Sunday, 14 November 2010

Soil Hill old pottery (aka Soil Hill Fireclay Works/Swill Hill End Pottery)

Around the year 1784 Mr. Jonathan Catherall stated "my pottery produces mixing bowls, flower pots and bread crocks from our hard bed fireclay dug up from the hill next to our works and this is known as black pottery".

 Mr. James Robinson was a long standing partner until the year of 1805 when he left to start in partnership with Mr John Catherall and opened the pottery known as Clews Pottery.
 Mr Wilcock took over from the former Johnathan Catherall sometime in the mid 1800's but was unsuccessful to carry on in this line of business and closed in 1880, he now used the  premises for breading poultry, around 1883 transferred to Mr John Kitsons where it carried on until his death and his family carried it on eventually Mr. Titus Kitson in 1897 recommended his business to Mr. Isaac Button who bought the company for £800 and around the year 1900 Mr. Button re-built the Pottery just a bit lower down the site and up until 1965 it remained with the Button family

 Mr. Isaac Button was a one of the last true if not thee last true English Country Potters and he was renowned for making a ton of clay pots in any 1 day, in fact he was once timed from throwing the lump of clay onto the potters wheel and producing an excellent pot then cutting it off using a wire cutter took him 22 seconds, 120 pots in any 1 hour and up to 1200 in any 1 day.

 The remains I saw today of Button's Kiln was derelict apart from the farmers stored belongings, The old man died in 1969 there is a broken down kiln the mixer and a few wooden items from days gone bye
no more household pots/jugs/containers/bake wear/brewing pots/chicken feeders Etc which were sold for a few pence in the heyday as the potters had to be quick to make a living with the poor paid villagers.

 I don't know why but hand produced pots of good quality always look better to me than modern-day mass produced stuff.

Final notes

 By 1900 England had only around 100 Country potteries and sadly by the end of the depression no more than a dozen. At Soil Hill there has been a pottery since the 17th century and before the first world war this pottery employed 13 men as time passed Mr Button ended up working the pottery on his own due to he could not find anyone to take an apprenticeship with him so 18 years passed on his own

 Mr Button dug the coal and fireclay/mixed the clay/formed his produce and fired the kiln all alone he must have loved his job and it’s a tragedy it ended the way it has......

Soil Hill Pottery.

Mixer and extruder.


Coal pit fields.

Clay pit fields.

A few links below of the man himself
Mr. Button

No comments:

Post a Comment