Out There column

Hornsea beach.
Hornsea beach.

Hornsea Pottery was a popular fixture of the Lancaster retail trade when I first moved to the city in the early ‘90s.

Situated next to GB Antiques off Wyresdale Road, the pottery’s factory shop was closed down a few years ago. I’d always wondered about the origins of the pottery and on Saturday I visited the very spot where the high quality tableware was originally made.

Hornsea, a settlement on the North Yorkshire coast, is a charming town with a rich history. Desmond and Colin Rawson set up their own pottery business in the kitchen of their home in Hornsea in 1949.

At first they made plaster of Paris models to sell to tourists visiting Hornsea. Both had attended art college, but had no experience of making pottery.

I was delighted to hear that one of the first people to fund the company was Charles Wright, a retired Morecambe hotelier, whose son, Micheal Wright, worked with Desmond on early products. Desmond Rawson’s father-in-law Henry Knowles, a solicitor in Morecambe, provided not only cash investment, but all legal services for the rest of his life.

The company expanded quickly and eventually turned into ‘A Pottery in a Garden’ – a leisure attraction for the whole family.

This notion of ‘A Pottery in a Garden’ was exported to Lancaster in the 1970s. The factory lasted for just over 10 years in the city, but the factory shop lingered on until the turn of the century. The company had been struggling against market forces and the entire firm closed down in 2000.

I visited Hornsea with my husband Mark and both of us were fascinated by the connections with Lancaster and Morecambe. Interestingly, the town now has a museum with more than 2,000 pieces of Hornsea pottery for visitors to admire.

Aside from historical musings, we went for a walk along Hornsea’s dramatic seafront. It’s a fantastic place for a visit whether you’re a lover of the sea or history.