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An Archaeological Walk – The English Delftware Potteries Along the Southbank

September 4, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm

ClayGround Foreshore Walk Mike Webber




Sunday September 4th

Meet up time 1200 at Minerva Square, Montague Close, London SE1 9RA

Location on the river side of Southwark Cathedral


Walk description and leaders

This specialist walk has been developed for London Potters members and focusses on the English Delftware potteries developed along the south bank of the Thames from the mid 16th – mid 18th centuries.  Originally known as gally wares, they are recognised through their distinctive soft yellow clay body, white tin glaze decorated with yellow (antimony), blue (cobalt) and purple/brown (manganese) oxides. Their products ranged from domestic vessels, to tiles, to political and commemorative items. The potteries played a significant role in the early industrial development of London. Our route will pass notable sites, giving wider historical context before going onto the foreshore to search for fragments turned up by the tide.

The walk is hosted by award-winning arts organisation, Clayground Collective, known for its socially engaged practice, research into clay and hand skills’ development.  Their book Clay in Common, is recommended reading for students and artists wishing to extend their practice beyond the studio to engage the public and pass on skills. The company researches clay and ceramics wherever they are found, including on the Thames beach, described as the “biggest archaeological trench in the country”.

Over 12 years, Clayground has had the privilege of working closely with archaeologist, Mike Webber, exchanging knowledge about ceramic glazes, forms, rims and decoration, firing and ceramic history. Mike is one of the most distinguished archaeologists working in London today.  For 13 years, he worked at the Museum of London and then led the influential archaeological survey of the Tidal Thames 1995-2000 at a time when the river was largely ignored as a historical resource.  He is a generous and expert communicator.

Mike Webber and two of Clayground’s three Co-Directors, Duncan Hooson and Julia Rowntree, lead the walk. Duncan teaches Ceramic Design at Central Saint Martin’s where he is Reader in Socially Engaged Practice.  Julia is a researcher and writer and leads Clayground’s archaeological projects with Mike.

Walk participants will learn about:

  • London and the river, its significance in early manufacturing and distribution of wares;
  • a significant period in the capital’s ceramic and social history;
  • some of the individual potters working during the period;
  • evolution of pottery industry from growth to decline;
  • techniques and forms;
  • design tradition and innovation;
  • where to learn more.


  • It is vital you turn up on time as the walk is timed to coincide with low tide to optimise time on the beach.  Please check neither Sunday engineering nor industrial action will disrupt your journey.
  • Please dress for the weather; it can be extra hot or extra cold on the beach.  Look at the forecast. We only cancel the walk if a storm with a name is predicted.
  • Walking boots with ankle support are best.
  • Bring your own water plus hand sanitiser and a carrier bag.
  • Plastic gloves are not recommended unless you have an open cut on your hands.
  • Please note the beach can be dangerous.  The walk is not suitable for anyone who lacks confidence using steps or walking on uneven ground.
  • Dogs are not allowed.

The group walk is licenced by the Port of London Authority and public liability insurance covered by Clayground.

Image: Selection of English Delftware sherds courtesy Mike Webber.

[sherds = potsherds; shards = glass fragments].


Dates: 4th September 2022
Time: 12:00pm – 2:30pm UK


Minerva Square, Montague Close, London SE1 9RA

Location on the river side of Southwark Cathedral

Cost: £ 26 London Potters Members

£ 29 Non London Potters Members

Booking Deadline: 2nd September 2022
# Attendees: 20



There will be no refund for member cancellations

However the walk may be cancelled due to a named storm. Ticket fees (less online transaction fees) will be refunded as a result




Janet White

Telephone:  07841 495 839

Email: Events@Londonpotters.com

Bookings www.londonpotters.com/events



September 4, 2022
12:00 pm - 2:30 pm


Minerva Square, Montague Close
London, SE1 9RA United Kingdom


Janet White


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