Our Story

The History of Errington Reay

The original founders, Robert Errington and William Reay, established their pottery at Bardon Mill in 1878, in the once water powered woollen mill. Since Victorian times Errington Reay has remained a traditional family run pottery. Errington Reay is the last commercial pottery in Britain producing salt glaze pottery.

We still only practise tra­ditional ways of hand throwing which ­together with specialised salt glazing give Errington Reay pottery its truly unique textured finish.

Visitors are welcome at the pottery where they can view the large selection of garden pots. Ample parking is available and a good range of quality seconds can be purchased from the factory shop. Bardon Mill is situated adjacent to the A69 Trunk Road on the edge of Northumberland National Park, with the most ­popular length of Hadrians Wall, Vindolanda and Housesteads nearby and the lovely town of Hexham only a few miles away.

All fired up and ready to go…

Errington Reay’s magnificent pottery is formed by our kilns reaching extraordinarily high temperatures in order to give our pots their stunning salt glaze finish.

As part of this specialist process, the kilns are shut down to rest every Thursday evening. Prior to the kilns being halted, they are at their maximum temperature of 1250 degrees Centigrade. At this point, we have to block the exhaust flue in order to starve the kilns of oxygen. This is known as the reduction process and it creates the most dramatic display.

The adjacent pictures show this spectacular effect as if the inferno is using all its energy to fight against the process.

The flames are bright and theatrical, refusing to die down, flicking at the sides of the kiln and crackling. We then replace the coal with sand which in turn extinguishes the blazing inferno, eventually smouldering and subsiding to ash.

The kilns are then sealed and left to cool slowly until Monday morning thus completing the seven day cycle that makes Errington Reay pottery the only one of its kind in the world.