A brief history of Maling Pottery
The Maling family

The Maling family came to England as French Huguenot refugees and settled in Scarborough during the late 16c. William Maling became a very well known and wealthy gentleman. In 1743 one of his twelve children, also named William bought the Woodhouse Estate at North Hylton near Sunderland. In 1762 William founded the North Hylton Pot Works using clay from a rich bed nearby. He appointed his two sons, Christopher Thompson Maling (1741-1810) and John Maling (1746-1823), to run the business. Christopher T. Mailing was a brilliant young man who has a distinguished academic career at Cambridge. His brother John, in addition to his interest in the pottery business was also involved in shipping, coal mining and became a partner in a Sunderland Banking house.

The firm began with the production of brown earthenware, soon followed by creamware and white pottery. Family tradition asserts that in the north-east of England transfer printing on pottery began in 1762 at North Hylton. The account books from the engravers' workshop of Thomas Bewick and Ralph Beilby refer to orders from Maling for engraved copper plates between 1788 and 1798. Transfers from these plates were used to decorate their pottery.

In 1815 John's son Robert (1781-1863) transferred the business to Tyneside, possibly the local clay deposits were becoming exhausted. The decision to move proved a wise one, and when the works at Ouseburn Bridge were built there was competition from only one other pottery in the immediate neighbourhood. The area was well established industrially and ideally situated for obtaining raw materials: coal and brown clay were mined locally, and other bulky materials could be imported cheaply in large quantities as ballast in colliers returning from the south of England.

The first kiln at the Ouseburn Bridge works was fired on 28 July 1817. Many of the copper plates and moulds used at North Hylton were transferred to Newcastle, and for a few years the products of the two factories were indistinguishable.

In 1853 Christopher Thompson Maling (1824-1901) took over the running of the Ouseburn Bridge pottery from his father Robert, and the firm prospered under the new leadership even its expansion was looked upon favourably when compared with the largest of the Potteries in Staffordshire. By 1859 the two kilns at the Ouseburn Bridge works were unable to cope with the demand, and in that year a new pottery was built nearby on a 2 acre site known as the Ford pottery (later the Ford A pottery). The new factory was able to produce 750,000 items a month from its thirteen kilns. C.T. Maling amassed a fortune, mainly from the manufacture of jam and marmalade pots for James Keiller of Dundee. Maling captured a market for the production of white pottery with transfer-painted trade labels.

In 1863 Buckley wrote that "Maling produced no first class goods but, were responsible for supplying 90 per cent of the jars for jam makers in England and Scotland".

Much of the firm's profit was invested in the building of a huge new pottery half a mile away on a 14 acre site at Walker. The new Ford B pottery was completed in 1878 and the buildings extended over almost 7 acres, the remaining area being occupied by mills, workshops, kilns, warehouses, railway sidings and storage sheds. The Ford B pottery was reputed to be the largest in Britain, and unlike most Potteries, the main manufacturing processes were carried out under one roof.

For almost fifty years the two Ford Potteries employed between them over a thousand workers. The Ford B pottery turned out over 1,500,000 items a month.

In 1889 C.T. Maling took his three sons, John (1858-1924), Christopher Thompson (1863-1934) and Frederick (1866-1937), into partnership, the firm became known as C.T. Maling and Sons. Some two year later Mr. C. T. Maling senior dies aged 77.

The Maling workforce was predominantly female, with woman operating machines and at times carrying heavy loads on their backs. Skilled male employees made bricks for the kilns, moulds for the pottery items and crates for packing wares for dispatch.

Maling responded well to changes in fashion and took inspiration from Art Nouveau style, and later by Art Deco. However in the early twentieth century glass began to replace earthenware for commercial use and demand for ceramic containers had dropped considerably by the early 1920s. The next ten years proved to be troublesome ones but, in 1929 Maling began its long association with the Rington Tea firm, producing for them an assortment of blue and white transfer-printed objects, many of which were sold at the customers' doors, filled with the company's tea.

During the 1930s production gradually dropped and the Maling family had to take out large mortgages on the assets to meet increasing running expenses. During the Second World War the government prohibited the manufacture of coloured ware for the home use, white utility pottery alone being permitted; Maling held considerable stocks of decorated pottery which could not be sold and vital capital was frozen. After the war production increased only slowly and half the Ford B premises were used for purposes other than the manufacture of pottery. In 1947 the entire company was sold to Hoults Estates Limited, a firm of furniture removers. Frederick Hoult, its Chairman, took an active interest in the pottery side and the name C.T. Maling and Sons was retained. He brought about a remarkable recovery, encouraging the designers to experiment with novel designs. Production rose, with at least half the output being exported. The revival was short lived, Frederick Hoults death in 1954 saw interest in the pottery fade, and gradually buildings were taken over for the storage of furniture.

C.T. Maling and Sons as a business closed in 1963.

The Bolt family connection to the Maling Pottery family is through my great great grandfather, Robert Thornton Bolt ESQ. His youngest daughter Dorothy Buemann Bolt married Newcastle Solicitor J T Kirkhope, they had two children, Timothy John Robert and Susan. In January 1970 Timothy John Robert Kirkhope also a Solicitor married Caroline Maling the great great granddaughter of Christopher Thompson Maling II of C T Maling & Sons (Maling Pottery, Newcastle upon Tyne)