3. A BIT THICK FOR FATHER CHRISTMAS IN THE POTTERIES

A BIT THICK FOR FATHER CHRISTMAS IN THE POTTERIES – William Blake, c.1910. Copyright The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

This picture was taken in around 1910, probably from St. James’ Church, looking back over Longton. The photographer, William Blake (1874-1957) lived nearby and took many iconic and dramatic pictures of the smoky environment lined with bottle ovens. Longton had a reputation for the density of potbanks crammed in side-by-side with houses and shops. The air in The Potteries is much cleaner now – so hopefully Santa will find his way to us!

Blake sometimes included ironic or tongue in cheek captions with his photographs. He owned a stationers shop and turned many into postcards. They were big business – long before mobile phones, instant messaging, and access to telephones, they were one of the quickest ways to send a message to a friend or loved one. The text message of their day.

You can see more images by William Blake by visiting Staffordshire Past Track. We’re also adding more of his photographs to our Online Collections.