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One of the most pleasing things about finally have our own digs in Sydney was getting all our stuff out of storage. Including my nana’s china:
Look we has TWO whole shelves of it!
I remember her saying that it was one of the first presents she bought herself when she came to Australia in 1939. Scott and me use it as our everyday crockery. No point in it sitting on the shelf collecting dust, right? And I love the sense of continuity that so many people have used these plates and cups and platters over the last 70 years. Pretty cool, huh?
Here, have a closer look:
I suspect it was very common in the late 1930s and early 1940s because several friends have seen it and gone, “I can’t believe it! That’s my nana’s dinner set!” Also it was the special occasion china that they used on this BBC Channel 4 reality show from a few years back, The 1940s House,1 where a family had to live as if they were back during the London Blitz.2
I’m wondering if the same set was available in the US as well. Because I like the idea of a few of the characters in my 1930s novel eating off it. Though I’d also have to find out when it was made because I doubt my novel will go up until 1939. Though maybe in the sequel?
Do any of you have inherited china or such like? Do you use it? Keep it in a glass case? Do you collect additional pieces? It had not occurred to me that I could add to this set until I was Googling around trying to find out more about “England’s Countryside” by Myott, Sons & Co. and lo and behold: many pieces for sale on Ebay and elsewhere. Is there nothing you can’t buy online?
Posted by Justine at 2:37, 5 February 2009 under 1930s NYC novel, Sydney/Australia | 16 Comments »
I wish I knew the name of Nana’s china, but alas, no joy. I did inherit my great-grandmother’s silver. My grandmother (and my mom, aged very small) moved in with her mother in Baltimore when my grandfather, a doctor, was deployed to India in WW2. I forget where she was working, but with every paycheck (or maybe every couple, not sure how expensive flatware was then), Gran bought her mother a piece of silver, in this pattern designed by a Baltimore native:
It’s a little baroque for modern tastes, but I love that my Gran gave it to her mother. I would have to unpack quite a bit to lay hands on it. Hopw y’all enjoy Nana’s plates.
February 5th, 2009 at 3:54 AM
I think the show was “The 1940s House”.
February 5th, 2009 at 4:19 AM
Judith Ridge Says:
Hi Justine, This is a fairly common pattern–you see it a lot in antique shops etc but I don’t think I’ve ever seen as complete a set as yours, which adds substantially to its worth. And the thing about fine china is that it actually gets stronger with use rather than sitting on the shelf, so it’s excellent that it’s your every day set. Just don’t drop it in the sink! And I suspect that the dishwater may not be a good idea with the gold paint detail.
But as for its availability in the US, I’m afraid I can’t help!
February 5th, 2009 at 6:19 AM
Just don’t put it in the dishwasher. We used my great-grandma’s china for everyday when I was a kid, and now you can barely see the pattern on the edges!
February 5th, 2009 at 6:46 AM
5. Justine Says:
chrisbarnes: Thanks so much!
February 5th, 2009 at 7:26 AM
I also meant to say it’s a pattern I’ve always really liked. Lucky you!
February 5th, 2009 at 7:31 AM
Julia Rios Says:
I inherited a bunch of mismatched cups (some with saucers, some without), and a full set of china. I love them all. I use the cups for everyday tea consumption, though this often scares my friends. Apparently fear of touching nice things is deeply ingrained in childhood for a lot of people. The china I only use on special occasions because I’d like the gold touches to stay nice as long as possible, but if there’s no holiday forthcoming, I’ll make one up in order to use the china at least twice a year.
If you want to find out more about your china, it should have a manufacturer and pattern name or serial number on the bottom of each dish. I’ve used those with my own stuff to find out how old things are. My favorite teacup is from 1923! All the china I have is imported, so it seems very likely that someone here could have had your set, too.
February 5th, 2009 at 10:10 AM
In case you are curious about what my inherited china looks like, here’s a picture of my grandmother’s plates from Thanksgiving (with my cat in the background!), and another of a few of my teacups.
February 5th, 2009 at 10:32 AM
I have my grandma’s china, which I use for dinner parties but not every day (on account of I can’t put it in the dishwasher.)
My mom has some of my great-grandma’s china which she never let us use or touch and recently she found that a couple of plates had cracked while hidden away in the cupboard. So why not use it?
February 5th, 2009 at 10:38 AM
Carrie Ryan Says:
It must be so nice having your own stuff out of storage! I have my parent’s everyday china from when they got married. I think those plates could survive the apocalypse they’re so sturdy (which means they never break which means I never have an excuse to buy new stuff!). My father still has all of my nana’s china and we use it quite often. My Nana used to be of the belief that you should use “the good stuff” often, esp for family meals because it’s the family that matters and why save it for stuffy guests?
February 5th, 2009 at 11:18 AM
Bethany Powell Says:
We have china for special occasions, from a great-grandmother. I’m sure we use it more than she did. “Special Occasion” generally translates a dinner for a big group, or Sundays all together. If there are many little ones, they get our regular plates, which means there’s plenty. (Matching isn’t huge for us when we have parties with lots of little guys….)
February 5th, 2009 at 4:15 PM
I have from my Gram a very funky elephant teapot, and from Nana a set of Irish (clover designs) teacups. They’re for everyday also some silver pieces that need some polish. I have the elephant teapot on my kitchen table adn I love eating breakfast looking at it.
February 5th, 2009 at 10:21 PM
Peter Sefton Says:
We use odd (not random) bits of blue and white, mostly willow pattern china for plates, platters etc. Some of it is worth a lot, but some of it you can get for a few dollars from the local flea markets, often 100 years old and maybe just a little crazed and chipped. It’s actually quite tough stuff and survives kids pretty well, although not the time I dropped a stack of six plates on the kitchen floor.
February 6th, 2009 at 1:34 AM
Janet Lafler Says:
Justine, if you’re going to use this china every day, you should probably have it tested for lead. Most vintage china has levels of lead that are higher than would be legal if they were made today, in some cases dangerously high, especially for children. It’s probably not dangerous if you use them only occasionally.
Sorry to be a worrywart.
February 6th, 2009 at 4:53 PM
Hi from Quebec City, Canada. My wife’s mother got a Myotts Countryside set (like the great set shown in the photos above) as a marriage gift in the early 1930′s. The only piece saved from the original set was an oval serving platter that my wife used only when she had nothing else left. However we have since discovered the beauty of this set, an almost art-deco look. We have decided to start making up a complete 10-12 piece set and have started to buy individual pieces. If anybody has any leads on where we could buy a complete or partial set, it would be greatly appreciated!!
To be noted that the Myott Countryside name was also used for different patterns. One is a close style but pretty much all brown. Another one had the green but no orange and cobalt. There was also a Countryside that that was quite different with blue and white in a completely different pattern.
The maker, Myott, Son & Co, operated at the Alexander Pottery, (formerly G T Mountford) in Stoke England 1898-1902, in Cobridge 1902-1946 and Hanley 1947-1991. It was renamed ‘Myott-Meakin’ from 1977 and was taken over by Churchill China in 1991.
I have a feeling that the Countryside pattern was more common in countries of the British Empire than in the US as very few items I have located seem to come from across the border.
If you have any leads on the pattern with the ivory base, and the green, orange, dark-blue and gold trim, please let us know! Maybe we could trade you for some maple syrup or something!
June 28th, 2009 at 3:19 PM
Michael Yalland Says:
I found your site after Googling to find more info on the dinner set you have (Alexander potteries,Staffordshire).
My mum was given the set as a wedding present in the 40′s (if WW2 hadn’t occurred,she probably would have been married earlier).
We still have the complete 100 piece set & yes it been in a cabinet unused for at least 20 years.
Its funny cause I know of 2 other people who have the set (albeit how intact Im unclear)
Thanks for your blog,it all helps to weave it together
January 18th, 2010 at 5:03 AM
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