First Whimsies - Set 10 - pig, goat, foxhound, swan and shire horse
The Irish Wade factory was in existence for over 50 years. It was based in Watson Street, Portadown, County Armagh. The factory manufactured insulators for factories and homes damaged during the war.
Before the factory started Portadown was known as a linen town and workers would not have any experience in working with clay in the factory. Some workers from the Burslem factory were moved to Portadown to train the new workers. The Portadown workers took a great pride in their work and soon became well known for the quality of their pieces.
For production in the factory they used a tunnel kiln which meant that the kiln could operate 24 hours none stop. It did not have to stop and be cooled down and relit.
About 1950 sales began to slow and some government departments cancelled their contracts.
In order to keep the factory operating it was decided that the factory would look into making of small pottery items for resale.
Any pieces that were not up to the high quality expected were thrown out in the land outside the factory.
Each pottery piece was individually created and painted by hand.
These items included whimsies, zoo animals, posy vases, bowls, ashtrays, Irish Cottage, leprechaun, Nelsons coffeware, figurines, song figures, Whisky flagons, money boxes, tankards, etc.
The coronation of Princess Elizabeth in June 1953 gave an opportunity for the factory to produce Coronation Mugs. The colour was to be royal blue but turned out to be a blue-green colour which management were very happy with. The mugs sold very well - too well - as their quota for production was reached.
A lot of interest was shown in the Coronation Mugs and requests for other pottery pieces were made to the factory
Whimsies from 1954
Wade Whimsies - First Whimsies
There are 10 sets of First Whimsies created in 1950s.
There was an English factory and an Ulster factory.
It was decided that the English factory would produce set numbers 1,3,5,7 and 9. The Ulster factory would produce the even numbers eg set 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10.
1954 Set 2 is English animals and consists of a bull, lamb, kitten, hare and dachshund.
1955 Set 4 is African jungle set - lion, crocdile, monkey and baby, rhino, and elephant
1956 Set 6 is polar animals - penguin, husky, polar bear, baby seal, baby polar bear - no backstamps were marked on set 6 - but there came in a box marked "wade".
1957 et 8 also zoo animals - llama, lion cub, panda, camel and cockatoo
1959 Set 10 farm animals set - pig, goat, foxhound, swan and shire horse - all without a backstamp. The shire horse is very collectable - could reach about £270 each.
These wade pieces are marked "Wade Made in England" - even for those made in Ireland.
1947 - Factory started - named George Wade & Son Ltd
1950 - renamed to Wade (Ulster) Ltd
1956 - Watson Street factory badly burned - but work resumed after one week
1966 - renamed Wade (Ireland) Ltd
1989 renamaed Wade Ceramics Ltd
1990 renamed Seagoe Ceramics Ltd
1996 factory in Watson Street, Portadown was closed - new factory at Carn, Portadown
1997 renamed Seagoe Advanced Ceramics Ltd
2002 closure of Seagoe Advanced Ceramics Ltd
First Whimsies - Set one - English Animals
Little Orchard Pottery - Donald S Nelson
Character Figures 1973-1986 - Danny Boy, Molly Malone, Kathleen, Mother McCree, Phil the Fluter, Paddy Maginty, Rose of Tralee, Eileen Oge and Paddy Reilly
Little Orchard Pottery
Donald S. Nelson was one of the designers in the Wade factory.
He worked for in the Wade factory from July 1966 to June 1969.
He created Nelson's Coffeware - which came in three separate colours - green, brown or blue.
He modified the Irish Song Figure Molly Malone.
For a short period of time after this he worked for another former employee who ran his own company in the name of Irish Ceramics and Crafts. Unfortunately this company was not successful and closed after two years.
Nelson decided to set up on his own - producing pottery called "Little Orchard Pottery". He worked near his home at Cranagill, Portadown, County Armagh.