Potbank Videos

Potters Wheel Interlude

1935 Jolleying from 'Clay, Hands and Fire' by Spode 

Jolleying to create holloware. The wedged clay is batted out on a spreader.  The clay is then pushed into the plaster of Paris mould. The mould forms the outside shape of the pot.  Then, on a jolley, the potter brings down a profile tool into the inside of the fast rotating mould.  The profile tool spreads the clay thinly into the mould and excess clay squeezes out. The unwanted clay is cut off.  The mould is then allowed to dry during which time the clay inside the pot shrinks away from the mould.  The potter can then remove the dry clay piece.

1935 The Potters' Good Turn

British Pathé. Silent. 2:18 mins. Rather dark.  Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.  Shot of the great kilns at Longton. We then see several shots of potters making crockery for the Jubilee. They take lumps of clay and put them on their turntables, then shape them into pots and cylindrical shapes. Handles are taken out of moulds and trimmed, then fixed to the cup shapes. The cups are put in a special container inside the kiln. After firing they are cooled off then dipped into glaze. The cups are then decorated with a special Jubilee design which is stuck on in transfer form. Girls sitting at tables finish the mugs off by lining the edges with liquid silver. C/U of the finished mug, showing pictures of Queen Mary and King George V in an ornate design.

1936 The Cornish Pyramids

Harry Waldon's film The Cornish Pyramids looks at the English China Clays PLC or ECC works near St Austell and shows the clay being extracted and the processes it goes through before being used to produce fine white porcelain to make a teacup or to be added to women's face powder. It is filmed at Goonvean and Rostowrack Clay Pits near St Dennis and is part of a collection from the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro.

Kaolin, better known as China Clay takes its name from the Chinese Kao-Ling, a village near Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province. William Cookworthy (1705-1780) a Plymouthian apothecary born in Kingsbridge used china clay and china stone from Cornwall to manufacture and achieve the hardened fine porcelain preferred by the Chinese. The French company Imetal bought the ECC in 1999 for an estimated seven and a half million pounds and started work at Higher Moor Pit in 2012 where four million tons of raw material is to be extracted for use.  herehttps://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-the-cornish-pyramids-1936-online 

1939 Stoke On Trent

British Pathé. Various shots of the Queen Mary (Princess of Teck) in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire (the Potteries) to visit the the Wedgwood factories. She is greeted by large crowds of people.

1940 - 1949 Pottery without a wheel 

British Pathé - British Instructional Films.

1940 - 1949 Pottery

British Pathé - British Instructional Films present a Classroom Film.

1941 Colour in Clay from British Council Film

"A Technicolor study of English pottery, the skill of the potter, and the modern mechanised factories of Wedgwood."  Products from other companies shown at the end of the film.
Vimeo > https://vimeo.com/40143224


1947 Five Towns

BFI Britain on Film series. Directed by Terry Bishop. 1947. 26 mins
The five towns of the Staffordshire Potteries region are passionately promoted in Terry Bishop’s film, which structures itself around the arrival of an innocent young woman from London, the girlfriend of a factory worker’s son, who’s educated in the glorious heritage of the potteries. As well as lovingly detailing the area’s famed production techniques, the documentary also looks at the challenges of post-war reconstruction in the region.

Here's a 'teaser' clip from the film, here on YouTube

For the full film go here> http://player.bfi.org.uk/film/watch-five-towns-1947/

1948 Pottery Factory

BBC Archive Film from 1948.

1949 Potteries Welcome Princess

British Pathé. 1:29 mins. Staffordshire. Royal visit to rain soaked Pottery towns. Royal Doulton.

1949 Princess Elizabeth Visits The Potteries

British Pathé. 1:20 mins. Silent.

1950s Potbanks - canals and potbanks, Wedgwood, Spode, Twyfords, Burgess and Leigh

Shots of Wedgwood factory Etruria, Spode factory Stoke, Twyfords factory Cliffe Vale, Burgess and Leigh factory Middleport, Shelton bar steel works Etruria.

1950 Wedgwood Today

British Pathé.

1951 Worcester Porcelain

Royal Worcester Porcelain factory in Worcestershire. British Pathé film.

1955 Doulton Character Jugs

Short documentary showing the making of Royal Doulton character jugs, from modelling through to finish piece.

1957 Pottery

British Pathé. Wedgwood, Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent

1958 The Making Of Wedgwood Reel 1

British Pathé - Processes on the factory

1958 The Making Of Wedgwood Reel 2 

1960 Six Towns

Introduced by a windswept Eric Ball: "50 years ago this was smothered in smoke" (actually in March 1960 it still looks pretty smoky) this commemorative film produced by ATV celebrates the six towns that make up Stoke on Trent. Each jostled for prominence in 1910, Burslem going as far as building a new town hall, but lost out to Stoke in the civic race. Hanley has the shops and a new civic centre on the way and Longton the potteries but each retains its historic importance.

1960 China Clay Heyday

China clay was discovered and used by the Chinese in the seventh and eight centuries AD. Britain imported fine china from the Chinese until the 1740s when china clay deposits were found around St Austell in Cornwall. English potteries turned their potter's wheel to making fine bone china like Royal Worcester and Wedgwood after Thomas Fyre of Bow and Josiah Spode of Stoke-on-Trent developed bone china, a fine white porcelain following the discovery of the deposits.

Kaolin is made from the clay mineral kaolinite formed by the decomposition of aluminium silicates such as feldspar. The deposits are blasted in open pits at high pressure to form slurry. The kaolin produced is mixed with other materials but gives the bright white bone china; bone, because Thomas Fyre added bones into the mix, a by-product of the slaughterhouses that surrounded his factory. Fine decorated porcelain began to be exported around the world. Most major English firms made or still make it and china clay is still extracted in Cornwall and Malaysia but most is used to make paper white with only twelve per cent of production going to the pottery industry. herehttps://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-china-clay-heyday-1960-online

1960s Wedgwood  

From the Huntley Film Archives. Published on 17 Feb 2017  "The Josiah Wedgwood factory in Staffordshire 1960s.  History of the Wedgwood family. Workers arriving by train at Wedgwood Station. The factory mixing and raw ingredients to create the clay. Workers in the factory making Wedgwood items including plates, cups, vases and more decorative objects. Firing clay. Kilns. Stages of manufacture of products. Decorating plates. Glazing and firing. Using Lithograph sheets for design. Applying Wedgwood label to plates. Warehouse with finished products. Breaking china which is not perfect. Packing china for all over the world. Sir John Wedgwood. Famous Wedgwood designs."

1961 Crockery Design

British Pathé. 2:39 mins Wedgwood Factory, Barlaston, England.
Also here > http://www.britishpathe.com/video/crockery-design

1966 Wedgwood Pottery

1966 Wedgwood Pottery (reel 2?)

1969 Bob Boote talks about Stoke-on-Trent

The potteries of Stoke persist, but this is a vision of post-industrial Britain. With pits and factories closed, polluted sites spoilt Staffordshire until restorative action was taken. Landscaping forms a new contract between man and nature, railway lines become green corridors, a quarry becomes Brockton nature reserve, closed roads allow Cannock Chase to rewild, and the River Churnet runs clean.

This film was part of the Pacemakers series produced by the Central Office of Information for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to promote progressive Britons to the world. The film was edited for a wider audience and re-released in 1970 as Black Spot to Beauty Spot. Stoke native Bob Boote combined a career as a planner with activism as a pioneer conservationist. Here>  https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-bob-boote-1969-online

1970-1979 Pottery

British Pathé. Silent. 13 mins  Story about the making of pottery
Various shots of children partaking in various activities. Then various shots of a china clay mine in Cornwall. Shots of  a potter preparing the clay at a potter's wheel, potter making a plate and various women in factory making and stacking cups. Then aerial panning shot of a pottery factory. Various shots of a potter making a teapot. and shots of men baiting a bottle oven. Various shots of people in the factory preparing and stacking pottery.  Note: The film of the pottery factory predates that of the children at the start of the film. The scenes from the factory look more like the 1950s or 1960s.

1970s Staffordshire Potteries, Meir

Huntley Film Archives. Staffordshire Potteries. Pottery scenes show the preparation of the clay and a Potter at work making mugs. Potter puts clay in a mould. Girl puts mugs on a conveyor belt. Filling another mould with wet clay to make handles. Use of rim smoother. Woman removes wet handles and another smooths the handles ready for fitting. Mugs dipped in glaze and put on a shelf. The shelf is wheeled into a kiln. Mugs come out looking different. Woman puts Tom and Jerry transfer onto a child's bowl. Hand painting, machine painting. Mugs have a pattern put on them by a machine. Traditional pottery techniques. A potter shows how to prepare clay. Children learn to make pots by hand. Some children make little bricks out of clay and make model buildings. Children learning to use a potters wheel. Experienced potter shows how it is done. Close ups of the potter making a vase.

1971 The Potters

A 15 minute film about pottery making by the British Tourist Authority in collaboration with Gladstone Pottery Museum. 1971. Includes an appeal by Derek Johnson of H&R Johnson Richards Tiles for support and money to save Gladstone Pottery Museum, Longton

2009 May Un Mar Language

May Un Mar Language - The Dialect of the Potteries is the first feature length documentary created by Inspired Film and Video. Filmed in 2009 it explores the unique dialect that comes from Stoke-on-Trent and grew up in the pot banks, coal mines and other heavy industry of the city. Interviewing those who grew up with 'Potteries Dialect' and those who keep it alive to this day it is a window into this unique world of language.

2011 Portmeirion Group

A film for The Telegraph Business Club on world famous pottery company, Portmeirion Group.

2013 Moorcroft : How Moorcroft Pottery is made

2014 Industrial Revelations - Clocking On

Mark Williams discovers how engineer James Brindley tunnelled through hills in a straight line, and details the emergence of Josiah Wedgwood's pottery business as a global industry. Views of Canals, Wedgwood, and Gladstone Pottery Museum.

2014 Ornamentation for Wedgwood's Japser

Potter, Jon French demonstrates the techniques used to create the relief patterns of Wedgwood's Jasper.

2014 The 28 meanings of Jigger

From QI - the BBC television programme. While jiggering a jiggered jigger, Victoria jiggers 'jigger' and Jimmy jiggers the jigger's jigger. Much jiggering ensues. (Don't laugh too hard!)

2015 Mulberry partners with Wedgwood

2016 Spode Blue Italian: Perfection for 200 Years

Spode’s Blue Italian is one of the most important designs in British ceramic history and celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2016. Twenty two pairs of hands make Blue Italian at Portmeirion Group’s factory in Stoke-on-Trent. Follow its fascinating journey of creation