From Bulletin 117 October 2002.


From a Correspondent 


The photograph shows the blue printed transfer decoration found on the handle of a beer pump excavated in a late 19th early 20th century context, and was obtained by rolling the handle along a computer scanner, thus giving a 360 degree image of the pattern.
Although it may be readily recognised as Broseley pattern, the design as we see it on flatware appears to be more than somewhat rearranged to cope with the contours of this particular article! The central feature here, if such there be, is the boat, which we would normally find above the centre of the design. Above the boat we find the section which we should expect to find in the centre and, at the bottom, the buildings and 'bridge' that normally appear at the top! And, along the base of the handle is a strip of border pattern. The only mark is the small impressed word 'Special', which appears at the base of the handle.
Editorial Note: A number of questions come to mind. When did beer pumps come into use i.e. is the context of the find accurate? The handle is probably not made of earthenware, more likely to be porcelain or some form of stone china. Who made such objects? Are there any features of the pattern as it appears on the beer pump handle which may give a clue as to manufacturer? Do you know of other blue printed patterns used on these objects?
The only distinctive feature, as I see it, is the outline of the boat. Bearing in mind that we may be looking at a mirror image (correct me if I'm wrong!), then the simple uncluttered shape of the boat is similar to that found on Spode and Davenport, both of which factories were working in the late nineteenth century. Whether either went in for this kind of production I do not know. Another factory, and this would put the item definitely at the end of the nineteenth century, is Doulton who, although I do not have a piece to hand, I feel sure used the pattern. I hope that between us we can come up with some more information about such items and I look forward to the result of any imbibed research.