Hornsea pottery was first made in 1949 in the home of brothers Colin and Desmond Rawson in Hornsea, Yorkshire. Their miniature toby jugs proved popular and they expanded their range and production after moving to new premises in 1950. In 1954, the company moved to a new factory in Hornsea - I remember visiting it as a child - which became their primary home until the company closed in 2000.
A must-have for million of homes
The company became known for its kitchenware and dining ware, led by the immense success of ‘Heirloom’ designed by John Clappison which was mass-produced for two decades from 1966 to 1987 and became a must-have in millions of homes, It was available in Lakeland green Autumn brown and Midnight blue but blue turned out to be the least popular colour by far with the public and was soon withdrawn.
Heirloom's hallmark forms include the wooded-topped storage jars, which initially had teak lids until that had to be replaced by afromosia due to cost. Hornsea’s designs were intended to be stackable, to help with storage in late 20th century kitchens which were increasingly filled with labour-saving gadgets.
A number of designs were produced in very limited numbers, and these tend to be the most sought-after and valuable today. The 1966 teapot pictured (above) is valued at £25-£30. The company also became known for its commemorative ware and series of amusing mugs during the Seventies.
A great investment today
Interest in Hornsea pottery arguably reached a peak around 10 years ago. Since then, prices have fallen but may rise again as interest is being renewed, partly due to the affordability of designs. As such, they make a great investment for the future. Make sure you examine pieces carefully as they were often heavily used. Any damage reduces value. Many designs were also mass produced, so look out for rare shapes and colour ways, particularly from the Fifties and Sixties, which currently are the most popular periods of production.
Want to value an item? Register free with Miller's Antiques and Collectables
- For more antiques and collectables, pick up the latest issue of Yours