The Resurgence of the Eastern Potteries Timelines: All, Victorian (1837 - 1901)


Bideford’s potteries were still hard at work, but in 1835 the Penny Cyclopedia described them as “principally for the manufacture of flower-pots.” It is true that Bideford’s ceramic industry had always specialised in producing good quality basic wares, however it’s output was far from limited to products for the horticultural trade.

Bryant Ching, who appears to have been displaced from his Hallsannery Pottery by the route of the new road to Great Torrington, had moved his business to East-the-Water. By 1861 it employed 6 men and 5 boys and had become renowned for the fire-clay ovens it produced.

The Phillips family ran a pottery in Torrington Lane (maps of the period show the kiln near Potter’s Corner, with a clay-pit just up-hill from it). During the 19th C. the Phillips Pottery shipped thousands of parcels of wares to Newfoundland and Virginia, they also supplied pots to accommodate an Irish butter glut. But it was for their fine harvest jugs that they were really noted, with examples from John Phillips now in several museums. Such jugs, whose production was continued by Henry Phillips (1835-), became something of a Bideford icon.

For potters who shipped their wares around the world, to part-own ships was not unusual, but, in the early 19th C., the East-the-Water potter William Carder had a share in no less than five vessels, possibly because his was a sea going family.