Georgian Pottery

Under Construction

Beamish will expand the range of early cottage industries which visitors can experience at the museum with the introduction of a small Georgian pottery in The 1820s Landscape.

The museum is already linked to the larger industrial potteries in Sunderland as flint ground at Flint Mill on the Beamish site was sent for use in the potteries at Southwick.

The pottery at Beamish will be on a smaller scale but will include a Georgian kiln and firing shed, and pottery area with drying racks and covered open air working areas where visitors will be able to have a go at the traditional skill.

The pottery will be alive with activity, the space will show ceramics at various stages of completion so that visitors gain an understanding of the pottery making process. There will be opportunities to have a go at moulding with clay or trying out the potter’s wheel.

Inspired by the museum’s collection of early 19th century slipware, visitors will also be able to practise applying slip to pre-made pieces, guided by trained members of staff.

The new exhibit will provide a great space for learning groups for both adults and school groups, and activities will be developed to enable groups to create a clay piece from start to finish.

The industrial revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries saw the creation of hundreds of small potteries ready to supply a growing population with tableware and decorative items for the home. This growth continued until the middle of the 19th century, after which, the introduction of mass production techniques led to the demise of the smaller potteries.

Beamish has a collection of 19th century ceramics including everyday items of slipware, Spode and Sunderland ware lusterware, with some pieces already on display within existing Georgian exhibits. The development of the pottery and associated buildings means we will be able to display more of these items, allowing us to share this fascinating piece of North East history with visitors.

We already tell the story of quilter Joseph Hedley at the quilter’s cottage, which was the first building to open as part of Remaking Beamish, and project plans also include building a blacksmith’s exhibit.