Science Museum | London (Community-in-Residence)
Jane Wells spotted a teapot in the Science Museum as part of the recent 'Community-in-Residence'. Thanks to follow up work from Gemma Angel (Science Museum/Pararchive) and Jane's fellow researcher Phil Rowley (Historian) - we can now share a bit more background information about this collection item.
Thanks to Gemma's photograph, Phil has been able to offer: "You can learn an awful lot by looking at your bottom!" (as people from The Potteries would say)...
By the shape [Phil] had assumed that this piece dated from the middle of the 19th century, however Godden's encyclopaedia (THE reference for British ceramic marks) says that the mark was used after 1917 by Wood & Sons Limited which operated the Trent and New Wharf Potteries in Burslem.
Sadly - the original potworks itself no longer exists but Navigation Road is still part of a local neighborhood where ceramic production is still thriving today including Middleport Pottery (Burgess & Leigh) and Steelite International. Further information about the backstamp suggests the teapot was made in this Stoke-on-Trent works between 1917 and 1919. The teapot and lid will have been fired in one of the bottle kilns on site. At the height of Stoke-on-Trent's ceramic industry the iconic city skyline was defined by more than 4000 bottle kilns. The myriad of different sizes and shapes reflected both the purpose and function (in relation to products) as well as the technique and style of individual kiln builders. 'Navigation Street' - the clue is in the name - was located near to the former Burslem Canal which was a short branch canal of the Trent & Mersey Canal. The road incorporated a horse drawn tramway that was used to haul material and goods.
It will be interesting to see if we can find out a bit more about the historical 'journey' of this individual piece of pottery has taken and how and why it has ended up in the Science Museum collection.