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Walker's Pottery

A Scheduled Monument in Corbridge, Northumberland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.9818 / 54°58'54"N

Longitude: -2.0133 / 2°0'47"W

OS Eastings: 399246.472808

OS Northings: 565242.056086

OS Grid: NY992652

Mapcode National: GBR GBCT.XZ

Mapcode Global: WHB2F.11KQ

Entry Name: Walker's Pottery

Scheduled Date: 10 July 1973

Last Amended: 8 December 2016

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006441

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 575

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Corbridge

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Corbridge with Halton and Newton Hall

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Summary

The standing, buried and earthwork remains of a post-medieval pottery originally known as Walker's Pottery. The remains include a cottage, two updraft or bottle kilns, part of a tramway, at least one circular downdraft kiln and chimney, two Newcastle horizontal kilns, drying rooms with under floor heating, a puddling pond, and one or more pugmills and stables with a walled yard.

Source: Historic England

Details

PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: the standing, buried and earthwork remains of a post-medieval pottery originally known as Walker's Pottery. The remains include a cottage, two updraft or bottle kilns, part of a tramway, at least one circular downdraft kiln and chimney, two Newcastle horizontal kilns, drying rooms with under floor heating, a puddling pond, and one or more pugmills and stables with a walled yard.

DESCRIPTION: fire clay was extracted from the adjacent fields and transported to the pottery via a tramway, which entered the site at the north-east corner, and where a 50m long section, survives as a buried feature. The remains of a puddling pit, in which clay was mixed with water and tempered by sand to improve its working and firing properties, is visible as a roughly rectangular earthwork 12m by 10m and about 1m deep, situated immediately south of the tramway. It has a stone slab bottom and is fed with water through a pipe from a spring, the clay and water mix then channelled away to the south to allow the clay particles to settle before draining off the water. This area is now occupied by the low remains of later buildings, but deposits relating to the earlier features are considered to survive below ground level.

Immediately west of the puddling pit there are the ruined remains of a large building complex. Part of this has been identified as a pugmill, in which the clay was sliced by machine. The walls of this building stand to an average height of 2.5m and the remains of large stone bearing blocks and timbers in its walls indicate the former presence of machinery. The machinery is thought to have been steam driven, and the remains of a rectangular wheel pit, 1m wide, survives at the north end of the building complex. The remains of an earlier, horse drawn pugmill are thought to survive beneath this building. The south part of the building complex is thought to have contained special making rooms in which the prepared clay was made into products. Parts of this building remain roofed with pantiles. Manufactured products were then dried in specialised drying rooms, which housed products vulnerable to frost and had under floor heating; the remains of one such building is situated immediately west of the more easterly bottle kiln, where it is visible as the lower courses of a rectangular building with walls ranging in height from 1.4m to 1.8m. Its drying floor remains in situ and is composed of interlocking tiles which are raised 0.5m above the level of the ground, and there is a fireplace at the south-east corner of the building. The second heated drying room is situated immediately west of the pugmill at the north end of the site. This building has been converted into an office and store and the upstanding structure is listed at Grade II and is not included in the scheduling. Immediately to the south of the latter drying room there are the standing remains of a small two bay brick built cottage, thought to be one of the original buildings at the site, which is also Grade II listed.

The remains of two bottle kilns, in which the manufactured products were fired, thought to date from the earliest phase; the upstanding structures are listed at Grade II* and are not included in the scheduling. The lower parts of a circular down draft kiln and its adjacent tapering chimney stack, both also listed at Grade II, are visible immediately to the north of the most easterly bottle kiln. The tapering chimney is constructed of engineering brick and stands approximately 15m high. The visible lower courses of the kiln stand to a maximum of 1.5m high; cavities in its wall open to the outer face by small round arches approximately 0.8m across. Immediately to the east of this kiln there are the slight remains of a further structure, interpreted as another downdraught kiln, which was constructed over the levelled remains of an earlier bottle kiln. The remains of at least two horizontal kilns known as 'Newcastle Kilns' are attached to the east wall of the original cottage and were present by at least 1895. They are visible as a rectangular brick structure with a pantile roof measuring 4m by 7m. The structure contains two large brick vaults 2.5m high and 5m wide which are open ended to the east, with stacks to the west. The Newcastle kilns are also listed at Grade II.

At the south-east corner of the site, there are the remains of a large stable block and walled yard, thought to have housed horses and carts used for distributing the finished goods. This brick building, built between 1860 and 1895, measures 10m by 7m and stands to a maximum height of 2.5m. There is a large cart entrance through the west wall, and a series of ceramic troughs remain in situ along the north wall of the yard.

EXTENT OF SCHEDULING: the scheduling boundary to the west side of the site includes a margin of two metres around the archaeological and structural remains. A drying room at the north end of the site which has been converted into an office and store, and the pair of upstanding bottle kilns are considered to be more appropriately managed through their respective Grade II and Grade II* listings and they are therefore excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all of these features is included. Also excluded from the scheduling are several features situated within the remains of the former stable and yard including all garden pots and containers, greenhouse, timber gates, raised timber vegetable beds, brick edging to flat beds, gravel surface and the fence posts along its north side, however, the ground beneath all of these features is included.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 2/11/2017

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Walker's Pottery, of C19 and early C20 date is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: a continuous series of standing structures, earthworks and below-ground deposits combine to produce a reasonably well-preserved rural pottery, which has multiple phases and includes the survival of three different forms of kiln;

* Potential: it retains significant evidence relating to the layout and operation of a small, C19 rural pottery in England, which will contribute to our knowledge of their social and economic context and our understanding of long-established industrial techniques;

* Period: a small-scale complex which characterises family-run rural potteries of the period, representing a response to increasing demand for cheap course earthenware and other goods;

* Diversity of features: taken together as a group, the importance of the standing, earthwork and buried remains of Walker's Pottery is enhanced as they illustrate the complete industrial process from transportation, through preparation, manufacture and removal of the finished product.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Northumberland, (1992), 239
Other
Corbridge Pottery, Milkwell Lane, Corbridge, Northumberland, Building Report, 2003, English Heritage

Source: Historic England

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