Sunday, January 09, 2011

THE TEAPOT STORY...

Over Christmas my dad started telling me this story about my grandmother's Wedgwood teapot. (Stay with me.) My granny had this set of Wedgwood china that was for every day use - it contained everything from eggcups to cake plates to butter dishes, gravy boats and toast racks - all in the Summer Sky design, which is light blue with a white border. I think she bought it in the late 1950s. Anyway, one day after years of use, disaster struck and the teapot was broken. So my granny wrote to Wedgwood asking if there was any way they could replace the teapot, as she knew the Summer Sky line had been discontinued. She received a very polite letter from the secretary of the managing director saying unfortunately there was nothing they could do as there was no leftover stock. My granny was left without the most important part of her tea set...

A couple of weeks later my granny received another letter from the managing director's secretary saying that she had been walking through the factory and had happened to notice the factory workers on their tea break (imagine - a tea break!) who were using a teapot exactly as my granny had described. She went on to say that the workers had now been given a different teapot to use, and they were in the process of cleaning and polishing the other one, which would be sent to her. A week later the teapot arrived in a box. There was no invoice with it so my granny rang up to ask what she owed them and they said, oh no, we couldn't charge you for it, it's been used.



The most amazing thing about this (that my dad didn't know or forgot) is that my granny's Summer Sky tableware is what I use every day - I've been using that teapot for years and I didn't even know the story. The odd piece of Summer Sky does occasionally get broken but I've always been able to replace it by searching online. (I once had to tell a very sweet old lady from Florida that the Wedgwood Summer Sky cigarette box her husband brought back from the U.K. after his stint as a G.I. in WWII, that they were now selling online, was in fact a butter dish. They'd been keeping their cigs in it all those years!)



The lid of my/my granny's teapot got broken a couple of years ago and I haven't found a replacement yet - it's glued back together but not very well. I don't think an attempt to contact Wedgwood would produce quite the same results these days - especially as Wedgwood went into administration in 2009 and was bought out by a U.S. equity group who moved the workforce to China. No, I won't even try. To me, this story simply serves as a charming reminder of a lost world.

{I cannot download any pictures from my camera, so here's some Summer Sky in action. You can see the teapot on the shelf in the last photo...And now if you'll excuse me I am going to throw my camera out of the window.}

20 comments:

Maggie said...

Lovely egg and toast photos have made me hungry! I think I'll go make the same for my breakfast. Your grandmother's dishes are beautiful (they really do look like a summer sky)and so is this story.

By Ellen Burney, said...

a nice nostalgic slice of history. x

If Jane said...

oh what a lovely story...and love your grandmother's spunk!!!
beautiful dishes!
(i use the first silver that my parents bought--every single day!)

anabela / fieldguided said...

Oh what a story!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

That blue is beautifully '50s and the design timeless , like all the best things . I can quite understand your hunting online for whatever's left .

Ginta said...

What a story! I really love when there's a story behind everything even if it's a teapot :) Thank you for sharing!

Camille said...

That's a beautiful story and a beautiful dish set. It makes me very happy to see that not only the factory workers were allowed to have a tea break, but that the secretary made sure to mention they had been given a new teapot!

Bombay Beauty said...

oh, what a fantastic story. i love that you live with these things everyday... xo bb

threesmallapples said...

Ah, that's so lovely that they went to the trouble for her!!!

xx

Anonymous said...

what a fantastic story, made me smile on a rainy Monday morning.
xo
Mia

Rose said...

This really is the most lovely story- and really did make me smile on this dark grey Monday morning

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

The teapot says thank you to you all!

Badaude said...

Completely gorgeous! But what's the pink squashy stuff on your toast?

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Badaude - Allow me to introduce you to the delicious ways of Kalles Kaviar! http://www.kalles.se/

(You can buy it at Ikea, but then that obviously requires...going to Ikea. Worth it, I promise, as long as you like weird salty, fishy things in kitsch packaging.)

Anonymous said...

what a great story!! :)
and btw your blog is fantastic... ;)

Anonymous said...

There is a teapot lid currently for sale on ebay uk.

Good Luck


C x

lola is beauty said...

Thank you so much!!!!

Anonymous said...

I was just gifted the same china from my great uncle to my grandmother and now to me. I love it! Do you put yours in the dishwasher?

Claire said...

I don't, but I don't think it would harm it to do so. I just prefer to wash by hand!

Anonymous said...

My Mother got some of this set from a friend years ago and now I use it. Have been buying up extra pieces over the years to complete the set. Use it every day, wash in the dishmachine for years and it is still in good shape. Looking for the egg cups and butter keeper especially. Drove to BC from Ontario last year to pick up some pieces!