employees remember

Phillip Parker was doing an archaeological degree in 1985 and chose Parrott & company for one of his projects. During his research he advertised for information from any previous employees. He received both written and oral history which he is happy to share here.

Mrs Molly Bailey (nee Nixon) - Crewe

"I joined the company when I was about 17, probably in 1930, as a shorthand typist.The partners were C H and A W Parrott. Mr A Parrott, their father was a traveller for them but as far as I knew he had no financial interest in the company.

At that time they made Redware teapots, jugs etc. Sometime after I joined, the partners enlarged their works with a 3 storey building and began to make their Creamware. Up to that time they bought Whiteware., mostly if I remember [correctly] from the Coronation Pottery at Fenton. A Mrs Spane was the leading light in that firm.

They produced decorated Wave Lithos and hand-painted wave and aerographing [the fine spraying of delicate shades of colour], which was used on Floating Bowls and Vases and such fancyware as well as teaware but a lot  of difficulty was experienced with this, as the powders used in washing up caused a great many complaints, which used to exasperate the partners. 

They also did a line depicting Gilbert & Sullivan operas and also Nell Gwynns story, the latter which they supplied to the Nell Gwyn Cafe in Lad Lane Newcastle at that time.I left the firm about1934 or 1935. I heard later that C H Parrott died quite early Afterwards I believe that the firm was sold to the Albert Potteries but I am not sure of this.  Mr C H Parrott was the younger brother and nothing like so quiet and retiring a character as his brother Mr A W. I can imagine that Mr A W woullld find it difficult to carry on alone.

I do not remember anyone called Richard Parrot. Mr C H Parrott was married and had one son but he would not have been old enough to have been in the bnusiness.He was quite a small boy when I was working at the factory.[the son was actually called Michael].

Mr Alfred Tomkinson who lived in Lily Street Wolstanton was the works manager and while I was there, his son also came to work as a deputy. A Mr Seagar also came as a factory manager.At that time Miss Wakefield was the decorating manager. I think she lived in Tunstall.All these people were older than me of course and I am now in my 72nd year.

I remember we had an order from F W Woolworth for brown teapots.They demanded such a low price and discounts, the Redware shops were asked to make more pots for less and we had the Union on the works but the work peopled submitted, of course.The period was in the 1930s and jobs were very hard to come by.

To get the brown teapots fired a lot of toilet ware, ewers, bowls, chambers etc had to be placed in the ovens. I  remember we had ​loads of chambers and odd brown teapot lids which the company had to get rid of. They were sold to Ireland (500 lots) and comprised principally of chambers and teapot lids. ££5 was not much for 500 pieces even at that time. During that time the dippers had to have 1 pint of milk a day to counteract the lead in the glazes. Dr King Alcock used to come regularly to examine the dippers for silicosis.

I went as a typist but later  became Miss Henshalls [cashier and bookeeper] assistant.An interesting thing is that  we used the Kalamazoo system of bookeeping, a very new type of bookeeping at that time.We had a pair of gloves every Christmas which Miss Henshall chose. 

We worked very hard. We had to be there at 8.30am and if we were late, had to suffer sarcasm from Mr C H Parrott. Our hours were 8.30am to 5.30pm but if I wanted to catch the 5.50pm bus home to Sillverdale, I had to ask as it was 15 minutes to the town hall where my bus started.When we had a day off like Easter,Saturday & Monday andat Christmas, we had to work very late and hard the days before.In fact very often I did not catch the 6.20pm bus but the 6.50pm bus.

During my time there my father met  someone on a train coming from Birmingham and when he mentioned that I worked for te Parrott brothers at Burslem, he was told that I would receive the best possible office training. HoweverIwas very pleased to get a post with a firm of solicitors where I found the atmosphere more congenial."

Mrs J  Gould - Alsager

I was 14½ when when  I went to work with Parrotts. I am 75 now [1985] I was trained on the Underwood typewriter and four of us went for an interview as shorthand typists in June 1924. and because I was the youngest I got the job. When I started it was a proper old fashioned pottery. I went in the gate and had to go up steep flights of stairs and there was the office and then down a flight of stairs to get in the office.It wasnt a very big place when I first went. They made teapots, brown teapots.