pottery before coal in Middlesbrough
Today a great meeting with art historian James Beighton revealed a different story behind Middlesbrough and the coal and steel that we all think set it off to industrial success. In fact it was the pottery founded in 1831 by the Pease family that was the beginning. The pottery that was the second biggest employer of women after domestic service, that, offering higher wages, seduced the Stoke potters to move up north who also brought their socialist politics. Interestingly, the white china clay used was mined in Cornwall and came up on the empy boats as ballast to be replaced by the mined and sold coal for the return journey south. 1879 saw a much cleaner gas fired kiln pottery set up in Linthorpe and quite an industry developing selling pottery in London with pretty radical designs. The local red clay on which the town sits, was used to make the bricks (more than 100 brick manufacturers 1834 -1971), but today is used in the Linthorpe Art pottery, still very active.