St Philip’s Pottery 7

Posted on: August 9th, 2016 by webfooted

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

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

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

The pottery closed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wares produced

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

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