St Philip’s Pottery 6

Posted on: August 9th, 2016 by webfooted

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

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

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

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

The pottery closed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ada Moorse died in 1948.

Wares produced

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

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