The following article is taken from the 'South
Yorkshire Times', dated 27th March 1954.
Memories of an Old Village Pottery
How many residents on the new Wath Urban Council House estate at Newhill realise that a thriving pottery used to stand not a stone's throw from the site?
In the middle of last century, just across from the Crown Inn stood buildings known as Pottery Square. The present Newhill Wesleyan Reform Chapel i situated on the site of the old clay mixing place and the two houses adjoining were at one time stables.
Mr Arthur Green (89), born in Cemetery Road and now living in Burman road, Wath, told a 'South Yorkshire Times' reporter there were at one time 30 to 40 people working at the pottery, most of them women. Mr Green said when pottery manufacture finished the works began making bricks. Most of the West Melton Winterwell estate was built from these bricks.
Mr Green remembers work getting slack at the pottery in the last two years of its existence and recalls men leaving to work in the coal mines and at Stanley's Oil Works. When the pottery closed, some of the buildings were left as houses and the rest were pulled down.
Another octogenarian who can recall these links with the past, is Mr John Oates (85), of Cortworth View, Newhill. He has, perhaps, closer connections with the pottery than anyone for his mother worked there until he was born in 1869.
She was apprenticed at Kilnhurst and later moved to Newhill Pottery. The pottery stretched from the Crown Inn, down Dawson Lane and up to Taylor's Row. His wife's mother, Mrs Mary Straw, affixed transfers to the pots. Mr Oates has two loving cups, the first inscribed William Furth 1798-(a relative) whose name she affixed to the cup. The other cup has the same name spelled William Firth, February 25th 1865 inscribed upon it. Mr Oates said this was because the name changed and was hand written by Joseph Horncastle who was related to the family, as was William Firth.
Mr Oates also has a clay smoother inscribed John Fieldhouse 1830. Mr Fieldhouse being father of his wife's grandmother. Mr Oates said cooking utensils were the main product of the pottery and fancy pots were only a sideline.
There are still samples of Newhill pottery some bearing underneath the name `Twigg', Joseph Twigg being a manager of Swinton pottery. These are perhaps treasured by the few Newhill residents who possess them as much as products of their more famous Rockingham neighbours.
But links with this old pottery can still be seen in Newhill. Some of the cemetery paths have small pieces of the pottery strewn about them. The curator Mr. A. Thomas has also dug up pieces of pottery as well, for the old lime pit used in the erection of the two Cemetery Chapels in 1867 was filled with rubble and old pottery from the Newhill Pottery.
Probably one of the reasons for the pottery's extinction was its distance from transport. For although it was near the coal fields, it was some distance away from the canal and railway.
The 4-week dig and excavation of the site of the Denaby Pottery (1864-70), due to finish this week, the 6th October 2001, so that the commencement of the overpass work in the vicinity of the works can proceed, has proved to be very productive.
Wasters from the Saggers
A large area has been cleared to reveal the foundations and kiln bases etc from these early buildings made of local stone and brick. Lots of wasters from the saggers and kiln debris have been found - pot lids and stilts for stacking pots in the firing process have also been discovered.
One of the most exciting finds is part of an earthenware cup, the body typical of the period (unglazed) with a print from the Rockingham chinoiserie series, pattern No 1151, from the puce period circa 1835-42, illustrated in 'Rockingham Pottery and Porcelain' by D G Rice, plate 110, on a basketweave cup and saucer.
The ramifications of this throw open many speculative opinions from scholars/historians of the local potteries.
I personally believe that we will never know why Denaby, founded by a Staffordshire potter called John Wardle, was using copper plates from the Swinton works some 22 years after the Rockingham Pottery closed. It may be that they employed a worker from the Swinton pottery works who had in their possession these particular copper plates. Such skilled workers would be needed in the founding of a new pottery for their expertise would be invaluable. We do know that Twiggs bought the Don copper plates and Rock Pottery bought Brameld moulds and plates from the sale in the 1840's bankruptcy of the Bramelds, and continued to produce wares in the same style for many years. However, these potteries were in production at the time of the Bramelds' insolvency, so the 22 year gap to the Denaby Pottery is quite intriguing.
Great Sheffield Flood
Also found were shards from plates dated 1864 to Commemorate the Great Sheffield Flood, examples of which are to be seen in Doncaster Museum and Sheffield Museum. Part of a blue jug which was found is identical to one in Doncaster confirming its origin. I am sure that when the report is published it will, with the information I have mentioned above, shed light on this otherwise little known pottery which deserves further study.
Following article taken from The Times (South Yorkshire), July 7th 1923
BOXING AT MEXBOROUGH
Rousing Bout Between Frank Lane and Digger Evans.
A bout between Frank Lane of Mexborough and Digger Evans, of Goldthorpe, two of our best lightweights was the principal attraction at the Plant Bowling Green, last Saturday evening, and there was a good crowd to witness it. The match was a return. Lane having recently beaten Evans on points in Sheffield, and there was a substantial stake. The contest was fought at top speed all along the ten rounds, both men being in capital condition. Evans was very keen and aggressive, but he was up against a cool and watchful defence, and later Lane was the cooler and more experienced boxer, but he was kept very busy in the earlier rounds shaving off Evan's whirlwind tactics. The last two rounds were particularly fierce, and the whole bout was very much enjoyed by a large crowd, and the verdict went to Lane once more on points.
A contest meant to go ten rounds between Ralph Dawson, of Newhill, and Harry Sarr, of Swinton, ended in the first round, Sarr hitting low and being disqualified.
Jimmy Hague, who deputised for Jack Moffat, knocked out Albert Mosley in the fifth round.
Edward Blunt, of Mexborough, beat Jack Batley, of Swinton, in a lively contest of six rounds.
Charlie Brennan, of Sheffield, was the referee, and George Mapplebeck, of West Melton, was the timekeeper. The programme was arranged by the promoter Frank Lane.
On the 16th June the Society visited little known Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. This country house deserves to be better known and as it was explored (with an excellent guide), its uniqueness and sense of the past amazed us in so many ways.
Built on the site of a previous house, the eccentric owner, Mr Harper-Crewe wanted things to remain as they always had been, and among other things, banned cars from arriving at the front door, insisting that company, and even family had to arrive in a horse-drawn carriage that met them at the gate.
Servants were meant to serve but not be seen, so he had a tunnel built in front of the front of the windows so that the servants could move and work in the gardens without being observed.
He also was very fond of shooting and having the resulting birds and animals stuffed, mounted and displayed all over the house, literally thousands of them.
The earlier Harper-Crewe family being very rich and well connected received a wedding present from the King in the 1700's. This was a Chinese silk and gold thread woven four poster bed hanging, but being too tall to fit into any of the main rooms, remained in its wooden crate, untouched by anyone until the 1970's. We can see it today displayed in the servants quarters, protected by a large glass case. It is priceless and magnificent.
The family never threw anything away. When rooms became full, they just used other rooms, and everything remains for us to see and wonder at.
After an excellent lunch, we went on to Lichfield and visited the town and the Cathedral where memorials to David Garrick, the actor and Dr. Johnson can be seen. Also, among many fine houses, the mansion which belonged to Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of the famous Charles Darwin.
Oh, I forgot to say, it rained all day, but this didn't interfere with everyone having a good day out.