Old pottery works at Parley / Kinson, Dorset

Win Cole (1907-2003) reported that, as a young woman, her husband, E G Cole(2) took her to a field in Parley and/or Kinson, Dorset, to show her - as she understood - one of the sites that that his ancestors used to work. This page considers her information from the perspective of existing archival material.

Contribution from Neil Mackley

The 1861 Census for the Parish on Kinson lists two Cole families with members who were "Labourers in Pottery". The eldest members of the families were born locally, although they may have had roots in our family pottery areas of Lambeth, Lewisham, Islingtonand Tottenham.

There were another nine pottery workers in the 1861 Kinson census so the pottery must have been a reasonable sized enterprise. The census also shows, coincidentally or otherwise, families with the surname Dean in the area and a place there called Colehill.

Overlapping extracts from 1890 OS map reading, from southwest to northeast:

  1. Poole; including "Architectural Pottery" which would probably be terracotta and faience (a fine tin-glazed pottery on a delicate pale buff earthenware body) and Poole Pottery which is still a going concern.

  2. Parkstone; birthplace of a Henry Cole who is listed as a "Potter" at Kinson in the 1881 census.

  3. New Town; including the Kinson Pottery and a large number of brickworks.

  4. "Alderney"; Alderney Brick Works and others.

  5. West Howe; where the Coles in the 1861 Canford census lived. One Brick Works.

I followed the road on towards Kinson and Parley but there was nothing further apart from one 'old clay pit'. He felt it fairly evident that the main activity was in the New Town area. He assume that the Coles described as "potters" or "labourers at pottery" would probably have worked at the Kinson Pottery or one of the other potteries rather than at any of the brickworks.

The cemetery near Kinson Pottery is still there and may be worth checking at some point.

In all this information, it must not be forgotten that Win's husband, E G Cole(2) mentioned nothing of the Parley/Kinson connection in the notes that he left for the family and that Win, unlike him, did not grow up with the White Hart Lane Cole potters. So the site that Win saw may just have been no more than like those that the Coles used to work.

It seems most likely that Win's husband did indeed tell her that his ancestors came from the area but that he was talking about his mother's Bartlett ancestors rather than his father's Cole ancestors.

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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.