Cornishware, Cornwall and a Corny Love Letter to my Mum

Cornishware T G Green Blue White Stripes Salt Pepper

When I was a child, we used my mum’s blue and white striped bowls, plates and mugs daily. We didn’t know they were called “Cornishware”. We didn’t think much about where they came from, and certainly didn’t think they were very special.

My mum’s favourite colour is blue, so that would partly explain why that particular variety of crockery might have first appealed to her. I think the other explanation is that she loves daisies: picture a bunch of smiling daisies in a Cornishware teapot and you have captured the essence of my mother’s decorating aesthetic.

I wonder if my mum knows that Cornishware is not from Cornwall?

The story of how Thomas Goodwin Green grew up to become the TG Green stamp on the bottom of your plate contains rags-to-riches and romance. He was born in 1822 and apparently was a spontaneous, passionate fellow with a keen busines acumen. He made his fortune in colonial Australia (I couldn’t find more detail about this, sadly) but rushed back to England after a decade or two when he heard that his love still pined for him. Whilst honeymooning in Derbyshire, he befriended the elderly owner of a pottery business who was keen to sell up and retire.

Thus, his famous kitchen goods were produced in a tiny town in central England, not in the south-west corner. The crockery gained its evocative and highly marketable name because the colours are reminiscent of the blue sky and white-tipped waves in Cornwall.

(More details about the history of the blue and white stripes and the “King of Kilns”, including their link to Alice in Wonderland, can be found here and here).

The TG Green company went through a rough patch in the late twentieth century and eventually closed down. Around the same time, my mum started storing her blue and white stripes in a special cabinet for display only. Suddenly we all became aware that these once “everyday items” were actually very collectable and covetable.

And in the same way, my appreciation of my mother increases as time goes on. As I discover the trials and joys of motherhood for myself, I understand more and more just how precious and valuable my mother is. Unfortunately, as you can see, I am still hoplessly slow in demonstrating my affection at Mothers Day.

I love you mum, it’s in the mail!

(TG Green has been revived and rejuvenated: don’t tell my mum but you can even order personalised Cornishware gifts! Next year’s Mothers Day is totally sorted).


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