We decided to stay close to home this weekend and visit the Royal Crown Derby. (wiki link -- some info of which is contained below).
The Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Company is the oldest (or second oldest) remaining English porcelain manufacturer (there is some dispute with Royal Worcester in Stoke-on-Trent) and is based in Derby. The company, particularly known for its high-quality bone china, has produced tableware and ornamental items since approximately 1750. It was known as "Derby Porcelain" until 1773, when it became Crown Derby, the "Royal" being added in 1890.
It goes without saying that is good for business if the Royals give their seal of approval as that implies quality and has a certain cachet. This is done, as I found out, by issuing Royal Warrants. "Derby Porcelian" was given a Royal Warrant by King George III which also gave it permission to incorporate the royal crown. (Yes, that's the same King George III that the American colonialists had an issue with). Subsequent warrants have been given out along the way, but the last is from the Queen Mother in 1978. They are hopeful that another is coming . . . .
In 1877, an impressive new factory (which is the site we visited today) was built on Osmaston Road, Derby, thus beginning the modern period of Derby porcelain. Crown Derby’s patterns became immensely popular during the late Victorian era, as their romantic and lavish designs exactly met the popular taste of the period.
In 1890, Queen Victoria appointed Crown Derby to be “Manufacturers of porcelain to Her Majesty” and by Royal Warrant granted them the title "The Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Company".
They are quite proud of their royal connections.
Since it was a dry day and not too cold (i.e. above freezing), I decided we could actually combine this with a city walk. RCD is about 2.5 miles from our house with a fairly linear (walking) route. Why not walk? Alex wasn't too keen on it (especially coming back), but I'm glad we did it. It took about 45 minutes to get there.
All smiles starting off
Still smiling shortly down the road. I mainly took this one because I love the old-time mile markers. Cars driving on the left. Is that unnerving to the US readers?
Note, they've had a couple of banner years with the Wedding, Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. They've also been planning for a royal baby since William and Kate were married. With the news of Kate's pregnancy, they've stepped it up a notch. Maybe we'll stop back by when those are out . . .
On to the small museum:
coronation ceremony was over a year later.) This was set up as a typical household of the day (of course with a nice RCD tea set though). I made sure the kids had a look at that TV. That bad boy even pre-dates me. I do recall where we used one 9" TV for the picture and another 13" TV for sound. Both B&W (we were on sabbatical away from home that year).
Random note: TV sales skyrocketed due to the coronation and this was the first event than many saw on TV.
Random note 2: in 1953 food was still rationed due to WWII but households were allowed an extra pound of sugar and 4 oz of margarine for the coronation celebrations. That's even better than getting days off like we did for the wedding and jubilee!
Here's an old photograph of then Princess Elizabeth visiting Rolls-Royce in 1949 (I think).
a photo and commemorative plate of Princess Diana's visit in 1987 (also a big deal)
another commemorative plate for QE II
screams English/British, does it not? (at least stereotypically)
Royal Cats and Dogs
one of the odder pieces -- this is supposed to be Mars. huh?
"Sweatmeat Stand in the form of 4 Blackamoors"
Zeus (I'm not getting the Greek/Roman gods angle here) -- this was apparently typical of some of the items at the other (Kings Street) location
Finally, a closed room showing the Ronald Raven collection (opened by Lady Di further up)
It was a nice, small museum and worthy of our time. I'm glad we combined it with the walk to make a full afternoon out of it. Of course, walking there meant walking back. And for that, there was some considerable whinging from SmallFrey. It doesn't help that it's uphill as well. We did stop at a few stores on the way back to break it up.
and now St. Mary's
hopefully at least one of you enjoyed that like I did
I still can't get even the streaky bacon to really crisp up properly here. More work there.
My confidence and track record are up, so I'll be trying quite a few new dishes this week.
One final item: here's a shout out to my kids. They've been harping for a raise in their allowance (pocket money I think it's called here) so we collectively laid out the new requirements (chores). They've really upped their game and doing it with a great attitude. Way to go Nicole and Alex!