Holdings Pottery

the pottery was founded in 1842 by james holding at gaulkthorn a hamlet 2 valleys away from its present site.

in 1860 james moved his buisness to broadfield and in 1900 his son grimshaw moved it to its present premises on the bleak windswept hillside above oswaldtwistle.

there are still relics of the broadfield pottery a road called pothouse lane and a row of 5 houses called broadfield terrace built by grimshaw for each of his 5 sons.

now why would anyone want to build a pottery on a heath? the answer lies in the soil for the pottery not only stands on clay but is surrounded on all sides by clay tons of the stuff thick gooey dirty brown clay, so when holdings need a bit of clay they just go outside and dig some up,which is why the pottery's immediate vicinity looks like an artillery range.

not only do they dig out there own clay,not only do they throw out there own pots,not only do they glaze them and fire them, they also sell them to the public in there own shop,thats productivity for you and in the old days they made there own bricks,fired them in there own kilns,and used them to build the pottery.

the equipment would bring a gleam to any eye of the lover of old machinery,theres the blunger,a great metal thing like a giant food mixer with blades inside which churn up the clay and mix it into a cream,then theres the sieve looking like a small railway bridge it squeezes all the water out of the clay and gets rid of the stones.

and then theres the pugmill which squeezes the clay again until it is tight and ready to be cut into loaves from which the potter takes his "passes the balls of clay he turns into pots.

its a pity about the steam engine having to go now, that would have been something to look at, they say that in the days of old miners getting the coal out of town bent pit used to know when it was snap time because they could no longer feel the thump of it through the ground when the pottery stopped for the mid day snack.
in those days holdings employed 20-30 men,there was clay to be dug,hay to be harvested,bricks and pots to be made and fired for three days and nights in the kilns.

labour was cheap and plentiful,today its all different,we buy all our pots in shops ,pots which are mass produced either in the potteries or abroad. The holding family cater for the discerning pot purchaser,the man or woman who wants a handmade pot because its unique,and who wants to know that it is made from the clay of the native heath.

theres only one potter now roland tregurtha who with a name like that you would think was a cornish tin-miner but hes been at holdings for 31 yrs of his 45 yrs,and has thrown more pots than he could ever remember if he spent the next 31 yrs thinking about it and is happy to continue throwing until he retires.

22yr old geoffrey holding fresh from college with a degree in electronic engineering is running the shop floor part of the pottery while his mother and father mind the shop and his brother richard puts in an appearance whenever he can.

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