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Monument record MDR7904 - Pearson's Pottery, Pottery Lane, Chesterfield

Type and Period (1)

  • (Georgian to Late 20th Century - 1810 AD to 1994 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Pottery works depicted on the south side of Pottery Lane (today "Pottery Lane East" ) on the OS 1883 map. Consists of a number of buildings around a central yard. Within the site is an ununsually shaped sub-circular building with a number of small sub-circular structures (possibly kilns) attached. (1) There is an abundance of clay in the area and this, allied to the nearby coal, led to many potteries being established, escpecially in Brampton, Newbold and Whittington. The clay was found to be best suited to brownware pottery and stoneware, kitchen pots, jugs bottles, dishes and jars. James Pearson & Co., at Whittington Moor (Pottery Lane), was established in 1810. Closure of the pottery was announced in 1994. (2) Extensive remains of the former Pearsons' Pottery, Pottery Lane East. Ranges of two storey brick buildings with slate roofs from the mid 19th century onwards; derelict remains of drying sheds and stump of brick chimney. The main office block is in unaltered 1930s style with an ornate leaded glass design featuring the letter 'P' above the main door. Now (2000) in multiple occupation, principally Suon Ltd. (3) Also known as Whittington Moor pottery, the works employed ober 620 people at its height. The group of Pearson potteries occupied an area of 6 acres and had their own clay pit at Wingerworth, and colliery about a quarter of a mile away from the pottery. The pottery made great benefit in the rise of imported sugar by creating suitable containers for the growing fruit preservation trade, alongside ale bottles and pop-bottles. (6) Whittington Potteries came into the possession of the Pearson family in 1810 when it was acquired by Catherine Johnson (nee Pearson). The business became a limited company in 1922 when Mr. Theophilus Pearson succeeded Johnson Pearson, after his death. In 1939, the Oldfield Pottery , trading as James Pearson Ltd., merged with Pearson & Co. and consolidated at the Whittington Moor Potteries. Throughout the early period, Vintage Dressler tunnel ovens were used to fire all pottery products. During the Second World War one portion of the factory was given up for the production of shells. An important section of the firm's business was to manufacture the Royal Navy's rum bottles, the popular size being one gallon. These bottles were also basket woven on site. Much of the material produced on site was exported in principal to the Commonwealth markets and Scandinavia, with about 65-70% of the output to be distributed at home. The site also had its own art department to create an number of ornamental products such as vases and lamps. (7) Pearson's Pottery started in 1810, the owner then being William Johnson, his wife Catherine Johnson (nee Pearson) took over when he died and owned it until 1849-1850. From the census of 1851, her brother James Jarvis Pearson is listed as the owner, employing 45 males and 20 females, showing it was quite a large pottery then. In the early 1890, Johnson Pearson took over the pottery and lived in the Red House. His son Theo Pearson was the last in the line and having no descendants to leave the pottery to, it went to his in-laws whose name was Short. (8)

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Cartographic materials: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1884. First Edition.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Thompson, R. 1994. The Old Photographs of Chesterfield. p. 88.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D. 2000. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology. Part V. North East Derbyshire. p 17.
  • <4> Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card. Pearsons' Pottery.
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: Sadler, G. 2001. History and Guide of Chesterfield. p. 61 & 88.
  • <6> Article in serial: Chesterfield Illustrated. 'Messrs. Pearson & Co., Whittington Moor Potteries, near Chesterfield', Chesterfield Illustrated.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Stoneware from Chesterfield, an account of the history and activities of Pearson & Co (Chesterfield) Ltd.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Nurse, T. 2003. Whittington, before its industrial revolution.



Grid reference Centred SK 38646 73404 (143m by 169m)

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Record last edited

Nov 27 2017 3:05PM

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