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Samuel(2) started work at his father's Pottery in White Hart Lane, Tottenham, in 1888 at the age of twelve. He worked 56 hours a week and spent six years learning the art of "throwing" at the potter's wheel. Horses were a major asset. They were  used to deliver the pots to the Nursery customers and for general cartage. There were stables at the rear of the Potteries where upto 100 horses were accommodated. After the introduction of motor transport, two horses were retained to cart the coal, needed to fire the kilns, from Noel Park Railway Station. 

When Samuel(2) died in 1956 he had been continuously engaged in the family business for 68 years.

A young Samuel(2) at the Potteries 


"Ted" South

Edwin ("Ted") was the seventh child and fourth son of Samuel(2). He married Gwen Griffen in July 1939. After the outbreak of WW2, he enlisted as a sapper in the Royal Engineers in January 1940 and was posted to the British Expeditionary Force in France two weeks later.  He suffered fatal wounds during the Dunkirk retreat in May 1940 and was reported missing. The family did not learn of his fate until March 1941.

His commanding officer wrote to Samuel(2) in September 1940:

Dear Sir

I was hoping when I wrote to you that I should have some better news to give you regarding your son, but I have only received a note informing me that he is missing. A letter has also been sent to me from R. E. Records telling me that you are asking for L/C Shepherd who may be able to furnish you with some information.

I would like to pay tribute to the bravery of your boy. It was at Les Moires that we were attacked by air bombing and machine gunning, the attack was so sudden that very few were able to take efficient cover. In three or four minutes what had been a peaceful country village was reduced to comparative ruin and casualties were inflicted on our and other companies. Your son was hit by either M.G. bullet or flying shrapnel on his chin, but whilst he must have been in pain he was endeavouring to assist others more seriously hurt. He was bandaged up, smoked a cigarette and was immediately sent to hospital, fortunately an ambulance was in the vicinity. Since that time we have not heard any definite news, we were hoping that he would have been well enough to be taken on board a transport at Dunkirk. We understand the hospital was well protected from air raids and that some of the staff remained with the patients. We all hope that such was the case, that he has now recovered and would therefore be a prisoner of war.

Please convey to his wife and accept from us all our sympathies and our hopes that he will be restored to you in the near future, we are proud of him as you are undoubtedly will be when I tell you that his courage was an example to us all in a very trying period.

Yours sincerely

Eric Cole

Major R. E.

677 General Construction Co. R.E.

R.A.F. Station

Sth. Cerney


Update 4 and Update 6 described the first motor lorry acquired by Samuel South & Sons. The family memory is that the vehicle was ex army stock after World War 1. Enquiries have been made with "Honest John" of the Daily Telegraph Motoring Supplement and the following information has been provided:

Pierce Arrow outside Potteries Office

"The truck was definitely war surplus and not registered until 1921at the earliest in Middlesex. Pierce Arrow built about 1,000 of the standardised Class B Liberty trucks for the US army. The 5 ton model R and 2 ton model X were also widely used during WW1. There is a photo of an identical 4 ton truck, dating from 1916, on page 496 of The Complete Encyclopaedia of Commercial Vehicles, out of print, but obtainable from book fairs."

The address of Mr R Westgate of Nottingham who holds the Middlesex registration records for the period was provided. These records confirm that the lorry, MD 9110 (chassis no. 4286: engine no. 5574), was first registered to Samuel South & Sons on 23 February 1921 and was continuously in their ownership until 31 December 1930.

An interview with Samuel(3) appeared in the London Evening News on 16 October 1961 reporting the closure of the Potteries under the headline "The Link With 500 Year-Old Industry Is Broken". The article reported:-

"Mr South can just recall the time when his firm sold 60 two-and-a-half-inch flower pots for 10d. Even in 1939, if pots were sold in bulk, the Souths were prepared to deliver them within a 60-mile radius and charge no more for them than 2s 3d for every four dozen."


The help of readers is sought:

Please can you look out for information on Pierce Arrow.

Can anyone recall the registration number of the Armstrong Siddeley car owned by Samuel(2)?

What were the make, model, and registration numbers of the two lorries at the Potteries at the time of the closure?


Kenneth Lewis Barker  10/98


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