New Shelley Group logo Home link

Explore this site icon Become a Member icon Contact Us icon

2018 Annual Weekend and AGM
(Uploaded 08/06/18)

cabinet montage 2018 annual Weekend

Careful! Where did you get that? Which shelf do you want this on? Who has got the stands? Yes, it is that time of year again when displays are being set up for another Shelley gathering as treasures are unpacked and put on show to reflect the weekend talks and events.

The quiz - Annual Weekend 2018

More than 50 members and guests stayed Friday night at the Holiday Inn, Telford and after registration and dinner there was a social evening where everybody was divided into teams to tackle a series of quizzes prepared by Olwen Dudgeon. There were the usual moans about them being too testing and on this occasion more unusual complaints about the air conditioning blowing jigsaw pieces around, but it certainly got people mixing. When membership secretary Elaine Whittaker finished totalling up the points the winners from the eight teams proved to be Wild Flowers, who generously shared their chocolates prize.

Saturday began with those entering the Pot Show setting up their decorated boxes while those new arrivals not there to register the evening before collected packs and their Shelley bags or bookmarks. After a welcome from chairman Gerry Pearce he began the first talk, Clock Wise, prepared by Gerry himself and Sheila Aves.

Wileman Intarsio Clock
After explaining early ways of measuring time, we moved on to Wileman earthenware cases into which inexpensive mechanical clocks were fitted. The earliest were in the Intarsio range during the art directorship of Frederick Rhead in the late 1890s and varied in shape. They included Old Father Time, Prithee What’s O’Clock, Carpe Diem and Wake up and Get to Business.  A page from the catalogue for Liberty’s centenary exhibition in 1975 shows four Wileman pieces including a Little Boy Blue Clock.

Other clocks were inspired in Faience ware by a trip Rhead made to Holland. They featured windmills, canal and river boats and in shape 331 had corresponding vases made as a garniture. Further Faience subjects ranged from ducks and chickens to more unusual examples of a cockerel and a sunflower. Clocks appeared in Old Chelsea, Surrey Scenery, Flamboyant and Urbato with tube-lined decoration including jonquils, a galleon and a rather sinister cat. The talk concluded on a crested miniature 307.

Carole Lockyear ' the clock is ticking'

With the aid of John Barter and Linda Ellis, Carole Lockyear then began the first of a series of presentations, The Clock is Ticking, stepping back in time to a decade of Shelley production, and usually featuring three items including a trio and a piece of earthenware. Each included a description of world events and what was happening in Britain to put the items into context, sometimes with the help of a poem or reading from David Cox.

The first decade beginning 1918 had a Norman trio, while 1928 had a special Queen Anne and 1938 the last Eve trio that was produced. Other items up to 1968 included a Bryta Old King Cole double egg cup and an Eric Slater lustre bowl.

Gerry Pearce and Gina Bird
The presentations were separated by a fascinating talk entitled Time for Ladies by Gina Bird on three aspects of women and Shelley/Wileman to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage. Not only was it informative and enjoyable but it was brave given that Gina had broken her wrist only a short time before the weekend and delayed surgery to attend. She covered the woman represented on the earthenware and china, some of the women working in the factory to produce it and finally five women collectors.

The first aspect included some striking examples of Intarsio such as the St Cecilia vase and the suffragette coffee pot of Lady Constance Lytton. Beyond those Gina concluded the representation of women on china although plentiful was scattered and unthematic sometimes emerging from series like the Empire, Shakespeare and Dickens, while national costumes were a favourite on souvenir ware. Later productions included Hilda Cowham designs and a series of Eric Slater ladies.Gina Bird's display at 2018 Annual Weekend

After some thought provoking information about life working in factories we heard about some of the workers at Shelley including some, such as Connie Chell and Ruth Rennie who provided demonstrations in stores. Another, Ada Moore developed the use of shaded bands and got an extra 2s 6d for this. She was eventually allowed to mark her work no 22.

Finally, five collectors, including Gina herself, described their first purchase and most treasured item to be saved in an emergency. Sadly, Jill Burridge was one of them and we heard she would have chosen her cat numbered 3321.

Jon French demonstrating pot turning at Shelley Annual Weekend 2018
After lunch Jon French gave a practical demonstration of throwing on a potter’s wheel producing items ranging from a tiny vase to a sugar bowl with lid. He previously worked at the Coalport factory opposite the Shelley works before joining Wedgwood for whom he travelled as a craft ambassador demonstrating his trade. Now running his own business, his work is his passion and he was both informative and entertaining. He also had some of his own decorated work on show with beautiful enamelling.

A tribute to Ray Reynolds cabinet display at 2018 Annual Weekend

After a short break Chris Davenport then described the items on show in the cabinet in memory of Ray Reynolds. These included many of the items he produced for the Shelley Group which were raffled off at annual weekends providing valuable funds for the group while showing his great skill. There were also personal items such as his paints, original lithos and even the factory cancellation stamp. Daughter Sue said the Shelley Group gave Ray a great deal of pleasure while he was involved with it, in turn those present remembered a true gentleman.

2018 AGMThe Annual General Meeting followed at which chairman Gerry Pearce said it had been another successful year although membership continues to drop. He urged anyone selling items on eBay or through other sites to include a group application form. He thanked the committee for all their support and the work of David Dellor in producing four more excellent magazines. The next student to receive a grant from the group will be chosen in a few days.

Treasurer Linda Ellis said although the group had made a loss over the year it was not necessary to raise subscription rates for 2019/20 as there is still a good reserve. The Committee was re-elected with the addition of Olwen Dudgeon who agreed to take over as the North Eastern representative with David Cox stepping down as he intends to move further South. Gerry said there were still some posts not filled and urged anyone willing to give some time to think about volunteering for them.  He also asked people to suggest topics for future talks. Finally, he thanked Enid Foley for making two cakes for the weekend.

After the meeting members voted on the pot show, there were 13 entries of a very high standard. There was also a wide variety of items for sale at the Silent Auction before the Gala dinner set out at tables decorated on the theme of 'Time'. After the enjoyable meal, Kate Cadman spoke of the work of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and the history of ceramic industries in the Telford area. She told some grim tales of the working conditions and health risks.

Gala Evening 2018 montage


The raffle for Enid’s cake with a wonderful Urbato clock decoration, raised £195 for group funds and was won by Steve Palmer.

Voting was counted from the Pot Show and the rosettes and certificates were put out on Sunday morning with for the second year in a row the Chairman, Gerry Pearce the delighted winner of the first prize with his entry Court red-handed. Andrew Bird came second and third.

Chris Whittaker in airmans uniform 2018 Annual WeekendThe first talk on Sunday had Chris Whittaker, complete with uniform describing 100 Years of the RAF. Formed on April 1, 1918 from the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service, the world’s first dedicated single service. The RAF Motto Per Ardua ad Astra – through adversity to the stars.

He described some of the crested items produced by Shelley including the Bleriot monoplane. The company also produced many military themed pieces of china some of which featured the Blackburn Skua, the Bristol Blenheim, the Westland Lysander, an Observation aircraft, barrage balloons and a Hawker Hurricane which although in the pattern book has not yet been found on any items, unless you know different. Chris had also done some detective work to try and identify aircraft in the background of some items such as a Hawker Osprey on the deck of HMS Eagle. He speculated Shelley’s choice of subjects may have followed aircraft featured on a cigarette card set.  Production restrictions limited what followed immediately after World War 2.

'The Snake' at 2018 Annual Weekend

If anyone thought it might be difficult to find something beginning with E for this year’s snake they were proved wrong by a spectacular and varying display which John Barter described with great knowledge. The line-up included a crested elephant, egg cups, Evergreen pattern, Elizabethan hawking, Eastbourne on a map, Eve and Edward shape, ewers and ewes.

Olwen Dudgeon presenting a stitch in Time at the 2018 Annual Weekend

The final speaker of the weekend was Olwen Dudgeon with a Stitch in Time which linked pieces of Shelley and Wileman to actual stitches. She began with pin dishes, moved on to tacking like the manoeuvre on Delphic ships and then took those watching on a colourful trail ranging from the fanciful such as an Intarsio fish for herringbone and Cairo pattern for Pyramid stitch, to actual patterns such as Swansea lace and crochet.

She also included details of the tablecloths sold to match Shelley patterns, two of which, Blue Iris and Balloon tree were in the display to match her talk. She finished on the example nobody wants, the dropped stitch and the broken pieces that result.

Raffle prize by Ray Reynolds Annual Weekend 2018 Other members of Ray’s family were present for the talk before viewing the display dedicated to him. Lunch was followed by the Bring and Buy sale with the usual mixture of items on offer. Enid’s second cake was cut to have with afternoon tea when the draw was also made for a raffle for a vase decorated by Ray and bequeathed by Jill Burridge. Sue Rhodes was the delighted winner. It was then time to pack up the displays and head home for those not staying a further night or making a visit to see the pattern books at Stoke the next day. That was as inspirational as usual with the exciting news that, yet another pattern book has now been discovered, having been previously mixed in with other records.

Another excellent weekend over.