Deptford is in South East London and is now part of The London Borough of Lewisham.
There were potteries in Deptford, possibly during the 17th century, but certainly throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the last only closed in 1961.
Nathan Dews' The History of Deptford in The Counties of Kent and Surrey (1884) says “The Deptford Ware for which the town was noted in the last century is not now made”. I have, however, been unable to find any description of “Deptford Ware”. Was it was some form of glazed earthenware or did it include the sugar moulds and crucibles that are known to have been made at Deptford?
Three large potteries operated during the 19th century:
The Upper on Church Street and Copperas Lane (later called Bronze Street). Established about 1701 it finally closed in 1961.
The Lower on Copperas Lane by Deptford Creek. This functioned between c1730 and c1860.
Church Street Pottery. This functioned between c1730 and 1887.
A number of smaller potteries are also recorded.
Sprigged stoneware was certainly made at Deptford because two different marks are known - “STONEWARE
POTTERIES / DEPTFORD / ESTABLISHED 1701” and “JAS CARROLL / DEPTFORD. / POTTERIES /
The 1701 date indicates that both originate from the Upper Pottery. This had been run by members of the Parry family from c1730 until James Carroll purchased it in 1891. In 1918 it became part of the Staffordshire firm of Gibbs & Canning, making electrical insulators and oven linings until finally closed in 1961. This firm also acquired the Bromley by Bow pottery of F.Brayne & Co, whose literature shows a sprigged jug, although no marked examples are known.
An 1841 dated water colour drawing exists (British Museum) showing a building with a sign “DEPTFORD STONE POTTERY”. This is stated by Derek Garrodd in “Research Into The Deptford Potteries” (Kent Archaeological Review Autumn 1989) to be the Lower Pottery, however another reference in Lewisham Archives attributes it to the Upper Pottery. It may be significant, bearing in mind the use of the plural “POTTERIES”, that the Parry family also owned the Lower Pottery from c1755 to 1840.
Click button below to view images of Deptford jugs.