Old Glasgow Club


Minutes of ordinary meeting of Club held at Adelaide’s, 209 Bath Street on Thursday 11 November 2010 at 7.30pm


Attendance   101



Mr Gordon (President)



Mr Gordon welcomed members to the meeting, and in particular Mr Graham Cruikshank from the Old Edinburgh Club.



There were apologies from G Kerr.



The minutes of the last ordinary meeting held on 14 October were approved, proposed by     Anna Forrest and seconded by Karen Donaldson.


President’s report

There was no report.


Secretary’s report

Mrs McNae advised members that the Glasgow Girls exhibition was on at the Art School from 19 November to 20 December, that Peter Mortimer was speaking at the Mitchell Library discussing Glasgow’s family owned businesses and department stores – the Old Firm - on 22 November, of the St Andrew’s Day Service at the Cathedral on 30 November, of the BBC1 documentary about the Guernsey evacuees to be shown on 14 November and the Blue trains 50th anniversary exhibition at Kelvingrove until February 2011.


Old Edinburgh Club

Mr Cruikshank noted that Edinburgh City Council was disbanding the Old Edinburgh Room and asked members to write to him to say to what extent the disappearance of the Old Glasgow Room had weakened the quality of information available from Glasgow’s Mitchell Library.



Mr Gordon introduced Mr  Douglas Leishman, President of the Scottish Pottery Society, to speak on the subject of “Glasgow Potteries”. Mr Leishman said that his topic was Glasgow potteries from 1747 to 1999; Glasgow had been a centre of pottery manufacture due to the availability of coal nearby.  He talked in turn about a number of the potteries, most of which were concentrated in the Townhead area.


Delftfield Pottery was active from 1747 to 1810, making use of the clay beds.  Potters came from Lambeth as there were none in Scotland.  The potteries survived by export.  Once the local clay ran out clay was imported from Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland.  Delftfield started to make china, but was soon surrounded by Glasgow and moved to a new site occupied by the Caledonia Pottery beside the Monkland canal.  Delftfield bought the Caledonia pottery, but since china was expensive and so there was no market in Scotland, the pottery concentrated on stoneware.


Murray and Fullarton produced plates, figurines eg of Wee Willie Winkie, and many boxes. When an ironworks wanted to buy the pottery it moved to Farmeloan Road, near what is now the new M74 extension. Old photos show clearly the amount of smoke produced by the potteries.  Murray experimented with gas but ran into financial difficulties and the plant was bought by Hartley of Liverpool to make jam pots.  It made teapots and Rutherglen browns, bottles and flagons.  It closed in 1928; stoneware was a declining market, replaced by glass and bakelite.


Verreville Crystal Works and Pottery was active in Finnieston from 1777 to 1918.  John Geddes joined the firm in 1785 and bought the pottery in 1806.  He brought in workers from Holland and used James Watt’s steam engine. He retired in 1830. Kidston bought the works in 1833 and brought in workers from Derbyshire. The pottery made mugs and plates; Mr Leishman exhibited a bowl depicting Govan Parish Church, the River Kelvin and Dumbarton Road.  The pottery could not compete with English china potteries.  Its jugs were very popular, as were its punchbowls and spongeware.


The Glasgow Pottery, run by John and Matthew Parton Bell, stood head and shoulders above the rest.  It made china, jugs, vases, dinner sets and painted tea sets. Its products were very popular as wedding gifts and a visit to its showrooms was a highlight of Edwardian life.  It made goods for hotelware and shipping and they were exported all over the world.  Matthew died in 1873 and John in 1880.  Its flagship design was the Trample car and the pottery was wound up in 1910.


The Britannia Pottery was active from 1857 to 1918, and existed purely for export to Canada.  It had 600 employees and vast quantities of jugs.  The goods were hardy as they needed to survive transport in boats and over the Rockies.  Its flagship design was the Syria design.  It was the most modern pottery in Britain and began to make tiles in the late 19th century.  It was sold in 1918 and its new owner favoured a bright and breezy style,.  It had a contract with Woolworths and its main design was Omar Khayyam.


The Annfield Pottery was run by John Townsend from Bristol (died 1873).  It exported vast quantities of goods to Vancouver and used a lot of child labour. Port Dundas Pottery was active from 1828 to 1930 and made huge quantities for industry, water filters and butter crocks, bottles and whisky flagons. The Possil / Saracen Pottery had three phases, 1875 to 1906 (teapots), 1906 to 1911 (figures) and 1916 to 1942 (beer bottles). The Govancroft Pottery, active from 1890 to 1976, based at Auchenshuggle, made stoneware and good quality dinnerware, later changing to colourware, especially animals and birds.


As an aside, Mr Leishman referred to the Henry Kelly Bequest to the Hunterian.  Mr Kelly had bought pots from the Barrows and given them to the Hunterian.  He had pottery all over his house, and also a collection of pictures.


Vote of thanks

In proposing the vote of thanks, Graeme Smith noted that it had been fascinating to hear how artefacts from Glasgow had ended up in Indonesia, North America and South Africa, and wondered just what sort of pottery might be waiting to be discovered in our attics.



The next directors’ meeting would be on 2 December and the next ordinary meeting on 9th December, when the speaker would be Mr Roddy McPherson on the Citizens’ Theatre.


Mr Gordon wished all a safe journey home.


JN Gibson, Recording Secretary



The next directors’ meeting would be on 3 November and the next ordinary meeting on 11 November.



Mr Gordon wished all a safe journey home.


JN Gibson, Recording Secretary