Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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T. G. Green and Co

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1961.

of Church Gresley Potteries, near Burton-on-Trent, Derbs

The company was famous for producing Cornish Ware. Cornish Ware has nothing to do with Cornwall. It has been made since 1926 by T. G. Green and Co, a traditional domestic ware pottery in Church Gresley.

The company was founded in the late 18th century, in Derbyshire, a county well known for pottery, thanks to ample supplies of local coal and clay.

1864 The company was bought by Thomas Goodwin Green, a successful builder and entrepreneur who had made a fortune in Australia. Under his dynamic leadership, the pottery became one of Britain’s leading manufacturers of kitchen, hospital and institution ware, domestic pottery, bowls and cookware, and tea and dinner wares, employing over 700 people in two factories, and remaining a family business until 1964.

1920s Cornish Ware made its first appearance in price lists, catalogues and advertisements from 1925 onwards. Its secret, and the reason for its immediate success and lasting popularity, was that every piece was turned on the lathe, to cut sharp-edged, clean bands through the blue slip to reveal the white clay beneath, a production technique still used today. It was known from the start as Cornish Kitchen Ware, and there is a story that it was named by Green’s south of England representative who saw in it the colours of Cornwall’s skies, clouds and white-topped waves.

Earliest catalogues show that the range always included both kitchen and table wares, but most familiar have always been the black lettered storage jars, with over one hundred names recorded to date.

1930s The success of Cornish Ware inspired the development of new shapes and colourways, and related ranges such as the blue and white spotted Domino Ware and the cream and green-lined Streamline Ware, both introduced in the 1930s.

WWII. An important export market was built up, helping to keep T. G. Green in business during the difficult years of the Second World War.

1947 Advert in British Industries Fair Catalogue as Exhibiting Member of the British Pottery Manufacturers' Federation of Federation House, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Composite Exhibit. (Pottery and Glassware Section - Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1224) [1]

1950s Cornish Ware was soon re-established as a family favourite during the 1950s.

1960s In the late 1960s, the range was restyled. This is the basis of Cornish Ware today, still made in the same place and by the same techniques by Cloverleaf, who took over the pottery in 1987.

Despite its popularity, Cornish Ware was only a small part of T. G. Green’s production, and the huge variety of tablewares and other domestic pottery made since the 1860s are increasingly of interest to collectors.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1947 British Industries Fair Adverts 398 and 399; and p123