I’m at home this week as we do some decorating to our flat. While the thought of all the painting and decorating is slightly daunting, one thing that I’m looking forward to is being able to have proper tea breaks with tea brewed in a teapot! Usually during the week, I have to make do with teabags. Although there are lots of really tasty tea bags or ‘temples’ around (my current favourites are Dr Stuart’s Detox tea and Pukka’s Three Ginger tea) drinking tea made in a teapot is undoubtedly more special.
Many makers of vintage china tea sets also made teapots. Royal Albert made many tea (and coffee) pots to complement its cups and saucers as did Royal Stafford. Colclough and Royal Vale, however, didn’t seem to make many tea sets containing teapots. We’ve had lots of queries about teapots for the popular Ballet and Harlequin designs but we haven’t ever seen any so I assume that none were made in these patterns.
One of the most prolific companies specialising in teapots was James Sadler and Sons Ltd. The company was founded in 1882 in Burslem, one of the main Staffordshire pottery towns. The first teapots that the company made were their Rockingham Browns or ‘Brown Betty’ teapots as they became known. These were made from earthenware and had a clear glaze which retained their terracotta colour. Others have the terracotta base underneath but have been glazed in different colours on the rest of the body. The later teapots were made from white clay with a variety of patterns ranging from flowers to crinoline ladies to lavish swirled designs.
I had assumed that novelty teapots were a relatively recent invention but Sadler was making novelty shapes from the 1930s, including racing cars and tanks! The original company lasted until 2000, when it was bought by Churchill China who took over their brand and design although they didn’t take over the factory. I think Sadler teapots are made in India these days.
Although Sadler teapots are no longer made in the UK, the original UK-made ones are so sturdy that I think they’ll continue to feature in afternoon teas for many years to come. As for my tea breaks, I’ve already used my teapot twice this weekend to try some new loose leaf teas. I’m sure it’ll get plenty more use by the time the week is over!