Llanelly Pottery Blue Plaque
The inaugural plaque commemorates Llanelly Pottery, which operated in the centre of the town from 1839 to 1922. The pottery achieved considerable fame and many examples of the pottery's fine and varied products are on permanent display at the Parc Howard Museum.
The plaque, unveiled by Llanelli's Mayor Councillor Eryl Morgan, is attached to the wall at the entrance to the St Elli Shopping Centre, close to where the Pottery once stood.
Llanelli Community Heritage is planning an extensive programme of Blue Plaques which will eventually be placed around the town and surrounding communities.
The pottery plaque is being sponsored by the Carmarthen based antiques dealers, Carol and Robert Pugh, whose researches together with the late Gareth Hughes have lead to the publication of definitive works on the Pottery.
William Chambers Junior, opened the pottery in 1839: he lived in Llanelly House, was involved in most aspects of the town's business and social life and, as an active magistrate, became involved in the Rebecca Riots.
From the beginning, Llanelly Pottery produced high quality earthenwares every bit as good as those of Staffordshire. The mainstay of the production was always transfer ware; items decorated by a system of transferring patterns from engraved copper plates onto the unglazed pots by means of tissue paper, the Willow pattern being the best known.
Hand decoration was rare in the early days, but in the latter years much brightly coloured wares were produced; the brightly coloured cockerels and fruit and flower decoration are the ones most readily associated with Llanelli.
The name Samuel Shufflebotham is well known; he worked at the Pottery from 1908 to 1915 and his work is most sought by collectors today.
In the closing decades, the Pottery was run by David Guest and his cousin Richard Dewsberry and finally by David's son Richard..
Competition from the Potteries of Staffordshire and the Continent finally made the enterprise impossible to maintain and the final kiln was fired in 1922, leaving us with wonderful examples of ceramic excellence.
John Wynne Hopkins, Chairman of Llanelli Community Heritage, said, "We were set up to protect the heritage of Llanelli as best we can and an important part of our work is to remind future generations of what has gone before.
"Blue Plaques are one of the ways to do that. They are universally accepted as being easily spotted from a distance and are to be found all over Britain, including Wales. We have identified many possible sites for such plaques in and around Llanelli and they will be rolled out as the sponsors are found.
"We are very grateful to Carol and Robert Pugh for agreeing to be our first sponsors. They have done so much to promote Llanelly Pottery and highlight it's important contribution to the town's heritage."