Establishing a context
- Visiting other small potteries of 19th century
- Listening to local people's reminiscences
It is essential when starting a local history project to have some understanding of the chosen subject and to realise its context in the local and regional area. Knowing very little about the craft of pottery making or where local potteries were located, I explored both these subjects in published books in Stockton Library.
'... I found that some local people did have recollections of the Pottery.'
Focussing on the small country potteries of the north and the north Midlands, I began reading what had already been written about them in the journals and bulletins of interested societies. I visited three surviving examples of potteries to see what Canney Hill may have looked like. One of these at Wetheriggs, near Penrith, was probably quite similar to Canney Hill and gave me a good idea what it must have been like to work there.
There were stories of grandparents collecting pieces of broken pottery to play games with, while at the Methodist Chapel at Coundon Gate some items used in the kitchen were said to have been made there. These included a large teapot which has survived and is now in Beamish Museum.