19 November 2010

Spode's Old Colour Room

The Old Colour Room 20 Feb 2008
For many years ceramic colours used on the Spode factory were stored and prepared in the Old Colour Room. This was a specialist and skilled job.

The Spode factory closed in 2009 but production and staff had been dwindling gradually for a few years prior to this. I took some photographs around parts of the old factory site between 2006 and 2008. Like many parts of the huge factory site the room shows a mix of the old and the new.

You can see lidded jars of various sizes and shapes. Many of these held powdered colours ready for use; as well as other ingredients in the preparation of colours. The colours were used for for decorating Spode wares whether bone china, earthenware and stone china as well as, for example, coloured bodiesThe colour room was occasionally in use almost up to the date of closure of the company.
The Old Colour Room 21 September 2006
The Old Colour Room 21 September 2006
Interestingly, and probably obviously, the jars themselves were made on the Spode factory - a good example of self-sufficiency! Some of these have backstamps of Copeland and Garrett dating them to 1833-1847. These items belonged to the Spode company and not to the museum. However whilst Curator I was delighted to accept a range of them into the collection before I left to take up a new role in 2008. 

A range of these colour jars was also purchased directly from the Spode company in 2007/2008 by the Historic Eastfield Village near Albany, NY, USA.
Machine in the Old Colour Room 
There is an image here of a machine in the Old Colour Room. I can't remember the details of what it was for but know from the Head Engraver at the time, Paul Holdway, that it was directly connected to engraving and/or printing departments.