Woods & Sons “Beryl Ware” crockery

There is a trend at play that I am detecting in many walks of life. This is a retro movement that is accompanying manically busy working lives. Its role is to bring a greater simplicity by an intentional decluttering which overall results in a less stressful existence. Chief amongst this are a paring back of the complicated, rejecting the unfamiliar and becoming increasingly conscious of the need to surround yourself with the aesthetically pleasing.

Let me highlight a couple of examples of how I have seen this evolve.

Take the cycle with coloured tyre walls, saddle and brake blocks – and one fixed gear. If you are not part of the Peloton on an opening stage of the Tour de France and your commute doesn’t involve the navigation of treacherous ravines then its pretty safe to assume that one gear is sufficient. Minimal maintenance, stylish look and sturdy ride with gear changes reduced to zero.

Three words – Noise Cancelling Headphones (NCH). Shutting out extraneous noise and chatter whilst you are trying to concentrate. You may want to focus on your chosen entertainment or on your delivery at work and there is just too much unnecessary background noise that disturbs concentration and/or enjoyment. NCH epic!

When it comes to domestic choices the quandary that is experienced often can be minimised by the search for the familiar, the known, the loved. I know very few people who are old enough to tie their own shoelaces who haven’t been to a “greasy spoon” Cafe, a Tea Room/kiosk in a local park, a Cricket/Tennis team’s club house or a Church or school garden party who haven’t at one time or another enjoyed a refreshing brew out of a simple elegant and hugely stylish cup from the range of Woods “Beryl Ware”.

Allow me to recommend Fortnum & Mason’s Assam Superb Fortnum & Mason’s Assam Superb

Beryl Ware is an iconic design classic from the 1940’s. It came in three colours, mint green, jasmine and iris. This utility earthenware has a longevity that few of todays brands can hope to emulate.


Although its design stems from an era of austerity when it was intended that products be made using the least of materials, there are some nods in the direction of art deco with the concentric lines scored into the saucer/side/dinner plates and the flourishing handles of the cups, coffee and tea pots.

Beryl Ware was made in quantity by Wood & Sons Ltd. in the Pottery towns of Trent (New Wharf Pottery) and later in Burslem (Stanley Pottery). The company can trace its history dates back to 1865 and its founder Absalom Wood and his son T.F. Wood. The famous and rather fine Susie Cooper brand was an associated brand.

Sadly the business went into receivership in December 1981 and was sold to new owners in 1982 trading as Wood & Sons (1982) Ltd until its closure in 1995. From 1995 onwards Wood & Sons struggled to survive finally being compelled to  call in the receivers in February 2005.

Whilst many including Jamie Oliver have sourced examples of Beryl Ware from house sales and auctions to give an authentic feel to their restaurants currently their products are not readily available. For now – just watch this space!

Images from Wood & Sons

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I am an English trained and experienced lawyer. I have lived with my wife and family for nearly twenty years in the “California of Europe” - at the tip of Southern Europe. I am a proud European and driven to evangelize about the quality of life to be enjoyed here.

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