John COLE (1807-1897)

John Cole (1807 - 1897) was the second in the known family line to head the family's work in pottery and brickmaking. This page gives a short biography.

According to census records and the IGI, John Cole was born on 14 October 1807 in Islington and was baptised at the local church of St Pancras on 17 April 1808. However, anecdotal and questionable evidence suggests that his place of birth was in Tanners End, a suburb of Edmonton, a few miles away in North London.

Mary Colley who married John Cole

Mary Colley who married John Cole.

Sadly no photo of John Cole seems to exist.

On 20 January 1834, at All Hallows Church, Tottenham, John married Mary Colley, daughter of James Sharp Colley, who was working at the Tottenham Tile Kilns at the time. John and Mary had five sons and six daughters (see the family tree).

John's descendants seem to have credited him with starting the family Potteries at White Hart Lane, Tottenham, although all the formal documentation put the pottery in the name of his son Edward George, known as E G Cole. We know from the birth certificates of John's children and various census data that John moved around the London area. He worked as a stable-keeper, tile kiln labourer and burner of pottery and later he went to the Tile Kilns as a potter. By the time of the 1871 census he was the proprietor of what later came to be known as the Pettit Potteries at Walthamstow, but he probably moved on fairly quickly in favour of his Pettit nephews.

At the time of the 1881 census, when John was 73, he was at 7 Prospect Place, Tottenham, with Mary, aged 68, a flower pot maker. By the time of the 1891 census, though, the couple were in the pottery house Tentdale of the Pottery in White Hart Lane, Tottenham, and John was listed as a retired potter, aged 83 with the family of his son E G who was the formal owner.

According to a tit-bit from the 1890 Tottenham Gazette, a John Cole of Clay Hill Lodge was fined 5 shillings on 22 August for letting a horse stray. However, there was more than one John Cole in the area at the time, and there is no indication that 'our' John ever lived at Clay Hill Lodge.)

Mary died on 4th February 1896 aged 82, and John survived her until the following year. He died on 29 October 1897, aged 90. The couple were buried in the same plot in Tottenham Cemetery which had been bought by their son Edward George.


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This website Potteries and brickyards worked by the Cole family is Pat Cryer. For applications to reproduce text or images, click here.