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Provenance: Branksome China

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There's crockery and then there's Branksome - capable of holding any tea party to attention with it's beautifully delicate, timeless and colourful designs. For us, the fact that it's produced by a small, independent British business with a long history here in Hampshire just adds to the appeal. It's the sort of crockery to covet and collect piece by lovely piece.

The company was founded in 1945 by Ernest Baggaley, a gifted potter who recognised that 'to be a good china-man I had to create and make my own style using my own technique.' Indeed, at the heart of Branksome is Baggeley's special porcelain recipe which remains unchanged today. Fine and light, yet stronger than earthernware and bone china, water can be boiled in it they claim. Lucy has even followed a lady round the factory clunking mugs together to prove their durability.

In it's heyday, Branksome was the tableware brand to own. Liberty constantly sold out, and the factory with it's 100-strong workforce was at full capacity. Just two years later though the out-of-control company fell on it's knees. Luckily Ernest managed to salvage some stock, move in to the old cinema in Fordinbridge it occupies today and continue to operate on a small scale.

In 2007, Branksome was once again under threat from developers wanting to get their clutches on the old cinema. This time, Philip and Charlie Johnson from a family with pottery in their blood came to the rescue, convinced that Branksome had a future. Happily for us they were right, and Branksome continues today, remaining true to Ernest's original recipe and our favourite 1950s design. Shop our collection.

Branksome