Cleland Pottery


Cleland Pottery had three sets of owners in its lifetime.

From 1890 the Omoa Fireclay Company (brickware and [probably] pottery manufacturers). From 1895 the Cleland Pottery Company, and from 1899 John B. Kennedy.

The pottery works site amounted to over 4 acres, and was located on the west side of the Tillan Burn, south-west of Omoa Square. Large deposits of fireclay were nearby. Many of the factory employees were housed in a 2 storey building known as the Pottery Building (possibly part of the small settlement to the south called Easterhouse). Other factory workers were known to live in Omoa Square.

The Cleland Pottery was formed from and by the existing Omoa Fireclay Company, however things did not go well, and Cleland Pottery ended in voluntary liquidation in January 1899.

In 1900 John Barbour Kennedy acquired the Cleland Pottery Company from the liquidation for £1000, and with John Agnew (Brickmaker, Fireclay Manufacturer, Coal Owner and entrepreneur), proceeded to revitalise production. When John Agnew [1862-1914] stayed in Omoa Cottage in 1891, he was a managing brickwork partner of the Omoa Fireclay Company.

There is an extensive inventory of the factory’s buildings and machinery in 1895 which included two steam engines and their associated boilers, circular water well facilities with piping and pump to feed the boilers, blocks and cases for mould making, 5550 moulds, paddle spade drums, 3 throwers wheels, 12 mould stoves, ware drying stove, 6 dripping tubs etc.

The main buildings consisted of the engine house, boiler house and boiler seats with an 80 foot high chimney, low shed and railway loading banks. A 20 foot diameter circular kiln with iron hoops and seven stoke holes, 4 kilns complete with hoops. A 40 foot high kiln chimney, office and stores, a 4 stall stable, bogie road with rail and sleepers, points and crossings.

Prior to its destruction by fire, Cleland Pottery was a major part of the village economy, employing about 100 men and women. Following the catastrophic fire in December 1914, stoneware production came to an end and the factory’s demise caused a lot of hardship in the village.

There is a dating problem regarding when the factory ceased trading; but John B Kennedy appears in the valuation list as owner in 1920 and possibly up to 1928.

Main Products

Commercial utilitarian wares for commercial use and for the domestic market.


Manufactured products were very diverse and included domestic salt glazed crocks, jugs, bottles, jars for jam and domestic foodstuffs, pharmacy jars, teapots, chimney pots, electrical insulators, and marbles and peevers for children (a flat stone used in the game of hop-scotch).

It would appear that John Kennedy produced wares similar to Barrowfield pottery and specialised in custom orders for grocers and merchants with their names incised on the pieces produced.  Examples include butter crocks with the grocer’s name and address decorated to the wares.

Articles in SPHR

Typical Backstamps & Marks

Cleland, Cleland Pottery Co., Cleland N.B. 

Pattern Names

  • No patterns were used

Overview & information kindly provided by George Russell & James Reid