21 May 2018

The pottery thief

Little did I know when I started collecting sea pottery, that there was a pottery thief way back in my family tree! 

Soon after I’d started beachcombing, I came across the British Newspaper Archive online, and I had fun searching for some of the Westie family, on my dad’s side of the family. In one newspaper I came across the story of James Westie. 

James Westie and two other lads, Robert Henderson and William Harrick, who worked with him at the Methven & Son pottery in Kirkcaldy, were accused of each stealing several pieces of earthenware pottery during the month of August. James Westie was the grandson of David Westie and Elizabeth Myles, and son of David Westie and Agnes Dall, and was just 12 years of age at the time. The items he was accused of stealing were two teacups and saucers. The boys seem to have been caught by an elaborate sting operation involving file marks being made on items that were found hidden behind barrels in the finishing department. 

A charge against William Harrick’s mother of receiving the stolen goods was found not proven. Several cups and plates had been found on her kitchen shelf, which she said her son had brought in and she’d meant to return, and other items were found smashed to pieces and hidden in the ash bucket. Henderson’s mother was also questioned about allowing items to remain in her home. 

Bailie Dowie said he hoped the fine of 10s 6d each would serve as a warning to the boys, and that he was very sorry to see lads so young charged with such a serious crime as that of theft. 

Many of the pottery fragments I’ve found are by Methven & Son, and it’s fun to think that some of the pieces I find may have been the same design as those stolen by this 12 year old family member!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...