Names?

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A name just came spiralling out if nowhere into my head…Archibald Cotton…

I dont think I have ever met anyone by that name, but it sounds friendly. I imagine him as a Victorian pottery worker. Stuck in a hot bottle kiln, walking up and down ladders with boards balanced on his head. The boards would have saggars filled with pots on them. Men would carry  heavy boards up into the kiln to load it. The saggers were pottery boxes that had  ware (pottery) put into them, to protect the pottery from the intense heat and smoke from the firing.

I imagine Archibald working as a child or older youth as a sagger makers bottom knocker. If I remember rightly they put the bottoms on the saggars, one of the lowest paid jobs in the pottery industry.

Archibald would have progressed to one of the other jobs in the potbank as he got older. Maybe a fettler, a sponger, lithographer, warehouse man. Maybe he left the potteries and became a miner, or worked on the railways or in the shelton steel works

When I remember the Stoke-on-Trent I came to live in a few decades ago, I think of the old empty pot banks, warehouses, derelict buildings. An industrial archeologists dream. Archibald might have done archaeology…a fitting name for that profession. He might have investigated the ruins of the 13 th century Hulton Abbey, in Abbey Hulton.

Perhaps this name conjured from my imagination really existed. I wonder if I would have liked to have met him?

 

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