The new Chairman John Wort opened the Spire U3A meeting on May 14th 2007 at the Harnham Memorial Hall.
Membership cards were handed out and included the list of speakers at the monthly Coffee mornings for the next twelve months. The table with the Group lists was very busy as members chose from over thirty subjects.
Penny Copland-Griffiths of the Verwood and District Potteries Trust was the speaker and gave a well-illustrated talk about the history and development of pots and potteries in and around Verwood, where road names such as Potterne Way and Shard Close still exsisted. The reason for potteries in this area is due to the quality of the local clay known as Reading clay. This is lovely and squidgy like Plastercine or Play Dough. The first step after extracting the clay was to tread it in bare feet before throwing the pot.
Penny has been involved in the Trust from the start in 1976 when she was asked to come for a cream tea! This turned out to be a visit to a ditch in Verwood that was stuffed with shards of pottery. She soon became hooked on the subject and was involved in various digs that gave evidence of potteries in the area. Also in 1976 Penny was given 24 hours to rescue pots from a cob shed that was about to be demolished. Her young niece was drafted in to do this dusty difficult task. This was the Trusts first lucky event.
Another lucky happening was the discovery of a film of a pottery made in 1917. This was duly preserved and is now available via Trilith a charity devoted to finding old film about Dorset country life.
The Trust has gone on finding the whereabouts of many potteries due mainly to the building of new houses in the area. They have now found the sites of 43 potteries.
A large Lottery grant has enabled the Trust to put on a comprehensive exhibition that has travelled all round the area including Salisbury.
So although Penny had only 48 hours to prepare her talk, having stepped in for a friend who was to give the talk, she give a fascinating insight into another and long gone world.
For membership enquires: 01722 321731
Contact: Sheila Read 01722 501218