Visitors to museum taken back in time to celebrate Ruskin Pottery

By Thomas Parkes | Sandwell | Sandwell entertainment | Published:

Visitors to a museum in Sandwell were transported back in time as part of an event featuring Ruskin Pottery.

Wednesbury Museum and Art gallery held a Ruskin presentation with a bit of a difference. Ruth Durrant plays Ethel, a 1924 glaze mixer at Ruskin pottery. Set during her tea break, she chats about the pottery and the people

Staff at Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery held the special event to mark the Ruskin Pottery Gallery being re-displayed.

And Ethel, a character of a glaze mixer at the factory from around 1924, was on hand to talk and tell stories about her life in the Smethwick-based factory.

Ruskin Pottery was produced between 1898 and 1934 in Smethwick and is now collected all over the world – with pieces often turning up on BBC's Antiques Roadshow.

Its colourful, bright glazes make it a real collector's item and showcases how the area created decorative pieces.

The gallery was celebrated with A Presentation With A Difference on Saturday and on June 5.

Jane Hanney-Martin, museum services manager, said: "This is a really new way to experience the pottery.

“It’s the stories of the people who worked there which are as interesting as the pottery itself.

“Many of the workers worked at the factory for the whole time it was open and when workers went off to the Great War.


"William Howson-Taylor, the factory owner, wrote to them at the front and kept their jobs open for their return.

“The workers also often went on days out to Clent or Kinver, taking lunch and then a walk.

"It was a real family atmosphere.”

Talks were held and photographs were put on display of the Ruskin factory and its workers – along with copies of letters sent by William Howson-Taylor and some wartime service documents.

The talks were free and supported by an Open Access Award from Creative Black Country as part of the Creative People and Places Scheme.

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at


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