Bell's pottery decorators at the Glasgow Pottery in Port Dundas, 1901.
Most of the staff in this department are female, with a row of young girls at the back. Traditionally, women were employed as pottery decorators because of their "dainty hands" and because they were believed to be more artistic than men.
John and Matthew Bell opened the Glasgow Pottery in the early 1840s. The company became very successful, producing pottery for local and overseas markets. Matthew died in 1870 and by the time his brother died in 1880 he was in debt, possibly due to the severe economic recession that was exacerbated by the failure of the City of Glasgow Bank in 1878. The company was sold as a going concern but competition from English and Dutch pottery manufacturers was too stiff and production at the Glasgow Pottery ended around 1911.
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums
child labour, children, City of Glasgow Bank, girls, Glasgow Pottery, J & M P Bell & Co, jugs, pots, potteries, pottery decorators, pottery manufacturers, statuettes, women