In 1949, the Rawson brothers, Desmond and Colin, started making plasterof-
paris models in the scullery of their house at 4 Victoria Avenue, to sell as
affordable souvenirs to Hornsea’s rising number of visitors.
They had both
attended the Batley College of Art,
but had no experience at all of
working in pottery. However, when
their friend Phillip Clappison bought
them a small, second-hand kiln they
continued with their business and
progressed to working with clay. This
was a great step forward as the fired
pieces could be decorated as soon as
they had been cooled, and then fired
again at the lower temperature after a
glaze had been applied.
Their products, including the collectable toby jugs, sold so well that in 1950
they took on their first employee and later moved to rented premises at the
Old Hall in the Market Place. Amongst the items produced at this time were
pink elephants, clogs, the ‘Tommy Twaddle’ and ‘Sam Thatcher‘ characters
and other pre-Fauna items.
As a school leaver, Michael Walker was the first full time employee, cycling
from Beverley every day. Like so many of the subsequent employees, he
was talented and inventive. Sadly, it is not possible to mention them all here.
Bob Hindle, Desmond’s brother in law, joined the company to head the
sales department. He was a major investor and established a successful
Hornsea Pottery was soon well under way and in 1954 it officially became
‘The Hornsea Pottery Company Limited’. The workforce had reached 64 and
expansion was rapid; even the garage at Desmond Rawson’s new home in
Ulrome had to be brought into use to keep up with demand, and a kiln was
installed to produce the black animals. The first animal decorated posies
were also designed at this time, including the favourite rabbit, often stylised
and dressed in human clothing. However, it was soon obvious that another
move would have to be made to even bigger premises.