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South from Barley - part 2  

South from Barley - part 2 

Joseph South(1), born in Barley in 1822, and his second wife Mary-Ann Dutton left the UK to emigrate to New Zealand in March 1874 together with the younger children of both family. One month before their embarkation he sold the small pottery near Dyson's Lane, Edmonton, for £22-5-0 to Samuel(1), his third son, who had been born in Cheshunt in 1853. The two elder sons, Joseph(2) and Solomon, also remained in England.  

Samuel(1) lived in the former house of his father in Water Lane (Angel Road) and later at 26 Angel Terrace. He married Alice Barnard in 1875 and the first of their ten children, Samuel(2), was born in 1876. The Horticultural Industry of the Lea Valley was on the doorstep.  The 1861 census recorded over two hundred Market Gardeners, Nurserymen and Florists in Edmonton alone.

There were limitations, however, in supplying the demand for pots from the resources of the small pottery that in 1881 employed "two men and three boys". The clay stock required replenishing from the excavations of building foundations and burials thus adding to costs. There can be small doubt that Samuel(1) was aware of events that were happening less than two miles away in White Hart Lane, Tottenham, and when the opportunity arose to expand the business he grasped it. 

The 1619 Manorial map of Tottenham depicts a field called Apeland on the north side Apeland Street (White Hart Lane). In the mid-nineteenth century the field can be identified as part of Tent Farm and given over to pasture. The site overlaid a rich deposit of London Clay which is particularly suitable for pot making. Robert Kenworthy was the owner and by 1876 had leased the land to Samuel Johnson ("Brickground") and Edward Cole ("Potteries").

Richard Sankey, potmaker of Bulwell, Nottingham, acquired occupation of the Johnson land and attempted to undercut the prices of Cole but was unsuccessful in making the venture pay and withdrew. In 1886 Samuel(1) stepped in, taking on some of the former Sankey employees, and transferred his pottery business to White Hart Lane. He also rented one of the pair of semi-detached houses known as Tentdale and lived there with his family. The Coles', who were to become the (not always friendly) rivals of the Souths' occupied the adjoining property. Samuel South & Sons, Horticultural Pottery Manufacturers, were properly established and could expand.   

In these early days the White Hart Lane Potteries of Samuel(1) (the Coles' occupied Tottenham Potteries) consisted of four outside kilns, covered drying and potmaking sheds and, of course, the clay pit. The small brick single storey office with double pitched roof faced the entrance and remained until the business was sold in 1960.  The first major investment was the purchase of a clay pugmill and accessories from William Boulton of Burslem in 1896 for a total of £240-5-8. Over the years other improvements were made to the site including the construction of stables for the horses used to deliver the pots. The business was capable of maintaining and building the kilns and also employed a harness maker, wheelwright and blacksmith. Hay fields were rented to provide fodder for the horses. Rules for the conduct of potters and carmen were posted at the pottery.

Samuel(1) diversified not only for expansion but also for those times when the demand for pots fell. Whilst at the Dyson's Road pottery he carted water from the well at High Cross, Tottenham. In 1936 a 73 year old resident of Edmonton recalled his family in Sebastopol Road buying a pail of water for "one half-penny" from Mr South brought by "a horse and large barrel".

In partnership with Charles Hastings in 1894 Samuel(1) undertook brickmaking on other land in White Hart Lane under a short term agreement with the landowner, John Edward Ford, who was to receive a royalty of "two shillings and sixpence per thousand on one hundred thousand bricks at the least [whether made or not] and the same Royalty.......per thousand [thereafter]".

The horses at the pottery, which at times numbered one hundred, were used for general cartage and hired out to Tottenham District Council for refuse collecting. Between 1898-1908 the carting business almost became the prime livelihood over the pottery activity. During the First World War South horses were requisitioned for service in France. Motor transport replaced horses for deliveries after the War but two horses were retained to carry coal from Noel Park Station. The value of this mode of transport was demonstrated in the Second World War when, because of petrol shortages, Whitbread employed the South horses to deliver beer barrels to The White Hart Public House in Devonshire Hill Lane, Tottenham.

A family tragedy occurred in 1897 when Joseph(2), who leased a brickfield at Bury Street, Edmonton, died at the age of 46. On the 26 January 1897 he had slipped on an icy surface at the brickfield and hurt his left foot. The injury seemed minor but he complained of feeling unwell and was seen every day by his doctor until he died on 25 February 1897 from a pulmonary embolism due to the clotting of a vein caused as a result of the accident.  He left his estate, including (it is assumed) the lease of the Bury Street brickfield, valued at £3,974 entirely to his wife, Sarah.  

The operation of the brickfield was taken over by Samuel(1) increasing his involvement in the clay industry even further.  His business interests are summarised in an advertisement of 1903:

Telephone No. 54 Tottenham.

Samuel South & Sons,

Established 1868.

Cartage Contractors,

Horticultural Garden Pots


Brick Manufacturers.


White Hart Lane,



Bury St., Edmonton.

Of the thirty six businesses appearing on the same wall chart only three, including South & Sons, advertise a telephone number. The Bury Street brickfields closed circa 1914 and are the site of playing fields.

Samuel(1) invested heavily in property which, after his death, formed the basis of South Brothers' Estates. It is also believed that some property was acquired in settlement of debts from defaulting builders who were unable to pay for bricks that had been supplied. At least forty-six houses were owned in Henderson Road and North Road, Edmonton, together with further property in St Loys Road and Steele Road, Tottenham. A South interest in farmland was compulsorily purchased by Tottenham District Council for housing development. 

Close links were forged with the customers of the Lea Valley Nursery industry. In 1911 Samuel(1) accompanied a party from The Growers Association to the United States which included a visit to Baltimore. One particular friend was Charles Pratley, whose nursery was in Bury Street near the brickfield. There is some belief that he provided financial support to Samuel(1) for his business expansion. A few years in the future, James South, grandson of Samuel(1) entered the Nursery trade working for W A Cull and H B May before moving to his own nursery at Goffs Oak.

In 1899 Samuel(1) drew up his last will and appointed his eldest son and Robert Buckle, Solicitors Clerk, of White Cottage, White Hart Lane, who was to be granted a payment of £50 for his services, as executors. Robert is better known as "Bobby" Buckle, a founder member and the first captain of the amateur Tottenham Hotspur. He was to remain a lifelong friend of Samuel(2). Another son, Walter South, recalled many years later that Samuel South & Sons had supplied broken pots which were laid as a foundation under the pitch after 'Spurs moved to the White Hart Lane ground in 1899.    

The last of his ten children were born at Tentdale and in the 1890's Samuel(1) moved to Devonshire Hill Farm, leased from the New River Company, some half mile from the White Hart Lane Pottery and by 1912 he was living at Langhedge House in Snells Park, Edmonton. On Wednesday 1 January 1919 Samuel(1) travelled from Snells Park to the Potteries probably by the Brougham which the family used for transport. He looked unwell and Samuel(2) made a remark to that effect to his father. Samuel(1) replied that "I don't feel quite up to it, boy" but a short while later his condition worsened and he was taken home. He went to bed and passed away overnight from a ruptured aneurism of the heart. He was 66 years of age.

After an inquest Samuel(1) was interred at Edmonton Cemetery  on 10 January 1919. A procession of six carriages conveying the family and close friends followed the hearse. Other mourners included prominent local business men from the Pottery and Nursery industries. Samuel(1) was laid to rest alongside the grave of his elder brother, Joseph(2).

The Potteries passed to his eldest son Samuel(2) and the third South generation continued in the clay industry.  

KLB  2/97   Rev 2/97

Sources Judith Cranefield(NZ)  

South Family Archive

Notes of Sidney Beadle

South Family Memories

Tottenham Local History Unit

Tottenham & Edmonton Weekly Herald


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