Mar 132019

Recent Additions to our Collections

The Society is pleased to have received a number of items to add to its collections, including the following:

  • South Devon ball clay mine 1950'sA reconstruction of the type of Wheelbarrow used in underground shafts in South Devon until the early 1950’s. This was made by Simon Cunningham, a former Teignbridge ranger who was responsible for the visitor centre at Decoy Country Park, the site of the former Devon & Courtenay clay works, and it was part of a small exhibition relating to the old clay workings.  Simon’s only guide as to the construction of the wheelbarrow was the attached photo showing Geoff Gibbs and Les Bickham in Bill Tribble’s shaft in Southacre, Preston Manor, Kingsteignton in 1951. The wheelbarrow has been donated to the Society by Teignbridge District Council.


  • Sixteen boxes of title deeds of the Devon properties of Watts, Blake, Bearne & Co. presented to the Society by Sibelco UK, being superfluous to the company’s needs following the registration of the titles. The deeds are of considerable local historical interest, relating as they do to the many properties in Kingsteignton and Newton Abbot that were acquired by WBB & Co. subsequent to the establishment of the partnership in 1861. Two boxes contain deeds of the earliest clay partnerships of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It appears that they have not been accessed for a considerable time, and may well cast new light on the early history of ball clay working in the Bovey Basin.


  • Four different Bricks produced by the North Devon Clay and Brick Works in the late 19th century, each stamped with a different company stamp; presented by Michael Messenger, the author of ‘North Devon Clay’.




  • An original Painting  entitled “The Bonawe loading China Clay at Poole”. The painting  depicts the coaster ‘Bonawe’ alongside Poole Quay (with Poole Pottery chimneys in the background) and a barge alongside it from which clay is b

The ‘Bonawe’ loading ball clay from a barge alongside, Poole Quay, c.1920’s

eing loaded in baskets onto the vessel. The ‘clay’ must actually have been ball clay that had been transported in the barge across Poole Harbour from the Wareham basin ball clay works.  The painting shows white dust emerging from the hold suggesting that the clay must have been very dry and powdery! The same method of transferring clay from barge to sea-going vessel was employed at Teignmouth, often with the vessel moored in the harbour. The ‘Bonawe’ was owned and operated by J & A Gardner & Co. Ltd. of Glasgow, shipowners and operators of the Bonawe stone quarry on Loch Etive. The painting, which is very fine, was probably made in the 1920’s and is a rare example of a work of art depicting the production or transport of ball clay. The artist, Maurice Clarke,  may have been an art teacher at Repton and Harrow schools.