The on­go­ing ap­peal of Cor­nish­ware pot­tery

Jo Ah­ern cel­e­brates the on­go­ing ap­peal of this clas­sic crock­ery.

The People's Friend - - News -

NOTH­ING says “a cup of tea and a scone” quite like Cor­nish­ware pot­tery, known and loved for its fresh, farm­house ap­peal and time­less, clas­sic de­sign.

The pot­tery site which pro­duced this iconic crock­ery was ac­tu­ally in Church Gres­ley in Der­byshire, around

300 miles away from the Cor­nish coast, and it is said that the busi­ness, which be­came T.G. Green & Co., had its ori­gins in a chance meet­ing while a cer­tain Mr Green was on hon­ey­moon in Scar­bor­ough!

Thomas Good­win Green, born in Lin­colnshire in 1822, did re­ally rather well for him­self in Aus­tralia af­ter leav­ing his home in Eng­land due to some trou­bles with mat­ters of the heart.

Twenty years af­ter he left, re­peated re­quests to come home from his one-time love, Mary Ten­niel, the sis­ter of the “Punch” and “Alice’s Ad­ven­tures In Won­der­land” il­lus­tra­tor, John Ten­niel, saw Green come back to Eng­land and – fi­nally – marry Mary.

The cou­ple trav­elled to Scar­bor­ough to take the wa­ters on their hon­ey­moon and it was there that they met Henry Wile­man, who would em­ploy Green as man­ager. Green ran it, be­com­ing the full owner in 1887, buy­ing the busi­ness with the help of his sis­ter.

In 1864 the name changed to T.G. Green & Co. and within 30 years the tena­cious Thomas had a suc­cess­ful lim­ited com­pany to pass on to his son, Roger, and as­so­ciate Henry King.

Pot­tery pro­duc­tion had been re­fined and up­dated and the crock­ery pat­terns and ranges pro­duced were var­ied and ever-chang­ing.

Then, in the early 1920s, T.G. Green & Co. de­vel­oped a blue and white banded pot­tery range called E-blue Banded Ware (“e” for elec­tric). Soon to be known as Cor­nish­ware, this range was a no­table hit, grac­ing the shelves in depart­ment stores all over the coun­try, in­clud­ing Har­rods, and be­ing ex­ported around the world.

Some of the jars in the range were let­tered with reg­u­lar kitchen sta­ples like flour, tea and sugar, but re­tail­ers could also re­quest spe­cific let­ter­ing for cus­tomers and the jars would be “cus­tomised” at the fac­tory.

In the Six­ties, a young de­signer called Ju­dith Onions worked her magic on the Cor­nish­ware range to up­date the shape and lines of the pot­tery, and pro­duc­tion also saw the in­clu­sion of yel­low, green and red band­ing along­side the white on the ware. Some of Onions’s de­signs now grace the gallery in the V&A in cel­e­bra­tion of Cor­nish­ware’s ev­ery­day ap­peal.

As time went on, the pot­tery in­dus­try fell on harder times, and T.G. Green & Co. stum­bled. The busi­ness closed its doors in 2007.

All was not lost, though, as Cor­nish­ware has many friends and fans. A new com­pany called T.G. Green & Co., formed by “life­long en­thu­si­asts” Charles Rickards and Paul Burston, and de­signer and brand con­sul­tant Perry Haydn Tay­lor, is mak­ing sure that break­fasts, bak­ing and sup­per­time can still ben­e­fit from that fa­mil­iar and com­fort­ing banded pot­tery. Cor­nish­ware isn’t leav­ing our tables any time soon!

Un­der­stand­ably, vin­tage Cor­nish­ware is highly sought af­ter by col­lec­tors. There were no records kept of the orig­i­nal cus­tomised let­ter­ing on Cor­nish­ware jars and some more unusual word­ing would be a rar­ity in­deed! n

As pop­u­lar as ever.

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