Monday, July 20, 2009
Pettit Pub Group
Wheel thrown ceramic ramekins with a styalized leaf pattern handles. Flat unglazed base inscribed "Pettit". Looks like they were made in the late 1930s. Plain light blue exterior glaze with plain white interior glaze. There are no chips, cracks or crazing.
Pettit began in the early 1870s with John Cole as the Cole Pottery in White Hart Lane Walthamstow, a district of northeast London England. Later moving to Folly Lane, Highham Hill, Walthamstow. John’s son Edward took over in the 1880s and three of his other four sons also worked in the pottery trade. Eventually employing 9 men, the business had to shut down for a year because of a strike and the neighbouring pottery “Sankeys” undercutting Coles prices. Sankey later moved to Nottingham, giving Coles a new opportunity.
The Pettits were related by Marriage to the Coles. Mary Colley, who married John Cole, was the sister of Ann Colley, who married William Henry Pettit (son of Henry Pettit and Mary). Both the Cole and the Pettit families lived and worked on site at the potteries in Green Lanes, Tottenham (the Tile Kilns). Where William went after he left the Tile Kilns is unclear. Anecdotal evidence suggests that he went to set up the Pettit Potteries in Walthamstow, but this was not immediately the case, as the 1871 census for Walthamstow shows that it was John Cole who, although no longer at the Tile Kilns and not yet at White Hart Lane, was actually at Walthamstow.
He was listed as a pottery proprietor (flower pots) and living with his family at Cambrian Cottages, Walthamstow. George Pettit, William’s son, was listed as a potter, living with his wife Julia and daughters Clara and Annie at 3 Cambrian Cottages, Walthamstow, next but one to John. William Pettit did appear 10 years later in the 1881 census as a potter with a new wife Louisa and living in the Cambrian Cottages block at number 6.
So it was John Cole rather than William or George Pettit who started the potteries at Higham Hill, Walthamstow. However, John vacated them shortly afterwards for White Hart Lane, whereupon ownership was taken over by the Pettits. Whether or not this was always the intention, it is impossible to say.
According to a newspaper cutting in the Vestry Museum at Walthamstow, the pottery started in 1868 and closed in 1943 during World War II because it couldn't get the coal to power the kilns. Both the date and the reason are open to question, as London potteries generally ceased production earlier in the war so that the lights from the kilns would not signal positions to enemy bombers. Sales continued from stocks.
These ramekins are not very well made or glazed. Just how they came to Australia is a mystery, although many Pettits migrated. As I only have two of them, the standard theory applies; someone, probably an English migrant fell off the perch and their stuff found its way to the op-shop, where I found them. There is no record of Pettit exporting their products.