Occasional Paper 3: Harlow Pottery

The Harlow Pottery Industries


The study of the Harlow pottery industry and its distinctive products has been long awaited. Centred around Potter Street, Harlow, on the western edge of Essex, the industry was in operation from the 13th to 18th centuries but it is the wares of the 17th century that are best known, in particular Metropolitan slipware. This highly decorated ware is found on excavations as far flung as London, Newcastle upon Tyne, Dublin and the colonies of North America. The Harlow kilns and their products have been researched, recorded and collected by a number of dedicated local enthusiasts since the 1950s when Harlow New Town was being constructed; pre-eminent amongst these has been Wally Davey. In collaboration with Helen Walker of Essex County Council Field Archaeology Unit, with grant funding from English Heritage and the support and encouragement of Harlow Museum Wally has now brought into the public domain years of accumulated knowledge of this important pottery industry.

The report examines four groups of Metropolitan slipware production waste with the aim of characterising the products and enabling Harlow slipwares found at consumer sites to be identified and more closely dated than before. The origins and affinities of the Metropolitan slipware industry are also examined. The other products of the Harlow industries are covered in more summary form including: the evidence for a medieval industry, a typology of the 15th to 16th-century transitional wares, a typology of the blackglazed wares and the examination of a discrete group of plain redwares. There are also sections on the technology and organisation of the industry. A large body of documentary evidence for the Harlow potters has been uncovered, which sheds light on various aspects of the study, from sourcing the raw materials to marketing the finished product. The report also presents the results of petrological and scientific analysis of fabrics and glazes.

Format: A4
Binding: Paperback
Extent: 198 pages
Price: UK GBP £16; Europe GBP £18; USA GBP £21; all including p&p

Ordering details: The order form is available (PDF 370KB). Cheques in sterling should be made payable to ‘Medieval Pottery Research Group’, for other currencies and methods of payment please email the Treasurer for details and additional charges. Available from Lyn Blackmore, MPRG Assistant Treasurer, c/o Museum of London Archaeology, Mortimer Wheeler House, 46 Eagle Wharf Road, London N1 7ED.