Chelsea China


One of Chelsea China’s famous works
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Name:Chelsea China

Dates:1745 - 1784


Address: 16 Lawrence Street , SW3

Dates at address:1745 - 1784


One of the borough’s only inanimate blue plaque owners Chelsea China is also the most mysterious. Chelsea’s earliest and most prominent industry was part of the borough’s rapid growth in the eighteenth century and was certainly popular, yet it left very few records. We do not know who opened it, when or even exactly where. What is known is that it was somewhere on the north side of Lawrence Street, it was owned at some time before 1750 by Charles Gouyn who was replaced by Nicholas Sprimont and that the earliest piece found is dated 1745, though most historians claim it cannot be their first piece. Sprimont was responsible for producing the Red Anchor porcelain pieces that are now so prized.

Many famous potters and dignitaries visited the pottery and one of its more unusual visits was from Dr Johnson. The doctor had decided he wanted to try his hand at pottery so he went to Chelsea China, along with a full hamper and his housekeeper. Here, between regular meals, he made a number of awful attempts at making a pot before finally surrendering. Other workers were clearly more adept than he, as pottery is still being dug up in gardens in the area and found in people’s homes. Many fine examples are on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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