Saturday, 21 October 2017

Thoughts in Progress

Lancaster Sandland Hand painted Hanley England”. The inscription was as enigmatic as the design. I held the mug in my hand wondering what the two figures on it meant. You’ll be my first customer today if you buy it, the woman in charge of the stall said. It had just gone two o’ clock on a sun-draped, summer afternoon. I offered her a couple of quid and she took them. I think she’d have even taken 50p for the item.


It was my first time at the Hackney Flea Market. I’d heard of it from a friend but had never visited it. A monthly weekend event that started life as a pop-up project back in 2013, the market is now the go-to place for vintage enthusiasts. The mix of wares on display is amazing and bizarre in equal measure. Old cassette-players (80s boomboxes abound), handmade goods from independent creatives and even some striking taxidermy.

Still, my mug left me scratching my head. As soon as I got home and put my bike away (you knew that was coming, didn’t you? I cycled to the market), I went online to dig out some information about the enigmatic inscription on the mug’s bottom. I must add that I did ask the seller where she had got the mug from. Like a lot of merchandise on sale at flea markets, people do not really know the provenance of the products they are flogging.

Lancaster & Sandland of Dresden Works was a British manufacturer that specialised in pottery. They were based in Hanley, Staffordshire from 1944 until the 70s. This immediately reminded me of an article I had read many years ago about this region. Close to Stoke (whose football, or soccer, team plays in the English Premier League), this was an area known as The Potteries because six of the local towns (Hanley being one of them) were the driving force in the ceramics and decorative arts industry in the UK.

While the range produced was varied, some figures proved very popular. Amongst them were Dickens characters and famous, historical people, like Francis Drake. My very own mug depicted what I can only describe as a pub scene. On one side you see the pub landlord tidying up the bar, and on the other there is a customer, hat still on (which does not look normal, what with this scene probably taking place in the 1800s, when “doff yer cap indoors” was less of a request and more of a command) pipe in hand, having a pint. This might be his local boozer. At least the whole set-up conveys a sense of bonhomie, comfort and cosiness.



After rinsing my new, special cup (I have a couple of them that fulfil very specific functions. One is for herbal tea, another one is for black coffee), I fixed myself a mocha. As I sat in my lounge looking out onto the back garden, I kept thinking of the pub landlord and his tired-looking face, and the pipe-smoking patron. History has a way of sneaking into our lives. Sometimes in the form of a mug.

© 2017

34 comments:

  1. I love herbal tea, a coffee once in a while, and these mugs are gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's funny the things that jump out at us at flea markets, garage sales, and the like.

    It's a fun mug. At my house, it would call for a beer. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, funny that you mention that as the lady who sold it to me was surprised that I was going to use it for coffee. Then I had to explain to her that I am teetotal. :-) But you're right, it is a beer mug.

      Greetings from London.

      Delete
  3. You found a treasure. Flea markets are good for that. It might be worth a lot of money or a little but to you it is priceless.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Can be interesting what you find indeed. Unless all that shows is baby clothes and the like, that can only be so interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love the mug - and the sneaky ways that history has. Perhaps that sneakiness will help us not repeat some of the uglier parts of our histories. Perhaps.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Interesting find. That's the fun part of going to flea markets, you never know what you will find. I'd say you got a deal. It's hard selling at a flea market, unless you are practically giving your stock away. Enjoy your mug!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I hope your mug gives you years of service.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I cannot recall ever going to a flea market, but garage sales and consignment shops are among my favorite places. In terms of favorite mugs, mine almost always have come to me as gifts, so there is sort of a sentimental value attached. Invariably, mine never seem to last long before they are broken .... I hope you have better luck with your mugs, CiL.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Blogoratti - what a delightful find ... quirky - but interesting to know about its pottery ... It looks in really good condition ... and I bet it'll enjoy being used ... enjoy and the memory it will bring ... cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mario - ACIL - apologies for not getting your name correct ... complete blank and certainly not intended ... but I do love your mug - enjoy your coffee - cheers Hilary

      Delete
  10. You have reminded me of visits to The Potteries and the items purchased there, of which only one remains. It is, of course, a beer mug and I must have had it getting on for sixty years

    ReplyDelete
  11. Back in the early 70s, we did a bit on England in geography, and I remember showing a film on The Potteries. All I can remember is a couple buying a soup tureen, but there was more, of course.

    About hats: even though times have changed, I have issues about wearing caps indoors. A very casual eatery, like a pub,
    might be ok but not a proper restaurant. Malls and shops are ok too.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It reminds me a bit of a toby jug style of mug. I used to live near Hanley and in those days most of the potteries were still working. It is a bit of a shadow of its former self now. And I agree that an ordinary object can really bring history alive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jenny. It IS definitely like a toby jug. In fact, that was one of the names that I came across online when I did my research.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Have a great week.

      Delete
  13. Yes, its so interesting that something so ordinary can bring history alive in our minds. Thanks for sharing this today.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great discovery and an excellent post. I love stumbling upon these artifacts from another era. They're like time capsules, giving us a view of the past.

    ReplyDelete
  15. That was a very enjoyable read.
    Last time I´ve visited a real flea-market I was 17 years of age. I don´t wanna even start to count how many years that makes...

    ReplyDelete
  16. I so enjoyed reading this, CiL!
    I love collecting mugs and tankards myself and, like you, tend to have specific ones for different drinks.
    Your latest acquisition is really interesting...I wonder which pub it is based on...and when precisely.
    Yes, a great insight into history.

    Greetings.:))

    ReplyDelete
  17. What a fun find! You never know what you'll uncover at a flea market.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow! Such a great, lovely and informative blog post! Very pleasant and unique...

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sounds like you are already enjoying the mug so much, I love a good flea market find!

    ReplyDelete
  20. ...if you enjoy it, the provenance is not important.

    ReplyDelete
  21. An interesting and informative post indeed. I enjoy tea more than anything else. And nothing like a good mug to drink it in. Greetings to you and stay elevated!

    ReplyDelete
  22. You got a nice piece of history. Enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Fascinating buy - well worth a couple of quid!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I would keep it as a decorative item. Interesting history...

    ReplyDelete
  25. That's the type of flea market I most enjoy. Almost as much fun as sorting through the goodies to find a treasure that "speaks to you" is researching it when you get home. Your mug is delightful. :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. such an interesting story.And I like the mug a lot :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Vintage markets are weakness of mine and I can imagine the hoarding it would inspire. That mug looks like it's quite historic. I can't believe you mix your tea mug with your coffee! Can't you taste the coffee remnants when you have tea in it?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great discovery. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Replies
    1. What a fun post. I love vintage items, especially things like mugs. Enjoy!!😂

      Delete
  30. This one looks beautifully profound and unique

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...