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Canterbury

Figure 87: Two prints showing a Late 18th Century kiln-shed at Canterbury (far right) (a - Hasted 1799; b - print dated 1787 in the author's possession).

Excavations in 1989, on the site of St Gregory's Priory, Northgate, Canterbury, uncovered the base of a pipe kiln and fuel store at the back of the Priors Lodging. At the end of the eighteenth century the Priors Lodging was still standing, albeit in a dilapidated condition. In his history of the city, Hasted records the contemporary use of this building by a potter.

there are the remains of several noble and lofty apartments in it; but the whole has been ruinated for a number of years past, and only bare walls left, without a window frame or pane of glass to keep out the weather. It is now made use of as a potter's workshop, and for store-rooms for his manufactory. (Hasted 1799)

A print which accompanies this text, depicts the rear of this building. It shows a single storey building on the right which occupies the position of the excavated pipe kiln (Figure 87a). As there is no archaeological evidence for an earlier building in this position it must be assumed that either the building depicted is the pipe kiln or construction of the pipe kiln removed all trace of any earlier structures. The later proposal is unlikely. A second print, dated 1787, from the same viewpoint, (Figure 87b) includes a small timber structure to the left, behind which there is a pile of fire wood. Both prints are romantic rather than clinically objective. Although neither shows a chimney above the supposed pipe kiln the size and general appearance of the building is compatible with the archaeological evidence. The marked similarity between the Canterbury kiln and that from Brentford (Figure 56) help to support a proposed eighteenth century date for the construction of the former. Further support comes from a nearby dump of pipe kiln muffle structure with pipes typologically dated 1790-1820 which proves pipe-making on the site contemporary with the pottery. (see Catalogue CA1) Both prints show an open door in a position equating to the steps down into the stoking pit and both show a door sized opening in the side wall. Neither show the second opening as a fully functioning door. In the first print the lean-to roof appears to be supported on open studding whilst in the second it is walled with a low door and a surrounding fence. It is possible that both derive from a common drawing or painting. Should this prove to be the case it is to be hoped that the treatment in the original is less romantic.


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