Sunday, January 20, 2013

Earthenware Jelly Jars

While I was out and about yesterday (picking up the mahogany dining set) I decided to stop by the Plainville CT indoor flea market at the crossing. We used to live just down the street from the flea market, and I would go every Saturday morning.

I hadn't been in nearly a year because it's about 45 minutes away now. I found a new booth belonging to a very good bottle dealer.  He had three small earthenware jars and a stoneware soap dish in one corner of the booth that immediately caught my eye. He wanted $5 per piece and I talked him down to $16 for all three jars and the soap dish. The soap dish and jars will be perfect for our upstairs bathroom.

 Two of the jars were marked on the base, so I did a little research when I got home, and here's what I discovered about my funny little containers:
The two marked jars were produced by HP Hartley, a food manufacturer in England, and were used to store jelly and marmalade. The business was started by Sir William Pickles Hartley (1846-1922), who obviously has the best name ever. Will definitely be naming a cat that at some point.
Sir Hartley founded his grocery store in 1871. In 1874 the business moved to Bootle, outside of Liverpool. HP Hartley offered a selection of jellies including apricot, black cherry, gooseberry, and pineapple, all of which were stored in the handsome cream colored earthenware jars that were also produced in-house.
In 1886 the firm opened a new factory in Aintree, and two years later, founded a purpose built village for employees consisting of 71 houses centered around a green. The streets of the village are all named after ingredients in jam including Sugar Street, Red Currant Court, and Cherry Row. The jam is still produced today, though the business, in its original form closed in 1929.
         The jelly jars are fairly common, often found by bottle diggers, and usually bring about $25 each- so I got a bargain. Below are pictures of the jars, markings, unmarked jar, and soap dish, as well as the village in Aintree that Hartley built, Sir William Pickles Hartley, and some early advertisements.
pretty, simple soap dish.

the unmarked jar- It's about 5 inches tall. I think I'll use all three jars to store bathroom type stuff, q-tips, cotton balls, toothbrushes etc.

The two Hartley jars.

marking on first jar

marking on second jar.

An early view of Hartley's village.

Some of the original buildings in Hartley's village today.

picturesque Hartley's village.

Sir William Pickles Harley himself, 1908. What a dapper gent.

early 20th century Hartley's advert- note the jar.

Another early Hartley's advert.


  1. What great finds, and the vintage ad's would be great art pieces in the room to complete the "story" of your treasures.

  2. I love simple white containers. I have a bunch of milk glass but I think I'll be keeping an eye out for some white earthenware jars.