Congratulations to Alan Taylor and Caroline Butcher – winners of Finding Myself in Britain, by Amy Boucher Pye. I’ll be in touch to get your postal addresses. For now, maybe just celebrate with a nice cup of tea. 🙂 (For the rest of you, sorry you didn’t win, you can buy a copy of this great book here.)
And for anyone who was wondering what Amy meant by the green church hall crockery (p13), that’s it, above. From some point in the 1940s, every church hall, village hall and, if certain TV programmes are to be believed, police station acquired that crockery in vast quantities, ready to be brought out for WI meetings, parties, funerals, fetes, committee meetings, celebrations, disasters… or any other occasion when a restorative cup of tea might be needed.
I’ve tried to discover the history of it – how did it come to be produced, why was it almost exclusively green (yellow, blue and even, I believe, pink versions do exist, but green is by far the most prevalent), and how, in the midst of wartime and post-war austerity, did it became so utterly ubiquitous across Britain’s institutions?
All I can discover, from a website claiming to tell the ‘Histories of UK potters and pottery manufacturers’, is the single line, “from the 1940s ‘Beryl Ware’—tableware in a green coloured body—was popular”. Surely that’s the most sweeping understatement about the rise and domination of a cultural icon ever!
If anyone can point me in the direction of somewhat more comprehensive information, I’d be very grateful.