People and Processes - Ken Holmes (As printed in this edition - based on an article by Ian Warner and Mike Posgay). Ken Holmes began his career as an apprentice mould maker with a Longton pottery. After experience with a number of local potteries work became hard to find in the field of potting so Ken was forced to look elsewhere for employment. This new work took the form of employment in the coal mines and, after that, as a brick layers labourer. When business at the potteries improved, Ken was able to resume his career as a mould maker, soon becoming the youngest head mould maker in the area. After a number of years experience, Ken eventually became a block maker with the Royal Doulton Pottery. It was here that he first came in contact with designer Alan Mazlankowski. In the mid 1970's, Mazlankowski left Doulton and went to work for Wade Potteries where he designed the Survival and Connoisseur series. It was soon after this that Ken left Doulton to take up a position as a block maker at Wade. Part of Ken's job at Wade was to create and develop ideas that might appeal to potential customers. Many of the prototypes produced from these ideas were rarely used but on occasion some were resurrected for later use by clients of the pottery. In the mid 1980's Ken became the head modeller for Wade. Amongst Ken's designs for the pottery are the Thornton's van and the Tetley Tea and Coffee Van money boxes; the Tetley Tea Brew Gaffer and Sidney salt and pepper shakers; the My Fair Ladies sets 1 & 2 and the Sophisticated Ladles; the new range of pressed Dinosaurs and the new range of limited collectables Pets and Children. Much of Ken's work is to bespoke customers for Instance, a retriever for Debenham's Department Store, the bride and groom wedding cake decoration for Dunbar's of Scotland, London Taxi, Equestrian figures of Robert the Bruce for a whisky container, and the St. Bernard dog key ring for St. Bruno Tobacco etc. Ken is married with two daughters and has recently become a Granddad. Surprisingly his hobby is fishing and not collecting although he does have a few decorative pieces he and his wife Sheila are fond of.
First United Kingdom Wade Collector's Fair
The First United Kingdom Wade Collector's Fair will be held at the Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham on Sunday 25-Sep-1994 starting at 10:30am. The Wade factory will be demonstrating modeling and decorating of pieces. A display will also be included showing the production processes of blocks, cases and molds. Wade will also have on special the Brown Spaniel Dog in a limited edition of 1000 and will only be sold at the event. The piece measures 3 1/4" and comes with a numbered certificate of authenticity.
Animal Money Boxes
Wade has just released 4 new money boxes available from you local Wade stockist or the Wade Factory Shop. The figures are: Bob the Frog, Gerty the Jersey, Pricilla the Pig and Lucky the Rabbit.
The Wade Factory Cat (As printed in this edition) Our very own factory cat first appeared some eighteen months ago on a cold and misty morning looking rather ragged, bedraggled and somewhat underfed. Rex our commissionaire saw the cat as he opened the Wade Greenhead Street Factory Lodge at 6am on that fateful morning. Being an animal lover, Rex very quickly put a saucer of milk out and returned to the Lodge to watch what happened and so the love affair was born. Rex who has now retired says that the cat spent his early days chasing the local wildlife and terrorizing mice and birds around the factory to provide his daily diet and generally kept himself pretty aloof. However whilst his hunting prowess was not in dispute, he very quickly discovered that his fan club of feline friends working at the factory were more than happy to provide him with a much more relaxed lifestyle allowing him to do what cats do best: sleep for 23 hours a day. Now any cat lover will confirm that cats are not known for exerting unnecessary energy when there is no need, and our cat is no exception to the rule. Very soon he discovered a more relaxed method of obtaining his daily bread, or more correctly his tins of premier cat food. Our cat just sat at the factory gates and gazed adoringly at the generous-looking ladies, and hey, presto, one very soon well-fed cat. Not surprisingly, it was not long before our cat had established a very good, regular, food supply chain, indeed and on many days there was just too much for one cat to eat without bursting -you could say it was, a cat's life. Nowadays he often has local cats join him for breakfast. There's plenty to go around and anyway a cat likes a bit of company at times. Now he lives a life of luxury which still involves a lot of sleeping usually in the soft-lined basket provided for him, close to one of the warm kilns in the factory although, like all cats, he is very fond of warm car bonnets on cold winter mornings. You may think that our factory cat has everything a cat could wish for, but he lacks just one thing a name. Wade thinks that it is time our very own factory cat has a name and we are offering a Wade ceramic prize for the best suggestion. We will announce the winner in our next edition, so please write to us with your name ideas.
Q: Why do some "My Fair Ladies" have a grey backstamp and some a red one?
A: There were no hard and fast directives on the colour of the backstamps which were printed in-house by Wade.
Q: I have a set of 5 Nat West Piggy Banks but the small one (Woody) does not have a Wade Backstamp.