Thursday, May 15, 2014

"The Potteries" by David Sekers

I'll bet some of you are familiar with the Shire Library, which publishes short British titles on a variety of topics including teatime and teawares. I just finished reading a new-to-me Shire book, "The Potteries" by David Sekers (2013), and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Sekers begins with a brief history of the pottery industry in North Staffordshire, England, and he tells how the villages of Tunstall, Cobridge, Hanley, Shelton, Stoke, Fenton and Longton came to be known as the Staffordshire Potteries. I knew there were once many potteries in this area of England, but I had no idea of what a vast enterprise this once was. Sekers shares many period photographs and drawings, including this one of a village with its bottle-shaped kilns, and it was most enlightening to hear how some of our pretty teacups and teapots actually came into existence.

This book would be quite useful to those of you who enjoy researching your teawares. It gives technical information about the types of materials that went into the teawares, the technological advances in teaware production through the years, and there are also many manufacturers' names you'll probably recognize from some of your own teacups, like Foley China Works shown here. The book is not entirely a happy read, as it deals quite truthfully with the harsh conditions once endured by some of the workers in the potteries, and such sad facts as the lead poisoning and lung disease which once prevailed there. Still, it's information very much worth knowing if you're into the history of your china wares, and I think it's a great addition to any tea library.


  1. This sounds like an interesting book. My uncle who hails from England loves to tell me stories about the Potteries. He said he always enjoyed his visits to that area. I could listen to him for hours!

  2. I must check my teacups I think I have a foley one!

  3. This does sound like a fascinating read. Thanks!

  4. Sounds like an interesting look back in history.


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