Verwood UK - Heritage Centre

Ferrett's Green

Verwood Museum Trust - Dorset UK. (Registered Charity No. 1067952)

 

 

 

 

Ferrett’s Green, as the current area in front of the Verwood Heritage Centre was popularly known, took its name from a family who produced and sold Earthenware at the Crossroads Pottery over several generations in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Ferrett’s Green was originally the claypit for the pottery but by the end of the 19th century the supply had been exhausted and villagers requested that the resultant pond be filed in because of the danger to children.

The restored area then served as a village gathering place and later as Verwood’s main car park (see picture), its flower beds tended by the nearby Council School children as part of their gardening lessons in the early 20th century.

Verwood’s heathlands, rich in clay, sand and firing wood, provided Earthenware makers with raw materials for many centuries. Nearby is the last surviving workshop from this widespread industry, all that remains of the once flourishing Crossroads Pottery. Kilns and other remnants have been found all over the surrounding area.

Past Ownership of the Crossroads Pottery 
(Now the Verwood Heathland Heritage Centre).

In the 1840’s CHRISTIAN FERRETT, widow of potter Amos lived near her son-in-law Robert Shearing who lease the Crossroads Pottery premises from Squire William Rolles Fryer. Christian’s son PAUL FERRETT was also a potter and it is likely that the two brothers-in-law ran the business as a joint venture. Robert Shearing had no sons but PAUL FERRETT had six, most of whom remained in Verwood and followed him into the trade. When PAUL died in 1872, followed by Robert in 1877, the Ferrett sons ranged from middle age to early twenties and already had many year’s experience in the various operations of the pottery.

Paul’s youngest son CHARLES FERRETT born 1854, was recorded as the Pottery Manager in 1891 and a Pottery Earthenware Manufacturer in 1901. He lived with his wife Rose and their family at the Pottery House which stood to the rear of the present car park, once the large and busy working yard of the Crossroads Pottery.

When CHARLES FERRETT died in 1916 the pottery came under the ownership of this eldest son FRED FRY who used the surname of his mother’s family. Fred was something of a legendary character in the village being known as the “Musical Potter”.

He founded a Boys’ Band and was said to be able to play any instrument he chose. One of his achievements was in making a set of graduated flower pots on which he could entertain in perfect tune.

In 1925 Fred sold the pottery to Robert Thorne, Owner of the village Timber Mills (then in Dewlands Road), and it remained in this family until its closure in 1952. The last Master Potters, featuring in many atmospheric photographs, were Meshech Sims and Herbert (Bert) Bailey.

The picture of the Cross roads pottery,  shows the kiln being unloaded in the 1930's. The men are understood to to be from left to right; Mr. Jim Scammel, Mr. Brewer, Mr Len Sims, Mr. Meshech Sims and Mr. Herbert Bailey.

Heavy domestic earthenware had fallen out of fashion as lighter enamelled goods became readily available and so ended a craft which had flourished in and around Verwood for many hundreds of years.

 

   

 

 
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