’.

In January 1788 Joseph Ring entered into a partnership with William Taylor I and Henry Carter and at that time an inventory was made of all the stock and utensils of the Water Lane Pottery and an agreement made as to the amount of capital that each partner was to contribute to the business: ‘Ware, etc., as per list £1035.6s.9d; In the colour room £16.0s.9d; Lawns [sieves] £5.16s.0d; Office furniture and sundries £31.5s.3d; Utensils £449.13s.5d; Lease, machinery and utensils of the mill at Woollard when assigned over £500; Sundries to capital agreed to be brought into the partnership of Ring, Taylor and Carter under the firm of Ring and Taylor for carrying on the trade or manufactory of Queen’s Ware £4500; Joseph Ring his proportion of two thirds £3000; Taylor and Carter for their one third £1500′.  Henry Carter was from Woollard, which was coincidentally the location of the pottery’s mill.

Joseph Ring II died on 5 April 1788 ‘standing under a beam supporting a loft on which was a weight of goods … the said beam accidentally, casually and by misfortune by the weight broke and crushed him to death under the materials …’.  On 19 April 1788 it was announced that ‘the manufacture of Queen’s-ware on Temple Backs, is continued to be carried on in its several branches by the widow [Elizabeth] of the late Joseph Ring, and her partner, under the firm of Ring, Taylor and Carter’.

This partnership was dissolved on 31 December 1791 but Elizabeth Ring continued to manage the pottery’s ‘large and extensive ware-room’, first at 7 Bath Street and then, after 1796, at 14 Bath Street, Temple parish.  On 11 February 1792 it was reported that ‘the manufactory being now carried on in future by Robert Ring and Henry Carter, under the firm of Ring and Carter, who take this opportunity of claiming the attention of the merchants, captains, traders and the public in general, assuring them their orders shall be attended to with the utmost punctuality and dispatch’.

It is not known when Robert Ring died but in 1798 he stopped paying rates on the pottery and it was being run by Henry Carter alone.  In the directory for 1798 he was listed as ‘Henry Carter, only Queen’s ware manufactory, Water Lane, Temple Backs. Retail warehouse: 14 Bath Street’.  By 1800 Henry Carter had entered into a partnership with Joseph Ring II, the son of Joseph Ring I, the firm trading as Henry Carter and Company.

Between 1799 and 1815 Henry Carter and H. Carter and Company were exporting earthenware to Guernsey, Jersey, Waterford, Gijon (Spain), Ferrol (Spain), Ribadeo (Spain), Pontevedra (Spain), Cadiz, Santander, Malaga, Corunna, Vigo, Bilbao, Oporto, Lisbon, Gibraltar, Madeira, Jamaica, Barbados, Nevis, St Kitts, Trinidad, St Vincent, Honduras, Boston, Quebec and Newfoundland.

In March 1802 Henry Carter advertised: ‘Bristol Pottery, Temple Backs. Henry Carter, manufacturer of blue printed, enamelled table services, blue, green, and colour edged painted, and cream-coloured wares, etc, etc. Takes the liberty to solicit the orders of merchants, captains and dealers, which, in consequence of constantly employing more than one hundred people in the manufacturing of the above articles, he can execute at short notice, and on the most advantageous terms.  He also claims the attention of the public to his large and extensive Ware-Room, at Mrs. Ring’s, No. 14 Bath Street opposite the Porter Brewery, where families can be supplied with services, desert sets, etc. etc. – Also every other useful and ornamental article, and which, from his extensive connections, combined with his own manufacture, he is enabled to sell on much lower terms than any other person in this city.  Japanned tea trays, waiters, etc. etc.  Table and desert services, enamelled with arms, crests, cyphers, etc.’

Between 1807 and 1812 Joseph Ring II issued a number of advertisements for the china and glass warehouse at 14 Bath Street and he may have been concentrating on helping his elderly mother, Elizabeth, with the retail side of the business, while Henry Carter was more involved in manufacturing the wares.  The firm was generally referred to as Henry Carter and Company and described in the directories as ‘manufacturers of printed, painted, enamelled and cream coloured earthenwares … sugar, chimney and garden pot manufactory’.  By 1810 they had a coal yard on Temple Back, presumably primarily for importing Welsh coal for use in the pottery, which was advertised in October 1812 as ‘Pottery Coal Wharf, Temple Back.. Carter & Ring beg leave to inform their friends and the public, that they have on sale a constant supply of Welsh coal, of a very superior quality … Purchasers at this wharf will avoid the inconvenience arising from an accumulation of small coal as a great proportion is separated for the use of the pottery. The weight of each load is ascertained by a correct weighing machine, lately erected on an improved principle’.

In April 1813 Henry Carter, Joseph Ring II and John Decimus Pountney entered into a partnership, the assets of the pottery being valued at £11,425.4s.11d.  Ring died a month later and in July 1813 it was announced ‘Bristol Pottery and earthenware manufactory, Temple Backs. The firm of Carter, Ring and Pountney, being dissolved by the death of Mr Joseph Ring, the manufactory is continued by Henry Carter and John Decimus Pountney, under the firm of ‘Carter and Pountney’, who manufacture porcelain, black Egyptian, blue printed and enamelled table services, and every article requisite for the home and export trade. Crates calculated for the foreign markets ready to be shipped immediately; also, small family crates, for domestic use, forwarded to order’.

On 28 October 1815 the partnership between Henry Carter and John Decimus Pountney was dissolved and Pountney carried on running the pottery alone until 1816 when he entered into a partnership with Edwin Allies.  A description of the Water Lane Pottery was given in 1819 in Matthew’s directory: ‘Bristol Pottery. The earthen-ware manufactory, under the name of the Bristol Pottery, is on Temple Back.  It is carried on by Messrs Pountney and Allies, has been established several years, and is now on a large and extensive scale giving employment to about 200 men, women, and children. The articles they produce are similar to those of Mr. Wedgwood’s, and the other superior potteries of Staffordshire, and constitute, in addition to the home trade, a considerable article of export to all the foreign markets. They grind their materials by means of a large and powerful steam-engine, and the various processes of forming the ware, of the glazing, of the printing, the painting, the enamelling, etc. are peculiarly curious and interesting. Admission may be had by application to the proprietors at the counting-house on the premises’.

In 1821 Pountney purchased the whole of the freehold of the site of the Water Lane Pottery from Henry Carter and the Ring family.

The enormous export trade of the pottery is recorded between 1815 and 1852 when Pountney was shipping earthenware to Cork, Waterford, Dublin, Limerick, Guernsey, Jersey, Ostend, Hamburg, Bayonne, Malta, Gijon (Spain), Corunna, Bilbao, Rivadero (Spain), Viana (Spain), Lisbon, Santander, Oporto, St Ubes (Portugal), Naples, Palermo, Livorno (Italy), St Kitts, Nevis, Jamaica, Barbados, St Vincent, St Michaels (probably now Bridgetown), Trinidad, Antigua, Tobago, Grenada, St Thomas, Demerara, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Charleston, New York, New Orleans, Quebec, Montreal, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Rio de Janeiro, Camina (possibly Chile), Coast of Africa, Mauritius, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, Adelaide and Port Phillip.

On 28 March 1835 ‘Notice [was] given that the partnership subsisting between … John Decimus Pountney and Edwin Allies in the business of potters … under the firm of Pountney and Allies is this day dissolved by mutual consent’ and on 20 December 1836 Pountney formed a partnership with Gabriel Goldney.  On 24 June 1843 this partnership was extended for another seven years with Pountney holding 75% of the business and Goldney 25%.  On 12 October 1850 Gabriel Goldney was recorded as Governor of the Corporation of the Poor in Bristol and he stated that in consequence of the dissolution of the partnership at the Bristol Pottery he was going into the north of England, but that he was not, at present, going to remove his family from Bristol.

Pountney carried on running the pottery alone and in 1851 he was recorded as a potter employing 80 men, 60 women and 50 children.

Pountney died on 30 December 1852 and his funeral was reported in the Bristol Mercury: ‘The late J.D. Pountney, Esq. The remains of this respected gentleman … were interred on Tuesday in the family vault at Temple church. The melancholy cortege consisted of a chariot and pair, a hearse and four richly plumed, and three mourning coaches and pairs.  The body was also followed by about sixty of the workmen and apprentices of the deceased (who was proprietor of the Bristol Pottery)’.

On 22 January 1853 ‘Notice is hereby given that the Bristol Pottery, carried on for nearly forty years by the late Mr John D. Pountney, will in future be conducted under the firm of ‘J.D. Pontney and Co.’, by his widow, Mrs Charlotte Fayle Pountney, who respectfully solicits a continuance of the kind support so many years conferred on her late husband’.

On 16 September 1854 it was reported that ‘we have much pleasure in announcing that Messrs J.D. Pountney & Co. of the Bristol Pottery, have resolved to confer the half-holiday privilege on the numerous workpeople in their employ, by closing their establishment for the future at one o’clock on Saturdays’.

On 15 August 1857 ‘The Bristol Pottery, Temple Back. Pountney, Edwards & Co. (late J.D. Pountney & Co.), respectfully inform the nobility, gentry and inhabitants of Bristol, Clifton and the vicinities that they have fitted up a spacious showroom, at their manufactory, with a choice and varied assortment of porcelain & earthenware comprising patterns and designs of the most recherche description in dinner and dessert services, toilet, tea and breakfast sets, together with a carefully selected stock of useful goods which will enable visitors to purchase direct from the manufactory, and at the same time afford them an opportunity of inspecting the Working Department of one of the most ancient and interesting of all manufactures. The manufactory is open daily for the inspection of visitors’.

In March 1865 the Western Daily Press published a description of the Water Lane Pottery and the methods of production used:

‘It is our purpose in this article to give a detailed account of the different processes, carried on at this extensive place, which bears the distinctive name of The Bristol Pottery. The earthenware manufactured here is composed of calcined flint, Cornish feldspar, Dorsetshire clay, and china clay from Cornwall. By far the largest proportion consists of flint, which is brought from Dieppe, on the coast of France. Having been calcined till they are quite white, by a process similar to that of burning lime, the flint stones are put into a box lined with a series of bars of iron.  A couple of heavy ‘stampers’, loaded with iron at the ends, and lifted up and down alternately by the arms of a revolving shaft, reminding one somewhat of a giant on the treadmill, break the flints into small pieces, which pass through the iron bars. This action is similar to that of a mortar and pestle. The pieces are then placed into what is called the flint pan, a large circular machine paved with chertstone, from Bakewell in Derbyshire. An upright shaft with four arms, worked by steam, rotates in the centre of the pan, and propels four ‘runners’, weighing about a ton each, also composed of chertstone. The flint, mixed with a certain quantity of water, remains here for twelve hours, until it is ground as fine that it might be passed through a cambric handkerchief.  It is then blended with the other ingredients mentioned. The object of using flint is to whiten the ware and prevent it from warping too much in the ovens, and contracting in too great a degree. Poole blue clay is introduced on account of its high plasticity, and Cornish, though less so, is considerably whiter. Felspar, being a fusible substance, is used to bind the whole of the mass together in the potter’s kiln. These materials are brought to a certain specific gravity in a slop state. An imperial pint of flint weighs 32 oz; Cornish stone, 32 oz; china clay, 26 oz; and blue clay, 24 oz. The proper quantity of each is gauged into a mixing tub, and then the whole ‘body’ is passed through very fine wire sifters, leaving every particle of grit behind. It is then transferred to the slip kilns, which are bedded with quarries made of fire clay, and kept at a temperature of about 212 deg (Farenheit) till the water has evaporated, and the mass is brought to a certain consistency adapted for working. In this state it is sometimes like putty, both in appearance and softness. Being passed through pug-mills, the vertical shafts in the centre of which are armed with knives, it exudes at the bottom in an even and compressed form, and is cut off in requisite lengths with a piece of wire, and is now ready for being worked.
The formation of the doughy-looking material into articles of domestic use is accomplished either by ‘throwing’ and ‘turning’, or by ‘moulding’. The first of these processes is undergone on the potter’s wheel – a simple piece of mechanism of the greatest antiquity.  Such articles only as have a circular form are made in this manner.  A large wheel, turning an endless band, causes the rapid rotation of a vertical shaft, upon which is fixed a small circular disc. The wheel is turned by a female, and an artificer is seated in such a position as to have a complete command over the disc.  He takes a lump of clay, slaps it down several times in order to exclude every particle of air, and places it on the circular board, which is then set in motion.  Moistening his hands with water, in order that the clay may not adhere to them, he moulds it into such shapes as may be required.  This process is one of great interest, and the dexterity of the workman engaged in it shows a large amount of practice.  Six or seven cups, saucers, mugs, and pots were turned out in our presence, in half as many minutes.  It matters not whether the vessel be tall or short, thick or thin – it is fashioned into a taper column, or into a bulging bowl, with equal dexterity and skill.  When a number of vessels are required to be of the same size they are ‘thrown’ to a certain ‘standard’, made by an iron point projecting in such a position that their height and diameter are rendered absolute.  As the clay is rotating the ‘thrower’ can, by the pressure of his hand, guide it, so to speak, into any size or form he thinks proper, and the articles thus whirled into a crude shape are put into a potter’s drying stove, and, after being kept there for a short time, are taken to the lathe.
The ‘turner’ places them on a block, and an assistant moves the footboard by which the lathe is set in motion.  All the rough edges are then removed by tools for the purpose, grooves of a common pattern are made in some cases, and the vessel is burnished by being rapidly turned under the pressure of a piece of iron.  There is a long room full of these lathes, which are turned by women.  All the shavings are collected and made up again for use.  The handles and lips to the cups and jugs are made in departments specially devoted to that purpose.  The spout is made by putting a piece of clay into a spout-mould, sticking it with some ‘slip’ to the rim of the vessel, and then cutting out the lip with a sharp knife.  Handles are made by pressing the clay through a die, cutting it off in certain requisite lengths, bending them into the proper curve by hand and fastening them in the same manner as the spouts.  A moist sponge removes all impurities, and gives a smooth finish to the appearance of the clay.  Some of the cheaper goods are coloured on the lathe, and the process is what is called making ‘dipped ware’.  The ‘dips’ are made from the body ‘slip’ coloured with oxides.  For instance, oxide of cobalt and zinc makes turquoise; oxide of nickel, drab; oxide of iron and manganese, black; and sesquioxide of chromium, green.
The ‘dipping’ of a common pint beer mug is in itself a most interesting feature.  While the vessel is rotating on the lathe the ‘turner’ colours it, in the following manner.  A bottle with a mouth pipe at the top, and small copper pipes projecting at right angles at the bottom, contains the ‘dip’.  The small pipes are applied close to the mug, and the man gently blows down from the top.  The rapid revolution of the lathe causes the colour to be equally applied all round.  The two black rings at the top of the mug are blown on first; then the broad blue ring from another bottle; then the black ones near the bottom; and, finally, the drab ground that fills up the whole of the intervening space.  But now comes the most interesting, as well as the most remarkable fact in connection with this very interesting and remarkable process.  While the drab ground is still in a liquid state the mug is held upside down, and slightly touch in four places with another liquid, which runs into the first, and spreads out in an almost exact imitation of Mocha trees, not one of which, out of the thousands that are made, precisely resembles any of the others.  This liquid is composed of three drops of the metallic oxide of iron and manganese, mixed with a solution of strong tobacco water.  The origin of this peculiar process is said to be due to a Scotch potter, who, in chewing his ‘quid’ happened to expectorate over some of the moist colour.  The tobacco-juice spread in a branchy form, and the master-potter, when he saw it, immediately asked how that form was occasioned.  The man told him, and then they set to work to try and discover some metallic pigment with which they could combine the tobacco juice, in order to preserve the peculiarity of the new pattern when burnt in the kiln.  This, after some time, was effected in such a manner that the tobacco, in spreading, carried the colour with it, and that when the fire burnt out the vegetable, it burnt in, and preserved, the form of the mineral.  So, at least, the story runs.
We must now look at the manufacture of those articles which are ‘moulded’ – a process technically known as ‘pressing’.  The moulds are made in different pieces, fitting into one another, and making a complete vessel.  The manufacture of an ewer or toilet jug, which we witnessed, will illustrate the entire process better, perhaps, than any general explanation.  The necessary quantity of clay – which is similar to that used in the ‘throwing’ process – is placed on a block or disc, made of plaster of Paris, and hammered out well with a plaster ‘batter’, and then worked up with the hand.  In the next place it is beaten out like a piece of paste, and polished with the flat part of a knife.  This piece of clay is put into a half mould of the jug, the polished surface being laid towards the plaster.  The ‘presser’ then ‘bosses’ it in with a sponge to the face of the mould, tipping off the superfluous clay with his thumb; and the same process is performed with the other half.  The two halves, being notched together, and fastened firmly with straps, are placed on a circular slab which revolves on a perpendicular shaft.  The ‘presser’ next passes a roll of clay up each seam inside, so as to fill up the unevenness occasioned by the joining.  The bottom of the ewer is made on a disc called a ‘whirler’, which is put in rotation by hand, and is then fastened to the other portion of the mould.  This is done in a similar way, by turning the disc and working the two parts together inside with the hands.  After the clay has dried a little the moulds are removed, and the spare edge is cut off with a knife.  The workman stamps his private mark on the bottom, in order that he may know his article again when it comes out of the oven.  Various scrapings and polishings with pieces of horn, leather, and sponge are made so as to finish the exterior as well as possible, and then handles are affixed in the same way as described above.  Any kind of form can be made in these moulds, such as soup-tureens, butter-boats, hand-basins, etc.  A number of the last-named were being manufactured on the occasion of our visit, to be sent to the Coast of Africa for using as rice-bowls.
Having been moulded they are placed on another kind of circular disc, worked by a handle, something on the wheel principle, called a ‘jigger’.  A roll of clay is put on the bottom for the foot-piece, and formed into shape by the hand and a tool called a ‘profile’.  The use of the hand, however, in potter’s work, is superior to all tools, and performs its duties far more perfectly.  Dishes are made in dish-moulds, and the rough edges cut off with a piece of wire termed a ‘frog’.  Plates are made on a ‘jigger’; and a practised hand can turn out on an average as many as fifty dozen a day.  Every man puts his private mark on each article he makes, so that when they are taken out of the kiln they are sorted over and counted; and he is paid according to the number returned against his name.  Some of the jugs are made buff outside and white in.  This is done by making them of Dorsetshire clay (which burns a buff colour) and washed out with white ‘slip’.  Where the jugs are too small for the ‘presser’ to put his hand inside to finish them off, what is called a ‘tommy sponge’ is used.  It consists simply of a piece of sponge fastened to the end of a handle.
When the articles, either ‘thrown’ or ‘moulded’ have been properly trimmed and finished, they are ready for ‘firing’, a process which takes place in a potter’s ‘biscuit kiln’ for burning clay ware when in a clay state.  The articles are placed in deep oval-shaped pans or crucibles, called ‘saggers’ (more properly ‘seggers’, from a Hebrew root signifying to burn), made of fire-clay.  The dimensions of Messrs Pountney’s kilns exceed those of almost any pottery in the kingdom, and vary in size, the average being about 19ft 6ins in diameter, and 30ft in height.  They are built in a conical shape; the brick walls being more than 2ft 6in thick, and bound together with iron bands, and having a series of ten mouths.  Each oven contains on the average about 3,000 dozens of ware, and it must be remembered that a potter’s dozen sometimes means as many as 36 articles.  The mouths referred to communicate with flues underneath the kiln, and, being filled with coal, the fires are never allowed to go down till the burning is complete.  About 16 tons of coal are used in each firing.  The temperature is gradually increased from atmospheric heat to 75 degrees (Wedgewoods’ pyrometer), and the fire kept burning for 50 hours, at a tremendously full white heat.  During this process the articles get perfectly white, and obtain the crisp, brittle character which gives them the name of ‘biscuit’ ware.  The fire is allowed to cool down gradually, and at the end of two days the ‘saggers’ are drawn out, and the contents removed to a warehouse.
We now pass into quite a different department of the manufacture.  The ‘biscuits’ having acquired a degree of porousness which enables them to retain the impressions with which they are to be adorned, and passed either to the printing or painting shops.  In the former a large number of the female sex are employed; and in their particular branches of the work prove equally useful as the men.  The process of printing on ware is exceedingly interesting.  The design is engraved in the first place on copper – not in the common reversed method of engravings, but just as it is intended to appear on the article.  All this work is done in the north of England, our local engravers not being equal to the task.  The expense of a complete set of many of the choice new patterns is very great – possibly as much in some instances as a couple of hundred pounds.  This price was paid for a very chaste and elegant design representing the four seasons.  The plates, having been cleaned carefully with a stiff little brush, dipped in spirits of tar, are well rubbed over with a mixture of the desired colour and oil, which is pressed into every line of the engraving by the aid of what is termed a ‘muller’.  This is performed over a stove, in order that the heat may assist in making the oily substance flow freely; and when it has been properly rubbed in the surplus colour is scraped off with a knife, and the plate ‘bossed’ quite clean.  A sheet of the finest tissue paper – manufactured especially for the purpose of pottery printing, and perfectly free from all those knots which would break the lines of the engraving – is then primed over with soap and water, laid carefully on the plate, and both are put under a cylindrical roller covered with flannel, and well pressed.  The impression of the engraving is thus transferred to the paper.  In the case of the jugs, and articles of that description, the rim and handle patterns are engraved separately from the principle design, although on the same plate, so that a number of children, called ‘cutters’ are engaged in cutting the papers into the different parts.  Women, known in the trade as ‘transferrers’, then lay the tissue, yet moist with the colour, carefully on the ‘biscuit pieces’, and rub it on with a flannel roller.  The colour thus becomes transferred to the ware, to which it adheres immediately.  The articles are then put into cold water, and the paper sponged off, leaving the impression of the design beautifully imprinted upon them.
Among the different plates which attract the attention of the visitor, and which represent in this manufactory alone an aggregate sum of £6,000, there is an especially interesting one of the Suspension Bridge.  So great has been the demand for wares of all kinds imprinted with this elegant design that Messrs Pountney and Co. have not been able to keep pace with it till recently; and even now orders are pouring in thick and fast for jugs, plates, dishes, or what not, presenting (as long as they last) a capital picture of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.  The old-fashioned willow pattern is another design for which there is a constant demand.  The plates for this design are generally engraved by inferior artists.  But, whatever its demerits, the old willow pattern will never go out.  One great thing in its favour – and a most important consideration with thrifty housewives – is that it can always be matched.  A lady might well be ‘mistress of herself though China fall’, if China should be replaced so easily as willow patterned ware.  We are told that the firm under notice make of plates alone, in this style, upwards of 1,000 dozen a week.
The colour when printed on first is dingy-looking drab, and does not come out in the well-known bright blue until after it has been burnt.  Sometimes vessels are printed with different colours, and in such cases a separate engraving has to be used for each, and the papers applied one at a time till the necessary pattern is completed.  Having been printed the ware is put into a printer’s stove, where the water is allowed to drain out.
‘Biscuit’ painting is performed by hand.  The article is placed on an enameller’s wheel – which is simply a light rotary disc, turned round at will by the artist’s hand – and ‘lined’ where necessary with a camel’s hair brush.  Practice alone enables the performer to make a series of very fine circular lines.  Flowers and other devices are also put on according to the fancy, and in most cases with a rapidity quite surprising.  We tried our ‘prentice hand’ at this novel style of limning, but the result fell infinitely short of the bold design we had hurriedly sketched out in our minds for execution.  In the painting shop we saw several huge eight-gallon jugs, which have been especially made for some of the African kings, and will be ornamented with their majesties’ unpronounceable names, painted in the gaudiest of those colours likely to please their royal optics.  The pigments used in this department are worked in water.
And now the ware, having been decorated by the printing process, is put into a ‘harding (hardening) on kiln’, where it is raised to a red heat, in order that all the oil contained in the metallic pigment may be burned out.  This being done, it is removed to the dipping house, and dipped in a trough of glaze.  This glaze is composed of borate of soda alumina and lime ground in water, with silicate of lead, to about the consistency of cream.  The ‘biscuit’ when dipped in, absorbs just sufficient glaze to coat it; and is afterwards whirled round by hand once or twice to spread it evenly all over the surface, and throw off the superfluous moisture, and then placed on the points of nails driven rake-fashion through a board.  It dries almost directly, and is carried to the glossed-placing house, where it is carefully packed in ‘saggers’.
Each article rests upon little clay ‘stilts’ or ‘spurs’, with points which prevent its sticking to anything else, or being fused into a mass with the other articles when in the furnace.  A luting of fire clay, called ‘wadding’, is put round the tops of each of the saggers; so that when they are piled one on top of the other it makes them air-tight and prevents any of the sulphurous smoke getting in and spoiling the ware.  The ‘saggers’ are then placed in the kiln where they burn for 18 hours at a temperature of 84 degrees (Wedgewood), and then cool for one day.  When drawn from the oven they are sent off to the warehouse, packed in crates, and despatched to all parts of the world.
Before we quit this interesting art it must be observed that all the preparatory work necessary for carrying it out is done on the premises.  All the bricks are made there in kilns especially for the purpose.  The colours used for printing on pottery ware are carefully prepared from such metallic oxides as will bear the intense heat of the potter’s glazing oven.  For example – pink is obtained from the oxides of chromium and tin; green from the oxides of chromium with lime and silica; brown from the oxides of chromium, iron, zinc and manganese; black from the oxides of chromium, manganese and cobalt; blue from the oxide of cobalt with silica; turquoise from the oxides of cobalt, aluminium and zinc; yellow from the oxides of antimony, lead and tin; and orange from the oxides of antimony, lead, iron and tin.  The combination of any of these, of course, gives other colours; such as purple by the blending of blue and pink.  These colours are ground in pans, made under the direction of the manager.  A shop is devoted exclusively to the use of a modeller who makes the necessary moulds for the ‘pressing’ work.
It may readily be imagined that the Bristol Pottery occupies a considerable area of ground.  About 250 hands are employed in the different departments of the business; and for lovers of statistics we may add that 5,000 tons of coal and 3,000 of raw material – flint, clay, etc – are consumed annually.  We have tried to give an outline of the various processes of this most interesting art, and, if any of our fair readers have thereby had their devotion for ‘crockery’ increased, we shall have been well repaid for the labour.  Few more pleasant days could be spent than in going through a pottery.  Those who may wish to see for themselves the different features of interest about which we have written will, no doubt, be accommodated by Mr Clowes, the courteous manager of the works, to whose attention and kindness we are indebted for no small portion of the information now laid before our readers’.

It seems that by 1866 Charlotte Fayle Pountney wished to give up the business and the Water Lane Pottery was advertised for sale on 22 August: ‘The Bristol Pottery. Messrs G.C. Ashmead & Son have been instructed by the executors of the late proprietor to offer for sale by public auction … on Thursday the 4th day of July … all that well-established, extensive and valuable freehold earthenware pottery known as the Bristol Pottery, with the plant, stock, etc, of the same, situate in Water Lane and Temple Backs … and also all that lifehold wharf, yard and buildings, used with the pottery, and separated therefrom by the public road. The property comprises: a foreman’s house and another dwelling house, flint, slip and enamel kilns, biscuit and glost ovens, steam engine, fixtures, moulds, etc., and all the requisites for carrying on an extensive business capable of being extended at a small cost.  To view the property apply to Mr Clowes, the Manager …’.

The pottery failed to sell and was re-advertised on 6 July 1867: ‘The Bristol Pottery. This valuable property, containing an area of nearly an acre and a half, not having been sold by auction this day, may be treated for by private contract.  The premises are so extensive that portions of them may easily be converted to other businesses if desired. Price, including all machinery, fittings and fixtures mentioned in the particulars, but excepting the manufactured and unmanufactured stock-in-trade and materials, £15,000’.

In 1872 the Illustrated Handbook to Bristol, Clifton and Neighbourhood reported that in the pottery of Pountney and Company: ‘White earthenware only is manufactured which is composed of calcined flints, feldspar, Devonshire clay, and china clay from Cornwall. About 250 hands are employed and about 5,000 tons of coals, and 3,000 tons of flints, clay, etc., are consumed annually’.

Charlotte Fayle Pountney must have continued running the pottery until her death in November 1872 and it was then sold to Halsted Sayer Cobden, a wealthy young man, who had been a lieutenant in the 14th Hussars. In 1873 he purchased the recently bankrupt Bristol Victoria Pottery on St Philip’s Marsh which he ran together with the Water Lane Pottery.In 1878 the two potteries, which were trading as Pountney and Company, were acquired by two London solicitors, a Patrick Johnston and a Mr Rogers. Rogers retired in 1883 and Patrick Johnston died in July 1884.

Pountney and Company was taken over by Patrick Johnston’s nephew, Thomas Bertram Johnston.  He closed the Water Lane Pottery in 1885, transferring production to the Bristol Victoria Pottery.  In 1886 he took over the Crown Pottery at St George which had previously been owned by the Ellis family.

The sale of the Water Lane Pottery was advertised in August 1885 when it was described as the: ‘extensive and important freehold property known as the Bristol Pottery … covering an area of about one and a half acres; together with a wharf, yard and premises nearly opposite, with valuable river frontage: the whole situate on Temple Backs. Comprising the extensive manufactory, with commodious show and ware rooms, counting houses, glost, biscuit, colour, fritt, enamel, slip, hardening and flint kilns; engine and mill house, spacious yards, workshops of various kinds, stable, gig house, cellars, stores, entrance passage to the yard and counting house, foreman’s dwelling house with warehouse adjoining and lofts over, in Water Lane; together with the steam engine, mill, machinery, fixtures, etc. These extensive premises have frontages to Water Lane of 69 feet and Temple Backs of 245 feet; the extreme depth from Temple Backs to Temple Churchyard being also 245 feet or thereabouts.  The property is subject to a yearly fee farm rent of £1.9s.2d; also to a payment or acknowledgement of 1s per annum for permission to build on the wall of the Temple Churchyard. Also the valuable leasehold wharf, yard, buildings and premises, with river frontage, situate nearly opposite the pottery, and most convenient for the reception and despatch of goods. These premises have a frontage on Temple Backs of 22 feet, extending in depth towards the river of 135 feet, and have a frontage there of 38 feet or thereabouts. The property is held for two terms of 99 years determinable on the deaths of two persons now aged respectively 64 and 38 years, or thereabouts, subject to the payment of an annual rent of £1.6s.8d. The pottery and wharf are within five minutes walk of the Goods Department of the Bristol Joint Railway Station, and present an unusually favourable opportunity to persons seeking capacious premises, for either continuing the pottery business or other manufacturing or warehousing purposes. The works have been in continuous operation, and are capable of further extension at moderate cost’.

Part of the site was acquired by the Bristol Day School Board who advertised in July 1887 for contractors to submit tenders ‘for clearing the site of the proposed Day Industrial School and removal of kilns, stacks, buildings and materials of part of the late Bristol Pottery, Temple Backs’.

In 1905 Thomas Bertram Johnston transferred production at the Bristol Victoria Pottery and the Crown Pottery to a newly built pottery at Fishponds on the outskirts of Bristol.

Wares produced

Tin-glazed earthenwares.
Yellow slip wares.
Mottled earthenwares with iron-enriched glaze.
Cream ware (Queen’s ware).
Pearl ware.
Brown stoneware.
Red earthenwares, including sugar moulds, chimney and garden pots.
Fine industrial slipwares: banded and geometrically diced ware, cable decorated ware and mocha ware.
Transfer-printed and hand painted earthenwares.

Finds of waste pottery and kiln materialPrice, R. 2005. Pottery kiln waste from Temple Back, Bristol. Bristol and Avon Archaeology 20, 59-115.
Several groups of pottery are described which were found during construction work at Temple Back in 1972.  These include ‘wasters’ of tin-glazed earthenware, slipware, mottled earthenware and stoneware, all dating from c1730-50; stoneware from the mid-18th century; banded and geometrically diced wares, cabled decorated ware, mocha ware, transfer-printed ware and plain biscuit from c1836-40.  A quantity of kiln furniture was also found. 357 fragments of pottery and kiln furniture are illustrated.  All these wares were almost certainly made at the Water Lane Pottery.
(HER no. 4294; BRSMG accession no. 21/1979).

Fowler, P.J. 1973. Archaeological review no. 7 for 1972. University of Bristol, page 62.
In 1972 road widening work in Temple Back cut through a layer containing large quantities of waste pottery and kiln furniture (NGR ST 59457274).  The majority of vessels were cream ware plates, cups, vases and gravy boats. Other material included combed and feathered slipware posset pots, decorated slipware plates and dishes, and lead and salt-glazed tankards.  The top of a tin-glazed earthenware flagon with ?’ALE’ painted on it was found and also an unglazed cobalt-painted delft tile.  The deposit was thought to date to about 1780 and the waste probably came from the Water Lane Pottery.
(HER no. 11).

Fowler, P.J. 1973. Archaeological review no. 7 for 1972. University of Bristol, page 62.
In 1972 construction work revealed a stone-lined rubbish pit in Petticoat Lane, Temple parish (NGR ST 5937276). It contained late 18th-century cream ware wasters and kiln furniture, with some complete cream ware plates and cups.  The find spot was close to the Water Lane Pottery which was certainly the origin of the waste.

Fowler, P.J. 1973. Archaeological review no. 7 for 1972. University of Bristol, page 62.
A make-up deposit west of Petticoat Lane, Temple parish, produced quantities of tin-glazed earthenware wasters dating to the late 17th century (NGR ST 59357278).  Cut through this layer was a pit containing kiln waste dating to about 1700 to 1740.  The find spot was close to the Water Lane Pottery which may have been the origin of the waste.

Jackson, R. 1994. Archaeological evaluation of Quay Point, Temple Meads, Bristol. Bristol and Region Archaeological Services unpublished report no. BA/C077.
An evaluation trench excavated at this site produced three groups of mid 19th-century wasters and kiln furniture almost certainly from the Water Lane Pottery.  They comprised mainly large numbers of sherds of white earthenwares, some with transfer-printed decoration, in their biscuit state and included tankards, plates, meat dishes, jugs, cups, saucers, eggcups and bowls.  There were also mocha-ware jugs and tankards, some bearing excise marks, and banded ware and slip decorated bowls.  Some sherds had been used as tallies in the pottery and bear lists of numbers written in pencil. Kiln furniture included saggars, stilts and rolls of fire clay and there were fragments of plaster moulds.
(HER no. 462; BRSMG accession no. 45/1994).

Westbury-on-Trym Pottery

Westbury-on-Trym parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

The Yeamans’ Pottery:

Late 17th- early 18th centuries: the Yeamans family and other potters were working in Westbury.

The Burfield or Sugar House Pottery:

c1742-1770 Daniel Saunders.
c1772-1775 George Hart.
1775-c1780 Stephen Fricker.
c1780-1797 Roger Yabbicom and Henry Yabbicom I.

The pottery closed and the Yabbicoms moved to the St Philip’s Pottery 3.

The history of pottery manufacture in Westbury has been published in:
Jackson, R. 2005. Pottery production in Westbury-on-Trym during the late 17th and 18th centuries. Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 123, 121-131.

The Yeamans family

The Yeamans family probably operated a pottery in Westbury-on-Trym during the late 17th and early 18th centuries as at least seven members of the family – John, Richard, Robert, Roger, Sampson the elder, Sampson the younger and Samuel – were potters living in the parish during that period. They certainly owned a kiln by 1746 when it was mentioned in the older Sampson Yeaman’s will. Robert and, possibly, Samuel were the sons of Roger Yeamans while the younger Sampson Yeamans was the son of his own namesake.  The relationships between the remaining members of the family cannot be determined.

Other early potters

Other potters who are mentioned in documents as working in Westbury during the late 17th and early 18th centuries may have been employees of the Yeamans family.  Both Samuel and Richard Yeamans employed the potter Thomas Jones as his 1718 inventory showed that they owed him wages.
The earliest evidence for a potter in Westbury is from 7 January 1691 when Ralph Eaton, a potter living there, was granted a licence to marry the widow Anna Williams, also of Westbury.  Ralph Eaton was buried at Westbury-on-Trym on 3 October 1721.
On 21 August 1723 the Westbury potter Reece Derrick stood surety for the appearance of his wife, Elizabeth, at the next session of the Bristol Tolzey court.  Reece was buried at Westbury in 1728, and afterwards his family received poor relief from the parish.  Stephen Boyce, another Westbury potter, was granted a licence to marry Martha Peirce of Henbury on 30 October 1732.  Also in 1732 Henry Allbright, a Westbury potter, married Elizabeth Morley at St John’s church, Bedminster.

The Burfield or Sugar House Pottery

On 5 February 1742 the Bristol merchant Samuel Jacob made his will in which he left his nephew Christopher Twynihoe his property at Cote in Westbury with the rent ‘settled for the ground called Burfield on which is a pottwork erected as by articles between Daniel Saunders and myself’.  Daniel was the son of William Saunders of Cote House and later inherited the Cote estate.

Daniel Saunders had a number of business interests besides the pottery and was variously described as a merchant, potter, dealer and chapman.  By 1749 he was paying the poor rate on a dock at Sea Mills on the River Avon in Westbury parish, where he owned other property.  The dock was never popular with Bristol merchants and fell into disuse after 1766.  This probably contributed to Saunders’ financial difficulties for on 13 October 1769 he mortgaged various properties including ‘all that pasture ground called Burfield containing by estimation 8 acres … and also all that messuage, tenement or pot house with its appurtenances then lately erected and built on some part of the said ground called Burfield, together with several messuages or tenements and other buildings also then lately erected and built adjoining and belonging to and occupied with the said pothouse’.

The mortgaging of these properties did not solve Saunders’ financial problems and by 24 September 1770 he had been declared bankrupt, being then described as a merchant and potter of Cote.  On 21 August 1772 Stephen Penny, an accountant who had been appointed to administer Saunders’ affairs, sold the pottery at Burfield to George Hart for £1,000.

On 3 April 1773 the new owner of the Burfield pottery, George Hart, placed an advertisement in a Bristol journal begging leave ‘to inform his friends and the public that besides sugar pots and moulds he makes all sorts of useful and ornamental chimney pots, so much approv’d of and esteemed for their singular qualifications for curing smoaky chimneys, which has the desired affect after every other method has been tried. Likewise all kinds of useful and ornamental garden pots. The chimney and garden pots are made of so peculiar a sort of clay that they are warranted to stand the severity of the frost and weather without scaling off or losing any of their useful ornaments’.

In July 1773 William Plant, who owned a china, glass and Staffordshire warehouse in Wine Street, Bristol, advertised that he was the sole retailer in the city of ‘all sorts of garden pots, useful and ornamental from Mr Hart’s manufactory at Westbury’.

In addition to Hart’s local trade it is known that he exported 900 pieces of earthenware to Dublin on 10 July 1773 and 2,500 pieces of earthenware to the same destination on 15 June 1774.  The pottery must have been financially successful as by 1776 Hart had built a house called Burfield in Westbury, which ‘had a coach-house, stable and every conveniency for a gentleman’s family’ together with 21 acres of land including the Clay Field.  By 1780 Hart had moved to Blandford Forum in Dorset where he had taken over the Greyhound inn.

In September 1775 Hart leased the pottery to Stephen Fricker who, since 1773, had been the owner of the Fountain Tavern in Bristol’s High Street.  On 16 December 1775 Fricker advertised that he had taken over the Sugar House pottery from George Hart, who had retired from the business, and that, in addition to sugar moulds, he was producing chimney, garden and flower pots.  In January 1778 Stephen Fricker was living in Burfield house as a tenant when George Hart sold it to John Trehawke of Liskeard in Cornwall for £2,400, the property then being described as ‘two messuages, two pothouses, one stable, two gardens, four acres of land, four acres of meadow, twenty acres of pasture and common pasture for all manner of cattle’.

Fricker had four daughters, two of whom married eminent literary figures of the day. Sarah married Samuel Taylor Coleridge at St Mary Redcliffe in October 1795 and Edith married Robert Southey in the same church the following month.  However, by this time Fricker had died and the children were living with their mother, a school-mistress, on Redcliff Hill. Robert Southey’s son wrote later that ‘at Bath … Mr Coleridge first became acquainted with his future wife Sarah Fricker, the eldest of three [sic] sisters. One of whom was married to Robert Lowell, the other having been engaged for some time to my father.  They were the daughters of Stephen Fricker, who had carried on a large manufactory of sugar pans or moulds at Westbury, near Bristol, and who having fallen into difficulties, in consequence of the stoppage of trade by the American war, had lately died, leaving his widow and six children wholly unprovided for’.

After Fricker found it necessary to vacate the property due to his financial problems the tenancy was taken over by Roger Yabbicom, although the precise date when this occurred is not known.  In 1771 Roger was the tenant of the White Horse inn near Burfield in Westbury.  On 3 April 1784 the Westbury churchwardens noted that they had received from ‘Mr Roger Yabbicom & Son one years rent for the Claypits (late Stepn. Frickers)’ so it is clear that the Yabbicom family had taken over the pottery by that date.  Certainly by 1788 the Yabbicoms were paying rates on the pottery. The son in the business was Henry Yabbicom I.

When Burfield house and pottery were sold by its new owner John Trehawke to John Fitzhenry on 29 September 1792 the pottery was described as in the possession of Messrs Yabbicom and Son.  On 24 June 1794 Burfield was again sold, to John Morgan, and was described as a mansion house with a pothouse and pottery buildings, the pothouse being occupied by Messrs Yabbicom and Son.

During the late 18th and early 19th centuries Roger Yabbicom and Son held the tenancy of other properties in Westbury parish, including Hart’s former clay ground (sometimes known as Clay Field).  In 1796 the Westbury churchwardens bought chimney pots from the Yabbicoms.  In 1795 Matthew’s directory listed Yabbicom & Son’s ‘sugar, chimney and garden pot manufactory’ at Westbury but by 1797 the firm had moved to Avon Street in the parish of St Philip’s (see St Philip’s Pottery 3).  From 1797 the assessments for church rates in Westbury record the ‘late Pothouse’ owned by John Morgan.

Wares produced

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

Finds of waste pottery and kiln material

Ponsford, M. 2001. An archaeological evaluation at Trym Lodge, Henbury Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol. Unpublished report by Channel Archaeology.
Excavations in advance of development at Trym Lodge, Henbury Road, revealed a dump of pottery waste and kiln debris dating to the first half of the 18th century.  This had probably been used to raise the level of the bank of the River Trym.  The waste consisted of sherds of sugar-making pottery – cones and syrup collecting jars – chimney pots and garden wares.  Some slipware sherds dated back to the 17th century.  The wasters almost certainly came from the Westbury-on-Trym Potteries and probably the Burfield or Sugar House Pottery.  Twenty-one sherds of pottery are illustrated.
(HER no. 20791; BRSMG accession no. 2001/16).

Cullen, K. 2003. New water main, Durdham Down, Bristol. Archaeological recording. Cotswold Archaeology unpublished report no. 03036.
During excavation work for a water main across Durdham Down a number of post-medieval quarry pits were found which contained pottery kiln waste and domestic material dating to the late 18th and 19th centuries.  Two pits contained sugar-refining ware wasters dating to the 18th century.  It seems probable that these wasters came from the Burfield or Sugar House Pottery and may have been backfilling pits excavated for the extraction of clay.
(HER no. 21553; BRSMG accession no. 2002/48).

White’s Hill Pottery

White’s Hill, St George.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1869 Aaron Johnson II.

There is only one known documentary reference to this pottery.  On 21 December 1869 a man was charged ‘with stealing five dozen pudding basins, value 12s, the property of Aaron Johnson, St George’s. For about nine months … the prisoner had been in the employ of the prosecutor, who is a potter carrying on business at Whiteshill, his duty being to prepare the clay for the potters, and to take out goods and deliver them, and to take money for them.  On the 10th inst the prosecutor packed a wagon with about five dozen pudding basins, a quantity of cups, pint basins and tea pots … On the following day the prosecutor took the wagon to Oldland Common, and on looking into it missed the pudding basins, a number of pint cups, and tea pots … The prosecutor admitted that he owed the prisoner 11s for wages, and that he had been in the habit of allowing his workpeople to sell goods and repay themselves out of the proceeds, but he said he did not allow them to do this without his consent’.  On the 8 January 1870 the accused was acquitted of stealing 60 pudding basins and 18 pint basins.

Aaron Johnson II was born in Burslem, Staffordshire, and in 1851 was a warehouseman in Audley, Staffordshire.  In 1861 he was a warehouseman of Mag Pie Bottom, St George and in 1871 was described as a pottery foreman of White’s Hill, St George.  He died in 1878 and in 1881 his widow was living at 27 Nags Head Hill, St George.

Wares produced

Probably earthenwares, including tea pots, cups and basins.

Wilder Street Pottery

9 Wilder Street, St James’s parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

pre-1752 Henry Allbright.
c1753-1787 William Matchin I.
1788-1812 William Matchin II.
1812-1814 Edward Matchin.
1815-1819 Jane Matchin.
1819-1820 Benjamin and Edward Matchin, trading as B & E Matchin.
1821-1837 Benjamin Matchin.
c1837-1843 John Duffett II.

The pottery closed.

Henry Allbright was probably the ‘potmaker’ of Westbury-on-Trym who was granted a licence to marry Elizabeth Morley in 1732.  At some time he must have moved to Bristol and set up his own pottery, probably in Wilder Street, which was mentioned in his will of October 1746 when he gave to his wife, Elizabeth, ‘all that my messuage and tenement wherein I now live together with the garden, workhouses and all appurtenances thereunto …’.  The will was proved in January 1753 and in August 1753 William Matchin I, a potter of St Mary Redcliffe parish, married Allbright’s widow, Elizabeth.  This is presumably how Matchin acquired the Wilder Street Pottery.

By September 1755 William Matchin I was paying rates on a property ‘behind the Full Moon’ in Wilder Street.  In Sketchley’s directory of 1775 he was described as a potter of 15 & 18 Wilder Street.  In November 1780 it was reported that ‘Wednesday died Mrs Matchin, wife of Mr Matchin, potter, in Wilder Street’.

William Matchin I stopped paying rates on his property in Wilder Street in September 1787 and he had probably died.  Subsequently the rates were paid by his son, William Matchin II.  In December 1789 he advertised: ‘William Matchin, junr. respectfully informs his friends and the public, that he continues his fine glaz’d pan and garden pot manufactory, wholesale and retail, as usual, in Wilder Street, St Paul’s … a report having been propagated he has declin’d the business, W.M. in justice to himself offers this to the public, to inform them such report is groundless, and humbly solicits their favoure, which will ever be gratefully acknowledged. N.B. Country shopkeepers supply’d on the shortest notice’.

William Matchin II died in May 1812 and the pottery was then run for two years by Edward Matchin who may have been his brother.  In 1815 it was taken over by Jane Matchin, possibly the wife of William Matchin II, but in 1819 it reverted to Edward Matchin who ran the pottery until 1820 with Benjamin Matchin, the firm trading as B. and E. Matchin at 9 Wilder Street, as a ‘wholesale stone, red and glazed ware, chimney and garden pot manufactory’.

From 1821 the pottery was being operated by Benjamin Matchin alone and in 1832 his property was described as a ‘house & pottery’.   Benjamin was last listed in the directories as a potter in 1837 and in 1838 the pottery was referred to as ‘the Old Pottery, near the bottom of Dean Street, St Paul’s’.

In 1843 a one-sixth share of the Wilder Street Pottery was advertised for sale when it was described as being ‘void’ and ‘lately in the occupation of Mr John Duffett’.  It seems likely that John Duffett II had taken over the pottery from Benjamin Matchin in about 1837.  However, in 1841 John Duffett II was a prisoner in H.M. Goal, Bedminster, and the pottery may have gone out of use at that time.  John Duffett II was later working as a potter at Cranham in Gloucestershire.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares, including fine-glazed pans, garden pots and chimney pots.