09 November 2011

Utility China

A few months ago while I was sitting around my apartment in New York waiting for my visa to come to the UK I stumbled on Utility China.  The first place I saw it was a A Thrifty Mrs.  It was love at first sight.  I spent ages looking for more information and more blogs about Utility China.  I even found a Flickr page which is like kitchenware porn to me. 

I have a degree in history that concentrates on WWII.  I think that’s where my interest comes from.  While they definitely are beautiful, they aren’t just pretty plates to me.  I love the idea of owning and using a piece of history from my adopted country. 

For some reason I thought that as soon as I moved here I would be tripping over the stuff.  I thought that the shelves of charity shops would be heaving at the weight of all the fabulous plates and bowls that I would be buying.  I started making weekly visits to the local charity shops.  I found a gravy boat that wasn’t in great shape and that I didn’t buy.  I walked into every charity shop I passed searching high and low.  I found nothing.

Then, after five weeks of looking, in the £1 basket of an antique shop in the town next door I unearthed two dirty and worn plates.  I found a Woods Ware Beryl plate and a Barratts Delphanic Blue plate.  Pay dirt! Upstairs I found a J&G Meakin Glamour serving bowl.  I snapped that up too.    
Since then I have actually been going after ebay auctions as well.  We do need some every day plates and I might as well collect what I want.  In fact, this perfect little Johnson Bros Greydawn jug arrived in the post this morning!

I’m going to keep hunting and collecting Utility China and I’m sure that over time I’ll find some real gems.  However, these two slightly dirty looking and much used plates will always be a bit more special that the rest.  
Does anyone else collect Utility China?  What's your favorite piece?


  1. I don't really collect it but I know, from the sales of it I've made on eBay, that a lot of people do. From an aesthetic viewpoint it's nothing special but the social history is great. Watch out for Beryl on the table in most modern-made, 40s and 50s-set TV shows!

    K xx

  2. I think my nan still uses this type of china! I always find that when I think something will be easy to find it's not, and often vice versa to at the op shops!

  3. I love utility china, i inherited a lot from my nan, its always popping up in my local charity shops too :o) Scarlett x

  4. I love the colour of these! Gorgeous.
    I don't collect any china unfortunately as I would have no where to store it, maybe when I am older and have moved out!

    Jazz xo

  5. Wayhey another utility china fan! I love your tureen. I mostly have Johnson Bros utility china so far but I'm searching for some Meakin pieces and more Woods Ware too.