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Report - Pilkington Tiles Salford Manchester 02/2011

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Oldskool, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. Oldskool

    Oldskool Guest
    Guest

    Had my eye on this site for over a month,after a couple of solo recces me and Host went back a couple of weeks ago and made our plans..
    Triggering automatic light sensors not five seconds on site i thought (here we go) but we just held fast for a few mins.

    sorted.

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    Already undergoing demolition so if you want to visit be quick and make sure you avoid the standard pitfalls....

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    Pilkington's Royal Lancastrian Pottery.
    In 1889 the Clifton and Kersley coal company sank a pair of pit shafts with the intention of working the coal seams lying adjacent to the geological feature known as the Pendleton fault.
    However the work was made increasingly difficult because of the excessive quantity of water that was encountered. When it became clear that the work would not produce coal the four Pilkington brothers decided to use the marl that had been encountered to make white and coloured glazed bricks or tiles. ( In fact as Margaret Pilkington stated in a letter to the Manchester Guardian in 1968 the clay was not suitable for this purpose. In the end the clay was only used to make saggars to contain pottery during firing and a small volume of floor tiles.)

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    By a fortunate chance the secretary of the coal company knew a Mr. William Burton who was a chemist with Josiah Wedgwood and Sons. Mr.Burton undertook to make tests of the marl and suggested that a more commercial venture would be to make tiles. The use of decorative tiles was becoming quite fashionable and there was a high demand for them. The site of the proposed factory had many natural advantages. It was adjacent to a canal. It was close by a railway station and of course there was abundant coal nearby in the local Wet Earth colliery and close to the site of the factory itself (just on the North side of the present M60).
    William Burton was in his late twenties when he became the Manager of the new company. However he was under contract to Wedgwood's until October 1892. He suggested that the company should appoint his younger brother Joseph, a qualified chemist as chemist to the company. Joseph's contract was dated December 1891 and Joseph became the "eyes and ears" for his brother. William did not move to Clifton until well into 1893.
    William Burton had enormous drive and charisma and soon attracted many of the most gifted artists and craftsmen to the new company.

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    William Burton over a long career was recognised as one of the foremost authorities on pottery and matters to do with pottery. The influences on the young Burton were varied. In particular the work of Bernard Moore and the production of flambé ware should be mentioned. Other links with Oriental pottery abound. Burton recounts that the introduction of pottery to the firm - recorded by Lomax as 1897 - was in order to show off the number of new and fine glazes that had been discovered and which the flat surface of tiles did not really do any justice. The Society's Chairman - Lawrence Burton - notes that Wedgwood's archives reflect the work of William Burton and Keale University records evidence of Burton's work on lustre ware.
    (The first items of pottery were items of ware manufactured by Firth's of Kirkby Lonsdale - some examples of this ware may be seen in the Peter Scott Gallery at Lancaster University.)

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    The pottery itself chose the name LANCASTRIAN for the new ware because it was sited in the county of Lancaster. At a later date some of the more famous glazes took their name from Manchester and hence "Cunian "glazes were named.
    Other famous glazes were used , e.g. Sunstone, Eggshell, marvellous merged and curdled glazes and fiery crystalline and aventurine. The discovery of these glazes is meticulously recorded by Abraham Lomax, the work's chemist, in his book "Royal Lancastrian Pottery".
    In particular two glazes stand out. An orange vermilion glaze became the trademark of Lancastrian ware. This radioactive glaze was very fashionable and a piece of "orange" Lancastrian is immediately recognisable by devotees of the factory. A blue - kingfisher blue - glaze was developed which also became a hallmark.

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    In 1913 King George V and Queen Mary visited Lord Derby where several Lancastrian vases were proudly displayed. It was then that permission was granted for the Royal warrant to be used and the firm became Pilkington's Royal Lancastrian pottery company.

    I was just set up to shoot the original kiln when i heard banging footsteps coming towards me, i thought BUSTED but nope it was Host all excited "forget that !!! look at this "

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    One major distinction about the firm was its insistence that all artists' decorated pieces were marked with the artists' name. All pieces, even plain glazes, were stamped with a year mark and many pieces had a design number. Examples of this are shown in the museum collections.
    Whilst Pilkington’s pottery was unique there was a price to pay and that price was the high cost of production. The firing of lustre pieces is not a precise science even now. It was much more variable 75 years ago. The cost of Pilkington's most expensive pieces would be beyond the pocket of many people. They relied upon sales of their ordinary wares to middle class homes and their lustre wares to more affluent patrons. An ordinary vase would be almost a weeks wage and the bigger lustres equal to a months wages.

    this room was just full of original well what i could call artworks or screens im not sure what they are ...maybe someone can tell me ??

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    After the First World War sales became slower and several of the best artists left. However in 1928 the discovery of a new glaze had the short-term effect of lifting the production. Lapis was so named after the appearance it had of lapis lazuli.

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    Lapis was an entirely different glaze. The colours of lapis ware are soft and the edges of patterns are blurred. Gwladys Rodgers chiefly took up this fashion.
    In 1938 the firm closed its pottery production because of falling sales.
    Production restarted in 1948 but by then the kilns used to produce the lustre ware had been demolished. The new pottery was very much of a 50s style. Production did not last long and ceased in 1957. A last and final attempt in Blackpool was made in 1972 but by then the resemblance to its illustrious past had been lost altogether.

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    A very enjoyable explore with a few scares.......to finish of a picture of my new bird ...

    Thanks for looking Oldskool............

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    #1 Oldskool, Feb 19, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2011

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