“The Friendly Village” china pattern – a family memory, “Made in England”

A thread I was following elsewhere today, on the subject of family china patterns, reminded me of my family’s “everyday” pattern, “The Friendly Village,” by Johnson Brothers:

Friendly Village china pattern - Johnson Brothers

It is an English pattern, thus my decision to post this on The Anglophilic Anglican. The pottery itself is known as “transferware,” but is apparently (hard to find detailed information on the subject!) based on the Johnson Brothers’ process for producing a type of durable vitreous earthenware known as “White Granite,” celebrated for having the look of fine china but being tough and chip resistant like ironstone. Indeed, most people simple refer to it as “Johnson Brothers ironstone.”

Following WW II, the Johnson Brothers gained Royal Warrants from Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen Mother. I seem to recall seeing those on the backstamps of our set; they are missing from this one:

Friend Village "Made in England" backstamp

But I may be misremembering. For more details, please see the excellent, interesting, and photographically well-illustrated essay found here, at Nancy’s Daily Dish.

The Friendly Village first appeared in 1953, and it was probably around that time that Ma and Pa purchased it – Pa, actually, as this was a simpler and economically more robust time, when a family could survive and thrive on a single income: the husband was the “breadwinner,” and the wife not only mother but “homemaker,” as it was called. It is a lovely, rustic, and charming pattern, and I am fortunate enough to have inherited it! Sadly, it is – along with much else – languishing in storage at the moment, until I have a place where I can properly exhibit and utilize it. I miss it, along with many other things that are currently stored!

Here are a few more pictures, gleaned from the internet:

 

The set pictured at the upper-left is very similar to ours – including the oval-shaped serving plate – with the exception that our set has the teacups, as pictured to the right, rather than the larger coffee cups. We also have two oval serving bowls, not pictured, that I was not able to find on the net. Our family set also has the creamer (small pitcher) and, I think, a sugar bowl, although I’m not certain about the last.

The gravy boat, pictured at the bottom, is somewhat unique in that it’s not fastened to its under-plate! As as result, one has to be careful that it does not slide around or even off, depositing the gravy on the table or floor, rather than the food… For some reason, we have two of them; we never, to my recollection, used both at the same time – and despite occasional slippage, never had a significant spill.

At any rate, a fun (if somewhat bittersweet, under the circumstances) romp through family history and eating traditions!

HRH The Prince of Wales – “Recovery of the soul”

HRH Prince Charles - Recovery of the soul

I do not agree with everything Prince Charles has to say, but in this I believe His Royal Highness is 100% correct. When I do agree with him, it usually has to do with architecture, agriculture, or tradition!