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Pots for Sale

 

  PLACE NAMES

 Arrival of train service in mid 19th century brought tourists to Torbay which became known as 'The English Riviera'.  The railway also reduced  costs for the Torquay potteries in bringing the coal to fire their kilns.

These facts enabled the potteries to embark upon the production of holiday souvenir pottery in addition to the traditional terracotta and art pots.  A particular leader in this new  wave of products was the Longpark Pottery.

The addition of place names to the cottages and mottos was a natural for the souvenir trade.  The most common names are the towns and villages in Devon where the pots were sold.  However, the potters sold these souvenirs to places in Canada, Australia, United Sates and the Caribbean. 

The Devon potteries  enjoyed a substantial market in Canada providing souvenirs inscribed with place names, some of which were miss-spelt (e.g. Vancover) and some that are misplaced (e.g. Moraine Lake, B.C.)  Advertisements by Watcombe in the English Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review list agents in Vancouver, Toronto, and Boston who would probably have been the salesmen for these pots.    While Watcombe pots predominate in the Toronto area, the Torquay Pottery Company ( trade name Royal Torquay) is common in British Columbia.  A number of eastern Ontario towns appear to have commissioned small pots showing a 2 men in  boat design  that are generally attributed to the Hart & Moist pottery.  Longpark pots with Canadian place names have also been found.  Over 100 Canadian place names are in the collections of NATS members Pat Turner and Jill Buckworth, including five Provinces, every provincial capital except Regina, and villages as small as Essex, Ontario in addition to the usual tourist attraction spots such as Niagara Falls.

Most of the Canadian  place name pots bear marks indicating they were made in the period 1920 to 1940.  A September, 1958  advertisement by  Royal Aller Vale & Watcombe Pottery Co. still lists a Vancouver agent and a number of  “Royal Watcombe”  Canadian place name pots from the 1950’s  are known.  An interesting article in The Torquay Collector on this subject is "The Neilson Furniture Co. Ltd " (Pat Turner, Summer 2006). Back issues of the magazine can be ordered from our Products Manager.

 Schmidt Bros. Inc., 189 High Street, Boston, Mass., the Boston agent for Watcombe, would almost certainly be the source of the pots with places names in Massachusetts and New York  that we have seen.  These would seem to be 1950’s pots.  However, the 1958 advertisement no longer lists the Boston agent.   The NATS members in Boston have a number of these pots in their collections.

The Devon potters exported a considerable amount of their mottowares  to North America in addition to the souvenir pieces.   Cyril Wilson, a potter at Watcombe, has  recalled that the Hudson’s Bay Company was a customer and a pot in Pat Turner's collection has a Hudson Bay sticker on it..  This trade was given impetus by the domestic U.K. trade restrictions imposed on the potteries in the  post war  years until 1951.

 

Little Current is located on the northeastern shore of Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron (population 2,711 in 2006) , where the island makes its closest approach to the Ontario mainland.  Passage to Manitoulin was only via water until 1913, when a swinging bridge was built for rail use between Little Current and Great La Cloche and Goat Islands, and thence to the Ontario mainland. After World War II, it was converted for use by automobiles, and cars and trains shared the bridge. Now only in use for cars, it is a single lane wide, and runs one-way, alternating directions about every three or four minutes.

The mark on this Watcombe pot would indicate it was made between 1910 and 1927. Besides tourism, lumbering was the mainstay of the economy and remained so until after World War One.

This faience pot by Watcombe was made between 1901 and 1920 according to its mark. As one of the most popular tourist sites in the world  Niagara Falls  was the subject for many different Torquay pots.

Andy Violet writes about Niagara  Falls in the Autumn 2007 issue of Scandy, the magazine of U.K. based Torquay Pottery Society.  The article includes a plate decorated with virtually the same picture as this vase.

 

Although it is unmarked, this pot is probably by Longpark since this style of boat with the white foam  and fine backward sloping script is typically from that pottery.  The full motto on the pot is "There is no wealth but life"

Orillia is a town of 30,000 at the north end of Lake Simcoe about 135 kms north of Toronto. Its largest employer is a major casino.

The following quotation is from the town's official website: "Nestled in the heart of Lake Country, Orillia is bordered by the shores of Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching.  Orillia typically receives hot and muggy summers followed by exceptionally cold winters."

This pot is unmarked, but is probably from Hart & Moist and dates from the 1930's.  Pots with this design have been found in several small central Ontario towns.

Midland is a town located on Georgian Bay of Lake Huron. It is the economic centre of the area and has a population of over 16,700. In the summer months, the area's population grows to over 100,000 with seasonal visitors to more than 8,000 cottages, resort hotels, provincial and national parks in the surrounding municipalities