Digging into the history of Cheam’s pottery industry

The next illustrated talk at the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society, taking place on Monday, May 16, will be on the discoveries of evidence for a medieval pottery industry in nearby Cheam, given by Clive Orton of Carshalton and District History and Archaeology Society.

Cheam wareIn medieval times, Cheam was a hive of industry multiple pottery kilns turning out hundreds of jugs, cooking pots and storage vessels for the London market. “Cheam ware”, such as the conical jug pictured left, is part of the broader tradition of “Surrey white ware”, so named because the clay used becomes whitish when fired.

The pits which provided the clay still exist – for instance, behind Cheam church and within Seears Park. Later on, the local clay was used for making bricks – the last brickyard closed in the mid-1930s, and all that land was eventually covered with houses.

Cheam pottery is on display at Cheam’s excellent Whitehall Museum, as well as at the Museum of London.

Orton’s talk takes place in the Small Hall of the East Croydon United Reformed Church, Addiscombe Grove (close to East Croydon Station), at 7.45pm.

The following week, on Monday May 23, there will be a fully illustrated talk by Mary Moore about an historic and scenic county of Northumberland.

See the full CNHSS programme here

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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