Friday, 11 June 2010

Coalbrookdale – Coalport China Museum

Taking photos of exhibits behind glass is not easy but a post about Coalport China has to include at least one to give at least a glimpse of why Coalport was so successful.
P1010614 When a Canal was dug to connect the mines and ironworks of Blists Hill with the River Severn in the late 18th century, a new settlement grew up on the banks and was named after the coal which was the main cargo carried on the canal.
Among the varied industries which grew at the site was china production and the museum is in the remains of the old works. Coalport china is famed for vivid colours and intricate painting.
The intricate shapes were formed by ‘slip-casting’. The ‘slip’ – a liquid mix of china – was poured into plaster of paris mould which absorbed water from the clay. The clay form came away from the mould as it dried and shrank.
P1010581For complex shapes, separate pieces are cast and joined with slip afterwards.
P1010579P1010580Firing took place in several stages in the distinctive bottle ovens, protected from the soot and flames by fire-clay boxes called Saggars, placed in the kiln at the centre.
P1010611   P1010605
China production moved to Stoke, Staffordshire in the 1920s and Coalport china is still produced as part of the Waterford-Wedgewood group of companies.
Today, Coalport is a sleepy village again – apart from the visitors to the museum and people staying at the Youth Hostel which now occupies part of the old works.
More pictures on Picasa.

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