Homes & Gardens

Emma Bridgewater and the Diamond Jubilee

Memorabilia that is British through and through and a fitting celebration of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

If you're thinking of splashing out on a souvenir to mark the Diamond Jubilee, there is no better company to turn to than Emma Bridgewater. Over the years, Bridgewater has produced tableware that can be found on many a table up and down the country. Her spongeware is timeless in its appeal and since 1985, when the first pieces hit the stores, the pottery has become very collectable.

THE DIAMOND JUBILEE

To mark the Diamond Jubilee, Emma Bridgewater and her team, including husband, Matthew Rice, have pulled out all the stops to produce a collection of tableware that is glorious, steadfast and true.



The collection includes mugs, a teapot, decorative plate, comport, pet bowls, tins, drying up cloths and aprons. The crowning glory is most definitely the Diamond Jubilee Crown, which has the WOW factor in spadefuls. It will make a very eye-catching centrepiece during this year's celebrations, which can be filled with gold chocolate coins, Quality Street to be quintessentially English or Smarties if you've got kids around. Whatever you choose to do with it or fill it with, it will be much admired; that's guaranteed.

At £100, the crown is not cheap but it will become a cherished collectable to hand down to future generations.

THE FACTORY

On a recent visit to the factory in Stoke-on-Trent, which is thoroughly recommended, I was struck by how little the manufacturing process has changed. Looking at one of the pictures of the factory taken fifty years ago and comparing it to one taken today, it's hard to spot the difference as the machinery looks the same. Each piece is handled individually with patterns being handstamped. This is pottery made by hand and British through and through, with the clay coming from Cornwall.



Bridgewater fans might like to know that the factory makes 25,000 pieces a week and then shipped worldwide. The response to the Diamond Jubilee Collection has been so hugely positive, the factory is working flat out to satisfy demand.

THE STUDIO

It would seem churlish not to have a go in the pottery studio and decorate your own mug, plate, bowl when visiting the factory. Looking at the other visitors, this appeals as much to adults as it does children. (There is also a studio in the Fulham shop.) Finish the trip off with a visit to the cafe, where some of the produce is home-grown either in the factory's walled garden or from the greenhouses on the roof which are heated by residual heat from the kilns. It doesn't get much better than that.

Arabella Dymoke

March 2012