Lasting legacy of Last Potter of Black Burton

Richard Bateson, the last potter of Black Burton, with some of his wares.
Richard Bateson, the last potter of Black Burton, with some of his wares.

Scan your maps of North West England where Yorkshire meets Cumbria and Lancashire.

You won’t find any trace of Black Burton even though for 250 years it was an important centre of pottery making, producing essential wares for homes, shops and inns.

By 1850 there were 11 working potteries there. Workers spattered with black clay, smoky charcoal fired kilns and coal powered steam engines were the norm.

The last pottery closed in 1944 and Black Burton is now transformed into the tranquil village of Burton-in-Lonsdale with just 650 residents and one remaining pub. Now the man who was ‘The Last Potter of Black Burton’ will be the subject of a talk about his life.

From the age of 17, Richard Bateson worked with his father and uncle at Waterside Pottery. Later he ran Bridge End pottery before returning to Waterside and renaming it Stockbridge. Here he produced pots for Woolworth’s but struggled to make a living and eventually Stockbridge was forced to close.

Bateson went on to teach in London and Ispwich returning to Burton in the late 70s.

His extensive knowledge was passed on to the Cartledge family at their pottery in Bentham.

Richard Bateson died in 1991 aged 98, but Lee Cartledge still runs the Bentham pottery today, ensuring that the Burton pottery legacy lives on.

Lee’s talk on Friday, June 12 from 7.30pm at the Folly, Settle, will explore Richard’s life. Tickets cost £7 in advance from 01729 822893 or go to