20 July 2014

Spode and Coronation Celebrations July 1821


On 19th July 1821 there were celebrations for the Spode workers on the occasion of the coronation of HM King George IV. I love the fact that there is a written record of these festivities for this important occasion - the details were noted by one of Spode II's managers.

In a small notebook, amongst detailed recipes for ceramic colours, glazes, stains and bodies are a few personal notes and memos including the record of the festivities organised for the large Spode and Daniel workforce. (Henry Daniel ran a specialist, high quality and technically brilliant decorating business, painting and gilding Spode's wares, to Spode designs. It operated on the Spode factory site.)

The Spode celebrations were held on the very day of the coronation and details are below. Note the difference in what the 'Men and Boys' got and what the 'Women and Girls' received for the party! But a day off, being fed and watered, must have been a rare thing in the pottery industry at this time and emphasises how important this occasion was. Some of the Spode workers may even have met one of their most important customers, now King, when he visited the factory as Prince of Wales in 1806.

"As under the Quantity of people Employ'd at Mr. Spodes and Daniels on the 19th July 1821, the Men and Boys had Dinner & Ale at the Talbot & King's Arms, and all the Women & Girls had Tea on the Manufactory, this was on the King's Coronation George the 4th.

277 Men         
115 Boys           Mr Spode's
 78 Women Total Number 488
 18 Girls           

73 Males           Mr Daniel's 192
119 Females

680 Total"

Spode II as 'Potter to HM King George IV' was one of the suppliers of table wares for the coronation banquet. The tableware pattern which was chosen was Frog pattern and you can find out more about it by going to the F page on my Spode ABC - click here. There are details of the quantities used - a note in the Spode archive suggests nearly 7,000 dinner plates alone... The large workforce of 680 must have been excited to get another royal order and participate in various ways in the manufacture of the pieces for the coronation banquet.

The manufacturing techniques and the type of decoration and gilding employed for this service in this pattern means the pieces were fired at least 5 times. Making pottery is not an exact science and something could have gone wrong at any stage.

Cover Dish (vegetable dish), Frog pattern 3248 c1821