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Sally Tyson"

10 March 2004

Mrs Sally Tyson worked with her father in Powell's Pottery for many years. This is her account of how Buckley pots were made. She was 90 in December 2003.



I was once nice and snug underground when, alas, one day there was such a noise. My top coats were being taken off. First the green sod and soil, then the rough kind of clay until they finally found me. You see, I am the good clay for mugs. They dug me up, put me in a truck and pulled me up a deep slope until they got me to the top of the clay hole.

I was then taken to a thing called a blunge where I was tipped in and water was running all over me. The blunge was turning, breaking all my big lumps up, and then I was running down wide landers into a big sieve, which caught all stones and cinders. And then into what they called a sun-pan which was outside. It had a tiled floor. Then I would sink to the bottom. After I had settled, they would open one corner and let the top water run off. That left me to bake in the sun until I was the right texture.

I would then be wheeled into the shed and then I would be made like a bed and cut up with a paddle. Sometimes they would have to put some water on me and they would press their heels in to make me pliable. Then I would be put into what they called a pug. I would be passed around until I was solid and all the air had been taken out of me.

When I came out at the other end, I was cut off with wire and staked up ready for the wheel. At last I was ready to be made into a Buckley mug!

First I would be weighed. Each of us had to be the same weight. And then the potter would throw me onto the wheel and make me into a nice little pudding dish or a mug. Sometimes I would have a nice white ring blown round me. Do you want to know how it was done? A hole would be made at the side and bottom of a treacle or syrup tin. A quill would be put in the hole with soft clay around it to make it firm. The same thing would be done at the bottom. The quill was then blown through onto the dish as it was going round. When it was starting to dry off, they would inspect me to make sure a little stone or cinder had not escaped the sieve. If it had, it would be taken out and I would have a small piece of soft clay put in the hole. This is called "feterling".

Then when I was really dry, I would be ready to be leaded, which meant they would empty a small tin of lead into me, turn me around in their hands, empty the surplus lead out and run a finger around my rim to remove the lead to save me sticking to the blocks.

I was then ready for the kiln and was built up high in sharded blocks with most of my clay mates - dishes, pan mugs, flower pots, bread mugs, tobacco jars, butter basins, fancy vases and chimney pots. The brindle was then built up with bricks and sloppy clay. There would be samples put at the top of the kiln and in the bottom of the brindle, which would be taken out at certain times to make sure the glaze was done. Then the fires would be started in about six fireplaces - smokers at first, then built up until nearly white-hot, which meant the best coal, which lasted for three days or until the glaze was perfect on samples at the top and bottom of the kiln. At last, after the fires had been drawn and plastered up and left to cool, after a few days the brindle would be taken down. At last I was finished, a lovely shining brown Buckley mug or dish ready for a nice rice pudding.


Note: A dish would contain a certain number of clay units. The biggest was what we used to call a "30", which was about 5" to 6" high.


Eddie Inglesfield told the tale he remembers of my father, after a night firing up the kiln, preparing his well-earned breakfast by frying his eggs and bacon on the shiny surface of the shovel, straight from the flames. Food never tasted so good!


Sally Tyson


Author: Tyson, Sally


Year = 2004

Month = March

Day = 10

Gender = Female

People = Single

Extra = Formal Portrait

Extra = 2000s

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