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Introduction

Absalom Harris founded the Pottery at Wrecclesham, near Farnham in Surrey, in 1872. The land on which he built the pottery at Clay Hill had a very good supply of Gault Clay. The items he made at this time were mainly for domestic use and included bread-bins, milk pans, chimney pots, and garden wares.

Sometime, probably in the early 1880s, he was given a green item of pottery, and was asked to copy it. The green glaze took a number of years to perfect but the trial pieces sold well. Many decorative pieces in the green glaze were made and soon became known as Farnham Greenware.

Liberty and Co. of London started selling some of the decorative pieces. Their 1898 catalogue shows glazed flower pots, vases, candlesticks, and owl-faced pottery including bowls.

Involvement with Farnham School of Art came in the 1890s at the suggestion of W. H. Allen. Many of the art school students, mainly ladies, began designing sgraffito pottery led by Ada Kate Hazell.

By 1905 other glazes had been perfected, including blue, various browns and a cream. Production continued to increase, but there was a sharp downturn in pottery making during the Great War of 1914-18. During the 1920s production increased again with a great many different wares in production.

Trade in the 1930s and after proved more difficult, but the pottery making continued in the Harris family until 2000. During the 1990s terracotta garden wares made up the bulk of the production, but glazed decorated items were still made including the famous owl-faced vases and jugs.

The Pottery buildings are now owned by the the Farnham Trust who rent out units to various potters and other crafts-people.


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