When pottery manufacture began in Castleford, probably in the early 1700s, local clay was used to make the pottery and the kilns were fired with local coal. But when Josiah Wedgwood developed creamware pottery in the 1770s, potters in Castleford followed suit, importing the white clay and flint which were needed to make the popular new cream-coloured pottery.
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The best-known pottery in Castleford was that of David Dunderdale & Co. From 1790, Dunderdale made high-quality products similar to those produced at the Leeds Pottery. The pottery was intended for export, so the company got into difficulties when pottery could not be exported to the Continent during the Napoleonic Wars. The company closed in 1821.
However, this was not the end of pottery manufacture in Castleford, as there were many smaller potteries that made cheaper pottery, mainly white earthenwares. Some local companies continued to use local clays to make red coarsewares, such as pancheons for breadmaking, whilst others used local fireclays to make stoneware bottles and ovenware. As many of these potteries did not mark their products, they are know about mainly from their advertisements.
The very last company to close was Clokie & Co Ltd, who made domestic pottery as well as supplying institutions. They closed in 1961.
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Visit Twixt Aire and Calder to see photographs of workers in the factory of Clokie and Co in the 1930s.