Bentham potter’s leaky Brexit mug goes viral worldwide - Brits and Germans ‘really get it’

Lee Cartledge with the first eight of the Brexit mugs
Lee Cartledge with the first eight of the Brexit mugs

Lee Cartledge’s creation was one of Twitter’s biggest trending tweets last week, and will go on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum next year.

“It was an idea I had while I was going to sleep one night,” muses Lee, 53, who runs Bentham Pottery with his parents Barrie and Kathy at Oysterber Farm in Low Bentham, near Lancaster.

Lee Cartledge's Brexit mug went viral.

Lee Cartledge's Brexit mug went viral.

“Like a lot of ideas like that you never carry them out, but I went into the pottery and made it and put it online.

“I was thinking I would get a few likes or sarcy comments, but it went viral very quickly.

“There’s a certain sense of humour in it that a lot of people have got.

“There’s also a huge irony there as I voted remain but it’s the best thing to happen to Bentham Pottery!”

Lee jokingly posted pictures of the “limited edition commemorative Brexit mug” to Bentham Pottery’s Facebook page on November 13.

Two weeks later, the post has been shared around the world, and Lee has been interviewed by German state TV.

He has also received a huge amount of interest from America.

“A mug of tea is a very British thing, and people could relate to that,” he said.

“I think it sums up what a lot of people think about Brexit, no matter what side of the line they’re on.”

Lee has started to painstakingly carve the word Brexit into several mugs, and has so far made eight.

This type of detail is described as “the devil’s work” in the pottery trade.

Obviously the mug is for decorative purposes only, and it is not recommended that people fill it with hot tea.

The original post had 19,000 shares on Facebook, and last Wednesday, November 21, it was the biggest trending tweet on Twitter.

“I’ve had quite a few people come up to the pottery over the past week because of it,” Lee said.

“I’m making a total of 100 pieces and that’s it.

“I sold out within a few hours.

“They call it the devil’s work in the business. So far I’ve made eight and my neck was pretty stiff afterwards!”

All 100 mugs are sold out at £80 a piece, with 12 per cent of all sales going to the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MDNA).

Lee even had an email from someone who said “name your price”.

Another potter, Mary Chappelhow of Interlude Ceramics, is going to make her own version with an offer of also donating 10 per cent of her sales to MNDA.

The mug is being displayed in an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in May, and several other museums have been in touch with Bentham Pottery for them as well.

“There’s been a lot of interest in America and Germany,” Lee said.

“It’s been worldwide really, but the Germans really get it.

“I didn’t expect it to go viral.

“It obviously appeals to a lot of people’s sense of humour.”

Lee’s parents Kathy and Barrie set up Bentham Pottery in 1976.

They make commemorative plates, domestic ware, and bespoke individual pieces and run pottery classes.

Lee added that he’d be making most of the other mugs in January as he still had Christmas orders to get through.