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!

20 May 2018

Beach hearts

One of the things I really enjoy at the beach is finding heart-shaped stones, bits of shells, and pieces of pottery or sea glass. 
Like my love of collecting sea glass, my interest in hunting for hearts started on the Cinque Terre in Italy, where I first found a heart-shaped stone by the side of a path, then seemed to see heart and star shapes in various different places. 

Sometimes I take my heart-shaped finds home, but recently I’ve started to "collect" them by just taking photos of some of them.

19 May 2018

Sea beads and buttons

The most colourful things that I've found so far on the beach have been beads and buttons. It's sometimes hard to tell whether beads are glass or plastic, but I don't really mind. And I've even found a whole bracelet in lovely seaside colours.

18 May 2018

Sea pottery - tiny pieces

One of the challenges I've set myself while beachcombing is to find the tiniest piece of what can still be recognised as pottery, and it's a lot of fun! Along the way I've come across all of these lovely tiny pieces.

17 May 2018

Random beach finds

As well as sea glass and patterned pottery, there are all the other little things on the beach that catch my eye. Sometimes it will be a particularly interesting stone or seashell, a plastic item, or something I can't even identify!
I pick up pieces of pottery that aren't interesting for their pattern, but for their shape. Many of these are kiln stilts, which were used for supporting pottery in the kiln. When I first saw them on the beach I thought they were the bones of some strange creature, and many people do call them kiln bones!
Some of the pottery pieces that I pick up are really useful for displaying other items, like my marbles and stoppers!

15 May 2018


One of the things I most wanted to find on the beach was a glass stopper. One day, when I had an afternoon meeting near the coast, I was able to spend lunchtime at the beach. Just as I was about to head back to the car I paused for a moment, and when I looked down at my feet there was a perfect stopper!
Since then I’ve found a stopper nearly every time I’ve been at a beach. Sometimes it’s a glass stopper, either a perfectly whole one or a partial one, or a few times it’s been a black Vulcanite stopper.

14 May 2018

Sea pottery with lettering

As with sea glass, I love to find pottery that has lettering on it. Much of the time this is a maker's mark, and with a bit of research I can find out a lot about the piece that I have found, and pictures of the original object.

My favourite is the piece with Seafield Tower on it. Seafield Tower is very close to where I do my beachcombing, so this was a very exciting find! It took a while to find what it came from, but I finally found out that it was from a ginger beer bottle.

I've also started to pick up bits that have one letter on them, and one day I will maybe have a whole alphabet of sea pottery that I can spell words out with!

13 May 2018

Beach marbles

One of my favourite things to find on the beach is a marble, and it’s got to the stage where I’m not satisfied unless I come home with either a marble or a stopper!

I hadn’t found any marbles at all before the start of last month, but one of my Instagram contacts said just to keep looking and I would find them in the most unlikely places. Mostly they seem to be lurking in plain sight, and I always wonder why no-one else has found them! One of my most successful marble-finding days was when I found three within one minute! Then a few weeks later I found three on one beach, two on the next, and a partial one on a third beach!

There are two types of marbles that I’ve found. The first is the common or garden toy marble that you’ll already be familiar with, which have a swirl of colour through the middle. 

The other type is called a Codd marble, after a drinks manufacturer. These marbles were used in glass drinks bottles to seal in the carbonation. They are usually pale green and are all one colour with no swirl.

I love both types of marbles and they look lovely displayed together.

12 May 2018

Sea pottery - textured

I haven't found many pieces of textured pottery so far, but I really like how the few that I have found look together in a group. I particularly like the blue one on the left, which for some reason makes me think of Italian plaques like the ones below.

11 May 2018

Sea glass - patterned and textured

I'm always a little envious of seeing the lovely patterned and textured glass found by others, because I haven't found much myself yet! But I do love those that I have found.
I think my favourite is this piece that has a design of a window in a brick wall. It would be interesting to find out where that came from, but googling "glass window" or "glass bricks" doesn't get me very far!

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