Business stayed in family hands throughout 160-year history
THE Price, Powell &Co pottery business, which started out in 1796, remained in Price family hands until its final closure in 1961.
First in Counterslip and then in Temple Street, the company later had various addresses in St. Philip's and St Thomas Street as well as offices in Victoria Street.
An early Victorian advertisement describes the firm as the "Old Stoneware Pottery, of St Thomas Street and Temple Street, makers of patent stoneware water pipes."
Their products they trumpeted, were far superior to wood or lead pipes. In 1845 Charles Price was thanking those friends and neighbours who had, as he put it, "so kindly tendered their assistance in extinguishing the fire on their premises."
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In 1871 came more bad news – the partial loss of their Temple Street premises to make way for a newly created Victoria Street.
But, far from being downhearted, the company used the opportunity to re-develop the business.
By the 1880s Price's were advertising the fact that they could stamp ginger beer bottles in COLOUR with a hand-held rubber stamp, taken from an etched copper plate.
In 1906 the company merged with William Powell & Sons to become Price, Powell & Co.
Starting out in Thomas Street in 1780, the Powell family had moved to a new premises at Temple Gate in the 1820s.
In 1824 William and Thomas Powell joined a partnership operating a glass works in Avon Street, where they also made bottles.
The company also had a glass warehouse and a glass cutting business, in Bath Parade, at Temple Gate.
In the 1820s Powell's started producing glazed stoneware sugar moulds and, in the 1830s, invented an improved stoneware glaze.
Replacing traditional salt glaze, this liquid is said to have been made from zinc oxide, potash, lime silica and alumina.
By the time of Queen Victoria's death Powell's were the second largest manufacturer of stoneware bottles in the country.
They specialised in ginger beer bottles, now picked up for a few pounds by collectors at car boot sales.
With additional premises in Redcliffe, Powell's remained at Temple Gate until 1906. The works were badly damaged in a major Luftwaffe raid on the city in November, 1940.
There are many more amazing things to be discovered at the M Shed Museum.
If you have any memories of Price, Powell & Co. then please send them, by post or email (g.brooke@ bepp.co.uk) to Gerry Brooke, Bristol Times Editor, The Post, Temple Way, BS99 7HD