A modest beginning PDF Print E-mail

The first kiln.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.

Old Hall

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 sales organisation.

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. 

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