J's Garden Notes - Spring 2012

Pulhamite - Pulham & Son 1842 - 1945

Being based in Broxbourne I have for some years been aware of a local firm called Pulham – a highly regarded company of ‘Garden craftsmen and rockery makers’ from the 19th century.

Very occasionally I have been lucky enough to find samples of their beautiful urns or ornaments made from an extra strong mix of stoneware terracotta.  There are also examples locally of the ‘Pulhamite’ stone used to make rockeries and grottos of many large manor houses as well as noteable stately homes across the country including Buckingham Palace.

James Pulham started the business in the early 1800s taking over the cement and plasterwork business of his employer in Tottenham.  His son, James 2 moved the business to Hoddesdon (next to Broxbourne) in 1842 and then onto the Broxbourne site in 1845.  The kilns and workings here manufactured their extra hard material ‘Pulhamite’ – an imitation artificial stone as well as a stone coloured hard wearing terracotta.  The kilns remain in situ as a listed site and there are plans by the local Museum service to develop the site to include a garden there soon.  The machines there pulverised claystone into powder which then went on to make the durable material so highly sort after today.

They received the Royal Warrant in the 1890’s after James Pulham 3 joined the company and it became Pulham & Son which successfully continued making urns and other garden ornaments until its close in 1945.

‘The Broxbourne Vase’ here was made by Pulham for the Great Exhibition in 1851. The Pulham Rock Garden at the 1931 Chelsea Flower Show was awarded a silver cup by King George V.  This cup can be seen on display at the Lowewood Museum in Hoddesdon.

There is a permanent display of Pulham and some of their products at the museum and they are putting on a larger exhibition of their work and history towards the end of the year.  October 2012 to April 2013.

There is also a book detailing the full history of Pulham and their works – The Pulham Legacy by Claude Hitching and Jenny Lilly -  which is now published and is due to be available through the Antique Collectors Club and Amazon from April.  

Thanks to Lowewood Museum in Hoddesdon for their help and information and our good friends for lending us their wonderful grotto to photograph.


Staddle Stones

The makeup of each staddle stone tells a story about it, its geography and its history.  The stone, the lichens, the shape and size.  Tall, short and dumpy, round or square based, square or round topped, limestone, sandstone, granite – they all have their own story to tell.

We are often asked what they were used for in the past.  These stones date back 2-300 years.  They were, and in some cases still are, used as the supports, corner stones, props for granaries, grain stores or hayricks.  The amount of staddle stones needed would depend on the size of the building or haystack standing on top of them.  They served to keep the damp and the vermin from the store or stack.

They apparently were originally made of wood but obviously the stone ones were much stronger.  They were hand carved locally in the stone rich areas of the UK.  The Forest of Dean in Wales, the Cotswolds and across the limestone rich counties of South East England, granite ones from the West Country, red and yellow sandstone ones from Shropshire though Middle and Northern England and the limestone from the Borders into the red sandstone of Scotland.  A whole variety of differing stones, shapes and sizes.

The name ‘Staddle’ comes I am told from the Old English word Stathol meaning a foundation, support or trunk of a tree.  They are now mostly ornamental and ooze with their history and age.  We can place a staddle stone in a new garden setting and instantly it will feel at home and give weight and purpose to the garden. 

They simply belong in our landscape. 



 Spring has arrived - It's official !!

The Ballet of the Daffodils

“Every year the age-old miracle is repeated.  Every year the daffodils thrust up out of the frosted earth and open their yellow buds in the winds of March.  “Fluttering and dancing in the breeze” said Wordsworth as he watched them whirling and swaying along the edges of the lake.

We catch the first faint hint of winter’s departure when the blue twilights of February deepen at the windows and the chiffchaff sings in the hedge, but it is not until the daffodil ballet is in full swing that we know for certain that the spring is come.”    Patience Strong 1953

Thankfully some things never change!


- J’s Pots News

We are gearing up already for the big shows of the Summer and the stock levels are really good and full of variety. 






Chelsea Flower Show this year is on from Tuesday 22nd until Saturday 26th May and we can be found in Pavilion Way again this year slightly closer to the Main Avenue gardens – PW/22.

Hampton Court we are again in the place we were last year opposite the gardens. PK/128

Remember we are very happy to source items for you if you cannot find what you are looking for on our website. 

We also do all our own delivery and placing service for our customers. 


Fun with Bygones

You may or may not have noticed on the website an area under the 'Current Stock' button for 'Gifts and Bygones'.  This is another area of stock we have which is mostly made up of an ever increasing number of interesting bygone pieces.  For example - Enamel signs, Cast iron Cigar Lighter (as in the picture) from a gentleman's club, a lovely old Victorian fist door knocker in fantastic condition.

Always on a mission to hunt out interesting and novel items.  This area often get bypassed on the website I think.  Worth a look!

"Time alone makes the beauty of age"

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