May I suggest that you navigate the site via the index on page 001.PRIOR PAGE / NEXT PAGE

Do you want to make a comment? A site guestbook is here. Test. And:- page bottom (a pottery related industrial scene).

To search for specific text on this page, just press 'CTRL + F' & then enter your search term. A general site search facility is here.

But re the Sunderland potteries, you might quicker go to the pottery index here.

Above are the front and back covers of the volume '19th Century LUSTREWARE', by Michael Gibson. Published by Antique Collectors' Club in 1999 and later reprinted. A fine volume indeed.

This page is the second page re the potteries of Sunderland. Here is the first potteries page. And here is the third, re verses on Sunderland pottery.

If you spot errors on this page, big or small, do let the webmaster know so the matters can be corrected.


A short lived pottery it would seem, which operated just from 1838 to 1841. Operated, I read, by John Allison and other workers from John Dawson's Pottery at Low Ford. It produced simple earthenware but also lustre decorated pottery. Seaham Harbour is close to Sunderland, on the coast just 6 miles south of the city.

For a while, I did not include this pottery in these pages. But I was inspired by an e-Bay item in March 2007 to include it. The listing referred to a lustre plaque with a short transferred verse, of a circular shape which was, per the vendor, unique to Seaham Pottery.

Michael Gibson advises that Sunderland Museum has in their collection a large jug with 'SEAHAM POTTERY' lettered under the spout. But he also indicates that such a marking is rare. And that a possible indicator of a Seaham Pottery jug might be a lower half which tapers fairly markedly towards the base. That is all I have. I need help!


The only reference I have so far seen to this pottery is that it is very old indeed, established in about 1750. Located perhaps 3 1/2 miles southwest of Sunderland. There was a colliery there (located a mile closer to Sunderland) which opened in 1869 and closed in November 1971. That is it. That is all I have. I need help!

I did see, on a map in a library, that there are two places near Sunderland with 'Silksworth' in their names - 'Silksworth' perhaps and 'New Silksworth'? But I may be mistaken because I did not write it down - silly me!


It would seem that Thomas Snowball, and his brother Ralph, ran this facility in Monkwearmouth, presumably in the Sheepfolds area, in the late 19th century. Michael Gibson tells us they specialised in decorating pots - their own and also blank pieces brought in from Staffordshire. This pottery received more of their attention than their High Southwick Pottery.

I am advised that 'Sheepfolds' is the name given to the area immediately to the north of the Sunderland bridges, very close to the river and indeed within a few hundred yards of it. On an 1895 map of the area there are three east-west streets having 'Sheepfolds' in their names, in the area to the immediate west of Monkwearmouth Station. And they are still there today. The area was noted for its industrial activities - in shipbuilding, pottery, coal mining and saw mills - and had some housing. It is now an area of small factory units, the Sheepfolds Industrial Estate, with the Stadium of Light on its western extremity. I think that there was a windmill there. One James Ryder, in the late 19th century, owned a substantial mill (probably steam driven) on Wilson Street, part of the Sheepfolds area. The mill burned down on more than one occasion. That data comes from this site. I had to change the font size to be able to even read a single word on that page, so I may not have that data correctly.


I have read that this pottery was set up in 1874 by Ralph Seddon (or perhaps that is Sedden). It was located on Robinson Street in Monkwearmouth. Now Robinson Street would seem to be in Sheepfolds just west of the Monkwearmouth Station. Ralph would seem to have come to Sunderland in 1861 to manage the S. Moore & Co. or Wear Pottery. And struck out in 1874 to form his own pottery business.

DIXON & CO (1813-1819)
PHILLIPS & CO (1813-1819)
DIXON AUSTIN & CO (1820-1826)
DIXON, AUSTIN, PHILLIPS & CO (1827 to 1834/1839)
DIXON, PHILLIPS & CO (c. 1834 - 1839/1865)


I still need to add data about this pottery which was located at the very mouth of the River Wear, and isolated (if that is the correct word) from all of the other Sunderland potteries, being the only one east of the bridges. It was located there before the town barracks moved in beside it, but because of that later proximity it became known as the 'Garrison' Pottery. Con Culkin advises in his fine site, (we thank you, Con!) that the barracks were built in 1794 to billet over 1500 men and officers, with a hospital and stables for 10 horses. Further that the barracks and port were protected by gun batteries of 6 24-pounders on both south and north sides. There is much data to be added here in due course, when it comes to hand.

Now when above it states that this pottery was the only pottery east of the bridges, I suspect that may not be so. The Wear Pottery would seem to have been located at North Sands, as per words you can read here. For quite a while, I thought that there was another pottery located on the south bank and immediately to the east of the road bridge. What looks like a pottery is visible in the first image on site page 01, the Hemy print, and in other images on that page. But I now know I was quite wrong! That 'pottery' is in fact the Bishopwearmouth Panns Glass House which would seem to have operated at that location from 1714 to maybe 1881. Perhaps, to an educated eye, it would be possible to identify that facility in the image as being a glass works rather than a pottery. But my eye is clearly not 'educated'! For a while, also, I thought it might have been Bridge or Jericho Pottery, but not so, it would seem.

What I have read about this particular pottery leaves a lot to be desired. It started in 1753 but who started it? I do not yet know the answer. Where exactly was it? While I am not exactly sure, I am advised it was right on the river bank and the barracks were located behind it. The barracks do show on the 1897 Ordnance Survey Map occupying most of the land between the River, 'Half Tide Basin' and the north end of 'Hudson Dock North'. And to the west of the barracks are visible 'Pottery Buildings' and a street called 'Pottery Bank'. That surely must be the site of Sunderland Pottery. Yes? The barracks are also visible on this page which shows an 1817 plan and map of Sunderland by George Garbutt, created, of course, long before Hudson Dock was built. The pottery buildings? They may well have been destroyed in the air raids of WW2. The data that I have read is modest and if YOU can improve upon and expand upon it, I would love to hear from you.

The use of 'lustre' on pottery produced by The Sunderland Pottery would seem to have commenced in the early 1800's.

Elsewhere on this site you can read (under Maling) that John Phillips who had been the Maling manager took over the North Hylton Pottery when Maling moved from Sunderland to Newcastle in 1817. Which is a puzzle because I read that he had taken over the lease of the Garrison Pottery ten years earlier - in 1807. Would he have been manager for Maling and had his own competing pottery at one and the same time? It is surely possible. But also probably unlikely. 1807 looks like a good date though, for in 1813 John Phillips was joined at Sunderland Pottery by Robert Dixon and later still Robert Dixon's two sons joined the firm also. In 1820 John Phillips died, and Robert Dixon continued the business with William Austin, new partner and an experienced potter. (Is this Austin related to the shipbuilding Austin? The answer is yet to be determined. By the webmaster at least.) Robert Dixon died in 1844. The whole pottery died in 1865, it would seem.

You would think that the pottery markings might help track the above changes. Which they to some extent seem to do. But not too perfectly, or so it seems to me.

Prior to 1807 - who knows?
1807 to 1812 - John Phillips
1813 to 1819 - Phillips & Co. and/or Dixon & Co.
1820 to 1826 - Dixon, Austin & Co.
1827 to 1834/1839 or thereabouts - Dixon, Austin, Phillips & Co. (why is the Phillips name there? He died in 1820.)
c. 1834 - 1839/1865 - Dixon, Phillips & Co. (Why, again, is the Phillips name there?)

There are some pottery marks related to the pottery here. Numbers 1 through 10 seem to relate (with the exception of No. 3). But there is at least one new pottery mark on that page which is not referenced above, i.e. 'W. Dixon'.  Is W. Dixon a son of Robert Dixon? And why are there marks 'Phillips & Co.' and 'Dixon & Co.' when John Phillips and Robert Dixon were both alive and partners at the very same pottery? The subject is most confusing! This site, alas, does not help any re this pottery.

Much of the confusion may be caused because 'Sunderland' or 'Garrison' Pottery was most prolific. And items are attributed to them accordingly and maybe quite wrongly. But we must move on!

Next I show an image of the 1796 Sunderland bridge as it was illustrated on a piece of pottery. A most frequent theme it would seem. Created by the J. Phillips & Co, (who are they?), Sunderland Pottery. And stated to date from c. 1840. A most valuable piece of pottery it would seem. The jug was sold via e-Bay in September 2006 for GBP 280 or approximately U.S. $ 527.49. It had a little damage, it would seem, and surely would have achieved an even higher price had it been of perfect quality. Some of the listing images would seem to have been removed from that e-Bay page including this other face of the jug (it had 3 faces) depicting the Coat of Arms of 'The Grand Union of Oddfellows'.

A 'snippet' addition. In words attributed to William Bruce (1842/1925), in 1897/1898 the Mayor of Sunderland, re 'Dixon Phillips pottery of North Moor Street' - the willow pattern for dinner ware was their private design. Women bought and hawked it throughout the town.' Per the Sunderland Echo of Mar. 14, 2012, thanks to a message received from Keith Cochrane. 


A pottery that was relatively short-lived from 1846 or 1850 through to 1885. And small - maybe 15 employees only. Started by Thomas Snowball who with his brother Ralph also ran the Sheepfolds Warehouse in Monkswearmouth. Where exactly was the Snowball pottery? In Southwick and close to the River Wear is the only indication of location I can see. But 'High' Southwick sounds as though it would be away from the river. I now think that 'Low' Southwick ran north from the river to the railway lines running east-west. And that 'High' Southwick is further to the north and above those railway lines.

Mavis White tells us that Ralph Snowball, born 1831, did the printing on the pottery.

It would seem that either Thomas or Ralph Snowball had sons - a site visitor has matching Sunderland lustre mugs, dated 1852, featuring i) John Snowball & ii) James Snowball. As you can see next. 'Prior Hall' would seem to have been the home of the Snowball family. Both had verses as you can see below. And here & here.

No data on the WWW, that I can see, about this pottery. Which surprises me because 'Snowball' while not a rare name is not a common one either.

The pottery produced the usual range of wares but specialized in religious plaques. They apparently did not mark their production in any way.

Next is an example of a 'lustre' religious plaque. Pink and copper lustre, with green enamelled corners. Made by Thomas Snowball? It is possible but the item is not marked so there is no way to tell. 9 x 8 inches in size. I show you front and back to show that the back had no markings to indicate who, in fact, made it. The text reads, I understand 'THOU GOD, SEE’ST ME.' & the Biblical text around the top reads 'In theeO Lord do I put my trust : Let me never be confounded : PsA XXXI. Ver. 1'. The item sold on e-Bay for GBP 55.00 in late October 2006.

WEAR POTTERY (1805-1882)


I am indebted in large part, re the paragraphs that follow, and particularly re the italicised quotations, to a Thompson's family web site with a page about Samuel Moore located here. I sincerely thank George H. Graham of Tulsa, Oklahoma, whose web site that is.

If I understand correctly the words I have read about this pottery, it had its beginnings prior to 1805 when it may have been named the Southwick Union Pottery. In 1805, Samuel Moore (c.1775/1844) took over the pottery with Peter Austin as his short term partner, and changed the name of the pottery to 'Wear Pottery' which operated with the name of 'S. Moore & Co.' which name stayed, I read, for the lifetime of the pottery. Both Moore and Austin had trained at Newbottle under Robert Fairbairns, and Austin had married Moore's sister, Jane. Neither stayed in the business for long, apparently. But Samuel's son Charles had joined him in the business and in fact by 1831 he was the pottery manager. And a nephew of Charles Moore also joined (George Story Moore), who, on his uncle's death became sole proprietor, and operated the business until 1861, when the pottery business failed, and fell into the hands of a Sunderland solicitor, R. T. Wilkinson.

Along the way a branch, known as the Bridge or Jericho Pottery was opened in 1844 for the production of brown ware.

Wilkinson appointed Ralph Seddon (or maybe Sedden) 'from Staffordshire as a manager, and on his advice the works were largely rebuilt and equipped with modern machinery. From 1866 to 1872 the pottery was said to be the largest on Wearside, employing 180 hands, and enjoying a good home and export trade, chiefly to Denmark and Germany.

In 1874 Sedden left to set up his own business - the St Bede's Pottery in .... Monkwearmouth. After 1875, the Wear Pottery was leased, with the Jericho branch, to Messrs. Glaholm, Robson, and Lyall, who were plumbers and ironfounders, Lyall being the active partner. They placed it under the management of John Patterson, probably of the family which operated the Sherriff Hill Pottery, Gateshead. The firm then concentrated chiefly on making dinner sets of various patterns, abandoning what it considered the old fashioned transfer-printed pink lustreware. The venture proved not to be a success, and the pottery closed down in 1882, being sold to Robert Thompson, shipbuilder, whose premises it adjoined, for £4,000 for four acres of land, buildings, and machinery. It was totally demolished by 1883, as Robert Thompson took all of the North Sands into his shipyard.'

While I have not read where exactly the Wear pottery was located it was, I have read, close to Scott's Southwick Pottery and it would seem that there was a degree of cooperation between the two potteries with both potteries featuring some identical transfer print designs. But I wonder whether those words can be true in view of the final italicised words at the end of the previous paragraph. It would seem to have been rather located on North Sands, which I suspect is not particularly close to Southwick. The location of Bridge or Jericho pottery is another matter, presently unknown to the webmaster.

It is of great interest to the webmaster to read that Peter Austin is the Peter Austin of the shipbuilding firm S. P. Austin and Son Ltd., which commenced business at North Sands in 1826.

The pottery went out of business in 1882. I guess that means both the Wear and also the Bridge or Jericho Potteries?

I hope to soon be able to show you one of their famous items, a plaque that features a palace and palm trees and a lake with a mounted figure in the foreground. I have yet to spot such an item, however. Could this possibly be it? They also featured an orange (iron) lustre.

One of their pottery marks can be seen on this page. There was, I read another mark not illustrated there - 'S.M. & Co.' - used exclusively on 'The Bottle' series of plates and on their 'California' pattern plaque also. And it would seem there were other marks that included the name 'Moore'.

An update in late Nov. 2013. While there are changes to this total website quite literally every day of the year, those changes are rarely in the site's few pottery pages. I am inspired however to modify this page today having fortunately found this e-Bay page featuring a magnificent tureen, by Moore & Co., believed to date from c.1820. 7 1/2 inches tall. Do drop by & see all of the vendor's many fine listing images. A quickly prepared composite of a few of those images follows.


Just one. Of a very great many. There are more on site page 175. Below is one that amuses the webmaster. And I hope will amuse you also.

Says Sylvia to a reverend priest
What reason can be given
Since marriage is a holy thing
That there is none in heaven?
There are no women he replied
She quite returned the jest
Women there are, but I'm afraid
They can not find a priest.


Items are added when I locate images of good quality and of visual interest. I thank the sources, which so far (the first 2 items) are expired e-Bay listings. In time, hopefully, a broad range of Sunderland items may be featured here. There are lots of pottery images available but relatively few of the necessary fine quality for inclusion here. 

A strange item to first present, perhaps, but I like it. A creamer just 5 1/2 inches tall. An e-Bay item of long ago now. I think others must like it also because it sold for U.S. $204.01 in mid December 2006. The vendor, decadesofdesign of Toronto, Canada, said 'At one time, there was potentially a small ‘lid’ for the opening where one poured in the cream ....' Mid 19th century, perhaps. Another such creamer was for sale on e-Bay in January 2007. With a high bid, when this page was last amended, of GBP 127.00 or U.S. $248.98. But I cannot tell you the final price.

A beautiful Sunderland purple lustre plaque. With ship and a verse. An e-Bay item, which sold for GBP 42 or approximately U.S. $82.18 in late December 2006. The vendor r6andrew is to be commended for the quality of the images in his/her listing. They were large and truly superb. And what I present could be considered to be mere thumbnails! Do visit the link.

A most beautiful lustre bowl, measuring 12 1/2 inches across the rim & 4 1/2 inches high. With a repeated 'Crimea' motif & also an 'August' motif. The site visitor who kindly provided these images, advises that the bowl is believed to have been a wedding gift for her GG grandmother, who was married at Blean, Kent, on Aug. 30, 1857. The Crimean War was in the period of Oct. 1853 to Feb. 1856. The bowl also has an iron bridge transfer on it (not visible below), and a repeated verse that can be seen here. Made by 'Scotts' from the mark on its base.

May I suggest that you navigate the site via the index on page 001.PRIOR PAGE / NEXT PAGE

To Sunderland Pottery pages 1 and 3

To Thomas M. M. Hemy Data Page 41. All of the other Thomas Hemy pages, including image pages, are accessible though the index on page 05.

To the Special Pages Index.


For your interest.

An early postcard image ex eBay that has been in my files for a great many years. That relates to the subject of potteries. In Staffordshire, I think.

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