Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Of porcelain bathing huts, big boots and seals ....... with of course a story

Now I am quite a fan of crested china.

These are the small porcelain objects often bearing the name and even the coat of arms of the town, city or village where they were purchased.

Not that I was always such a devotee.

With the arrogance of youth I dismissed them out of hand which was silly, because they are superb examples of our popular culture, dating back into the 19th century, and shed a light on our past.

And that is how my fascination for all things crested and porcelain began when I was writing about Manchester and the Great War, and came across some fine examples.*

From there I went back into my own past, and remembered some of the pieces that sat on our mantelpiece, none of which have now survived.

So I was very pleased when Fred Page got in touch, and told me about his parent’s collection which included items from the Great War, along with a selection made more recently.**

One of my favourites must be the one from Wallington of what looks like an old fashioned bathing hut, the sort that allowed bathers at the sea side to get into the water without the look walk along the beach.

And as you do I went looking for Wallington and found four, one in Hampshire, a second in Hertfordshire, another in the London Borough of Sutton, and a final one in Northumberland.

Of these the most promising was a village in Hampshire, part of the borough of Fareham. It is situated between Portsmouth and Southampton near where the River Wallington enters Portsmouth Harbour and so I guess is the closest we will get to the sea.

Not that we should be over tied to accuracy because the porcelain makers turned out the pieces in vast numbers and to distinguish a piece and make it attractive to a passing tourist or resident they carried those place names.

And there wasn’t always a direct match between the porcelain figure and the place.

So during the Great War one company marketed a battleship with the name of Manchester, to mark it out as against similar ones named after other cities.

The only problem was that during that war the Royal Navy didn’t have a battleship called Manchester.
Still it is a fine piece.  In time I will follow up on the other two pieces in the story, but for now that is it.

Location; everywhere

Pictures; crested china courtesy of Fred Page

*Manchester Remembering 1914-18, Andrew Simpson, The History Press, 2017 and A new book on Manchester and the Great War, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.com/2018/06/a-tank-souvenir-and-soldier-far-from.html 

**Of porcelain nurses, the odd tank and the battleship which showed up in landlocked Paisley, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.com/2018/06/of-porcelain-nurses-odd-tank-and.html

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