As an early collector, I would often sit on the weekends and flip through the pages of my willow collectors books and drool over pieces like these above. I am so happy to have found pieces for not only restaurants, but churches and schools. How clever was it to use such an amazing piece of pottery to advertise your church or Sunday school?
The first beautiful set I want to show you is from Wesleyan Chapel and guessing by the inscription in the center it dates to 1865! These pieces all but one are unmarked. The large plate has a mark of Semi China and a 2.
These pieces have a pearlware feel to them. They are not at all heavy. The blue pattern is fairly light and you can see the gorgeous butterfly border. The center emblem notes Wesleyan Chapel Hinchliffe Mill 1865. I purchased these pieces all as one lot.
I took some time online this morning to dig a little bit and see what I could find. On a website called findagrave.com (morbid, I know) I found the chapel was built in 1839, with an adjoining Sunday School built in 1878. By 1930, the burial grounds had been extended with an adjoining tennis court. By 1971, the chapel had closed and the buildings sold.
I almost wonder if the use of the blue and white china was to assist with raising money for the additional Sunday school building to be built only 3 years later. I honestly don’t know, but it isn’t that much of a long shot.
I did find on digital.library.leeds.ac.uk, a reference to a feast the school had about 1900. Wow I wonder if they fed all of those kids on blue willow plates like mine!!!! Its a miracle any survived!
Switching gears on you a little bit is my favorite advertising jug. It is marked with Old Blue Bell Bury, Barnbrook. I simply love this jug. It is a fairly large jug and I love the light blue coloring and butterfly border. This piece is also unmarked. But I was able to find a little bit of information about the “Old Blue Bell”.
The Old Blue Bell is a pub and is still in existence today. In fact, the pub was actually renovated last year and looks like a place you could find an amazing meal and a drink on about any day.
The Old Blue Bell is linked to a brewery that began in the 1800’s. You can take a look at the history at the following link. https://www.joseph-holt.com/history-timeline.
Ok, this next one I was not able to locate any information on at all. Wesleyan Sunday School Pepper Mill. This appears to be a serving plate and is unmarked. The butterfly border on this piece is gorgeous as well. The blue pattern is so light and delicate.
Next up is a small side plate for Didsbury Village School. I am fairly sure this is from the mid 1800’s as well and was made by Minton. I am guessing this side plate is probably from a school in Manchester that later became a part of the Didsbury Campus, a theological college.
Lastly is the only dark blue piece I have! This pieces if from the Congregational Church in Bakewell. This church appears to have been built in 1844 and is now a Roman Catholic Church. The plate itself was distributed by Charles Hawley China & Glass in Sheffield.
These pieces have the same pattern for the most part and shape but the difference in coloring is amazing.
I guess, I have a very strong appreciation for pieces like this because they have survived the test of time. Each piece is between 150-200 years old and because of the amazing craftsmanship, these pieces were cherished and kept out of harms way. I would love to know what hands these pieces have passed through and what there beliefs were and why these pieces mattered so much to them.
For now, I am just thankful I can display them and cherish them and now I know a little bit more about where each piece came from!
Happy Willowing Friends.