From 1871, Frederick Garrard leased three cottages at The Millwall Pottery for the manufacture of “Earthenware Pottery”. The pottery had been established in Wharf Road, Millwall in 1852 by Thomas Wilcox, Edward Price Smith and Orlando Webb, “manufacturers of general earthenwares of all classes” but in 1881, the company was formally re-organised as The Millwall Pottery Company with Edward Wilcox, Thomas Davis Wilcox, Champion Woodrow, Arthur Wilcox, Charles Francis Bullard Birchall, John Ball Ball (sic) and Kenneth Henry Cornish as Directors (“Southern Millwall”). At that time the premises, entered by a narrow passageway just north of the Millwall Ferry House, comprised a yard with a range of single-storey buildings. These incorporated several old warehouses, together with the three cottages leased by Garrard (“Memoranda”). The company was short-lived, and at an Extraordinary Meeting held on 11 May 1887 it was resolved “that it has been proved..... that the company cannot by reason of its liabilities continue its business, and that it is advisable to wind up the same voluntarily.” Although the company had declared its intention to wind-up, the actual liquidation did not take place until 11 August 1905 (“Memoranda”). . Even after this, it appears that tiles continued to be manufactured at the pottery by John Lewis James.

It would seem that Garrard, and later James, were only tenants, leasing the premises and probably utilising many of the facilities that the pottery offered. This is likely to have included clay storage, grinding and mixing pans, access to pugmills etc as well as the use of the kilns and storage areas for the finished wares, none of which would have conveniently fitted into the three cottages, which are likely to have been used for designing and decorating and as showrooms.

Bibliography

“Memoranda of Association of the Millwall Pottery Limited and other papers including Dissolution.” The National Archives, ref: BT31/2736/1483 385795.

'Southern Millwall: The Mellish Estate in Southern Millwall', Survey of London: volumes 43 and 44: Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs (1994), pp. 480-89.


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