Cloam oven

Contributed by Cornwall Museums

THIS OBJECT IS PART OF THE PROJECT 'A HISTORY OF CORNWALL IN 100 OBJECTS'.

TINTAGEL OLD POST OFFICE. Cornish kitchens have distinct features like cloam ovens or the highly decorated Cornish slab or range. The cloam oven at the Old Post Office Tintagel is a good example and is now being fired up again.

Cloam or earthenware ovens were made at Bideford in Devon and Lake's Pottery, Truro,
until the 1930s. The oven, which had a sealable cloam door, was filled with furze and fired till red-hot. Ashes were then quickly raked out and bread or a joint put in to bake. After these were cooked smaller articles, like cakes, were baked before the oven cooled.

For the whole of the Victorian period, the Old Post Office was run as a farm by the Symons family, though always with a subsidiary business - shoemaking, grocer's shop, post office, dressmakers etc. The cloam oven was used successively by Margaret Symons and her daughters Betsy Millar, Emma Parnell and Mary Emitt.

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