Aller Vale Pottery was formed in 1881 and was in business until 1932 (not as recorded in other sources). The production covers Art wares, applying Arts & Craft principles, from 1881 to around 1905, the Mottowares from around 1897 to 1932. The last 30 or so years as a subsidiary pottery to the larger Watcombe pottery, under the ownership of Hexter Humpherson & Co.
It might seem obvious to suggest that all the Torquay Potteries came into existence for purely commercial reasons. This certainly would have been true if it were not for the unusual circumstances which brought about the establishment of the Aller Vale Pottery in 1881 on the site of an ‘ancient’ pot works approximately 1 mile from Newton Abbot on the A380 to Torquay. What distinguished the operation and output of this pottery was the vision of one man, the influence of a national movement and the involvement of a whole community. The man was the owner John Phillips; the community which encircled the pottery, included Kingskerswell, Abbotskerswell and Coffinswell, together known as ‘the villages of the three wells’.
John Phillips was born in 1835 at Shaugh Prior, a village on the southern tip of Dartmoor near to the giant china clay pits of Lee Moor. He followed his father into the clay business, later owning his own pottery, all the while coming into contact with pottery owners, artists, and craftsmen from around the country. He became greatly influenced by the thoughts of William Morris [1834 – 1896], a socialist writer, designer, artist and craftsman, Morris like Ruskin, whose ideas he developed, was appalled by the deadening effects of Victorian industrialism on the ordinary working folk and the fact that the use of craft and art in the workplace was dying out. Workers no longer took pride in what they made and this feeling was pervading the social structure of the land.
Pottery marks and backstamps with dates and more information for this pottery as well as over 250 other Torquay, Devon and West Country potteries can be found in the TPCS Marks Book see ‘Products for Sale’.