Recent research, mostly on-line and from the autobiography of John McAdam and selected letters (ISBN 978-0906245101) fails to firmly establish the start date for Hyde Park Pottery. Jewitt in The Ceramic Art of Great Britain published in 1873 gives 1837 as the start date and this has been copied by others.
Presumably Jewitt wrote to the pottery and asked for details, no telephones or emails in those days.
Almost certainly William McAdam was the instigator of the venture as he was a trained potter. The Census return of 1841 describes him as a Master Potter living at 128 Stobcross Street, Glasgow.
His brother John was in North America from 1833 to 1847, therefore not present at first. His trade was that of shoemaker which he disliked intensely. The first entry for the pottery is in the Glasgow Post Office Directory of 1841/42 which gives William at Hyde Park Pottery.
John was much more interested in radical politics. His autobiography lists selected letters, but he wrote thousands in his life and became a friend and confidante of many major political figures in 19th century Europe. For example, Garibaldi whom he visited in Italy in 1860. Also Lajos Kossuth, the Hungarian patriot, Karl Blind the German socialist, Louis Blanc the French socialist and another Italian patriot Guiseppe Mazzini.
John even named one of his twin sons, his last children, Menotti Garibaldi McAdam, after Garibaldi’s son. All of those ‘patriots’ mentioned above provided inscriptions for the Wallace Monument which are still to be seen today, in situ, framed in wood from the Wallace Oak of Elderslie.
John did not enjoy good health and at various times talks about his asthma and being affected by it throughout his adult life. It is unlikely therefore that he would expose himself, day in and day out, to the fumes of a Victorian pottery and bottle works. He did travel to customers to obtain orders. The pottery and bottle works obviously progressed and appear to have been fairly successful up until the 1870’s. The 1861 census gives William as a potter employing 22 men and 15 boys but also glass bottle maker employing 38 men and 13 boys. It is interesting to note that the 1871 census lists William as Master Clutha Glass Maker not potter. His father-in law was James Couper of the City Glass Works, famous for Clutha Glass and a serial entrepreneur in glass and pottery. Jewitt mentioned above probably received some of his information about Hyde Park from James Couper as he was William McAdam’s father-in-law.
William wanted to expand his business interests and in the 1870’s speculated in property and in building a custom-built pottery at Springburn. There is a letter from John McAdam to Kossuth dated 21st October 1879 in which he states that the works (Hyde Park Pottery) had been closed for some time ‘in consequence of my brother having unfortunately embarked in heavy property speculations that ruined him and he is now on his way to New Zealand with his large family to settle there ‘.
William was indeed sequestrated on the 18th of April 1879 and his new pottery at Springburn although well equipped according to the auction sale later, failed to produce much, only one marked white ware jug has been found so far. He died some 18 months after his arrival in his new home but his family appear to have prospered in the Antipodes. His wife, Mary, signed a petition in favour of women’s suffrage in New Zealand which was successful in 1893.
John continued with his political work and died in 1883. He is buried in the Glasgow Cathedral burial ground along with many of his family. His wife is buried in the Western Necropolis. There appear to be no major obituaries to John McAdam in spite of all his work regarding the Reform Act and subsequently with the Chartists not to mention the support he gave to others all over Europe who had similar aims. In 1873, he was presented with an inscribed clock and 552 sovereigns – a vast sum – in recognition of his long-continued services to the cause of reform at home and abroad.
Stoneware flagons & utilitarian stoneware.
From various advertisements placed by Hyde Park Pottery in the four or possibly five decades of its existence, we can gather that activities centred on the production of glass bottles for wine, ale ,
porter, and soda water .plus vitrified stoneware for ale and beer, spirit jars and chemical apparatus.
There are few marks.
Articles in SPHR
Articles in Bulletin (Members only)
Typical Backstamps & Marks
Wares stamped or incised ‘McAdam’, Hydepark Works, Glasgow.
- No patterns produced.