Poole Pottery Through Its Styles
Poole Pottery has always held an interest for me - in part for how it has been able to successfully reinvent itself through differing 20th century styles based on innovative, strong designs.
Initially starting out as "Carter's Industrial Tile Manufactory" in the late 19th century, Carter’s son (Owen) introduced table and ornamental wares into their range during the early 1900’s. Production was disrupted by the first world war and following Owen’s death in 1919, new leadership was required. Owen’s nephew Cyril Carter joined forces with artists and craftsmen Harold Stabler and John Adams to form "Carter Stabler Adams" in 1921. Stabler's and Adam's wives (Phoebe and Truda) were both talented designers, and this creative team began to develop their range of iconic "Traditional" ware together with other Art Deco designs. The second world war brought this golden period to an end, with restrictions on commercial domestic pottery and the factory almost closed.
John Adams and Truda Carter both retired in 1950 and another era began following the appointment of Alfred Read as head of design. With a new team the company capitalised on the emerging contemporary design explosion however, although incredibly creative, this period was short-lived with Alfred becoming unwell and retiring in 1958. Robert Jefferson replaced Read - developing new commercial ranges but also creating the company's “Studio” pottery range initially marketed under the name “Delphis”. Jefferson, together with Guy Sydenham and the newly appointed Tony Morris, formed a craft section, encouraging the throwers and paintresses to add their own individuality to the pieces produced. The image shows an example by Cynthia Bennett.
In 1963 Cyril Carter had retired and the company began trading as “Poole Pottery”. Acquisition by Pilkingtons in 1964 (who were themselves taken over by the Thomas Tilling Group), together with focus on production and the departure of Jefferson then Sydenham and finally Morris resulted in the studio section closing in 1982. In 1992 Peter Mills led a management buy-out of Poole Pottery, and David Queensbury took over as art director. There was a return to the more artistic feel of the earlier years, with the revival of the Poole Studio by Sally Tuffin and the introduction of the innovative “Living Glaze” ranges by Alan Clarke and Anita Harris. However following financial difficulties the company changed hands in 2003 and again in 2007 - with "Lifestyle Holdings", owners of Royal Stafford, acquiring Poole Pottery and moving production to the site at Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. Initially retaining a shop and small studio on the quayside at Poole - this was closed in 2017 following acquisition of Poole Pottery by the Denby Pottery Company.