Saggar Making

Saggar Making in Film, Text and Images


Saggars (around 50 years old in 2015) in the cobbled yard at Gladstone Pottery Museum
Saggars (around 50 years old in 2015) in the cobbled yard at Gladstone Pottery Museum





WHAT IS A SAGGAR?"One of the big essentials in a successful pottery business is a good saggar"


The saggar - an open box, in different shapes and sizes, made of pre-fired fireclay or saggar marl with added grog. Specifically manufactured to contain pottery during a biscuit, glost or sometimes decorating fire in a bottle oven. From the word 'safeguard.'

The saggar protects the pottery ware it contains from contamination created by kiln combustion gases and ashes, and the action of the flames.

Saggars of a particular shape and size have particular descriptive names: Ovals, Banjos, Cheese, Squares, Hillers, Skimmers.  More here> in The Potbank Dictionary.






MAU'ING THE SAGGAR  A film by Gerald Mee, 1981 

The process of saggar making by the late Ralph Wheeldon - one of the four last saggar makers in the Potteries working at the Gladstone Pottery in Longton during the making of the film in 1981.







SAGGAR MAKING at the NATIONAL GARDEN FESTIVAL, STOKE, 1986
Ralph Wheeldon entertains the crowds at the Garden Festival


Saggar maker Ralph Wheeldon at National Garden Festival Stoke 1986
Saggar maker Ralph Wheeldon at National Garden Festival Stoke 1986
Photo: Terry Woolliscroft Collection  Date: Summer 1986



THE SAGGAR MAKERS BOTTOM KNOCKER, KNOCKING A BOTTOM

Very short, 25 second, movie






"I'm not the saggar maker, I'm the saggar maker's mate ..."

Saggar making and bottom knocking in Stoke-on-Trent as a guide to early saggar technology 

By Paul T. Nicholson

Fabulous written record of how it was done





Quote from Alan 'aj' Colclough, January 2016

My first job was at the NEWFIELD POTTERY of Alfred Meakin (Tunstall) Ltd. I was the lodge boy, and I had to count all the broken saggars and the ones still in use, every week.  Then I had to  report it to the lodge man LEN HILTON. He would then enter the lost ones in a great big ledger book - and would check for re orders.  That was the time when they did control losses.




Saggar Making with Kevin Millward

At Gladstone Pottery Museum, 25 April 2015











End of life for a Saggar?


Saggars in a Garden Wall,  John Street, Longton
Photo: Source unknown  Date: unknown

Saggar walls behind the church off  Summerbank Road, Burslem
Photo: Source unknown  Date: unknown