Welcome to Poole in Dorset - the tour begins right outside the site of the old Poole Potteries (now demolished), at the bottom right of the map. You can either roam around the map or read the illustrated tour details below (click on the photos to enlarge). On the map, anywhere the cursor becomes a hand, just click and you will see a photograph of the site - try it out on Poole Potteries! Use your browser’s back button to return to the map and explore more of Poole’s ceramic sites and sights.
Note: Since this description was written, Poole Pottery has been demolished, but you might like to see what you are missing by reading on! Begin at Poole Pottery itself, sited on The Quay, beside the huge and dramatic expanse of the harbour. The entrance to the Pottery - which originated as Carter & Co in 1873 - displays one of the delightful ’Welcome to Poole’ tubelined panels, showing yachts in Poole harbour, which once graced local approach roads and the promenade; at least one is extant in its original position at nearby Sandbanks. The panel, one of a series of town panels made by Carter’s in the 1950s, was designed by Arthur Nickols. On the Pottery’s Quay frontage is a ceramic panel showing highlights of Poole’s history. It was made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of D-Day and unveiled on the 3rd June 1994 by the Mayor of Poole. About five feet square, it was designed by Irene Reeve and made at Poole Pottery by Alan White. The colourful concoction shows Neptune, stylised waves, parachutists, and flags with assorted quotations, largely in pale blues and greens on a terracotta background. As to the Pottery building itself, ground and first floor level windows on the Quay front are set in bottle-green faience slabs, about 8 in square. There is a surprise at the rear entrance, where a long tile panel commands the yard; classical figures in buff, outlined in brown, strike incongruous poses above visitors leaving the Pottery.
Head west for Poole Bridge to explore the quayside, passing the buff, brown and black glazed brick facade of the Jolly Sailor, which also has a good door canopy, in dark brown - almost lustrous - faience. Perhaps there may be two further ceramic panels in hiding on the facade, covered by later signage. Hurry along to the amazing Poole Arms whose facade, a massive emerald green faience gable end, shimmers in reflected light from the water opposite. Dark green dressings, a classical doorcase, a central panel with the pub’s name in gold lettering, and the town’s coat of arms on yellow ground in a circular panel at the top of the gable make this a most memorable pub front. It is almost certainly the work of Carter’s, who showed the pub’s mosaic doorway panel in a catalogue dating from about 1908. At the end of the Quay stands Poole Bridge, with large, high relief faience panels proudly showing the town’s coat of arms on the outside of each of its four piers; all are signed ’Carter, Stabler & Adams Ltd 1926’.
To explore the town itself, return to Poole Pottery and head inland along Old Orchard, passing the Swan Inn (now Murphy’s). Still visible is the glazed brick facade in lime and emerald green, with rich brown faience dressings and a startled green faience dolphin keystone above the door, but the fascia is covered. Beneath are two elegant tubelined swans, bearing decorative swags in their beaks, and a panel reading ’Marston’s Poole Ales’. The dolphin refers to Marston’s Dolphin Brewery, which stood nearby on Market Street.
On the corner of Old Orchard and High Streetis Peri Ice Cream shop, once Yeatman’s the florists, as suggested by two pretty tubelined Carter’s panels of flowers in natural colours on black ground. The design of these six-inch tiles was by Reginald Till, and they were fixed on the Old Orchard facade in December 1949. Turn right into the pedestrianised area, soon reaching a well-preserved Dewhurst’s at 135 High Street, with at least eleven Carter’s pictorial four-tile panels from the pretty Farmyard series designed by E. E. Stickland around 1922; they were used in many Dewhurst shops until the 1960s. Just off the High Street in Lagland Street the old Norton Free Library has red terracotta decoration and a discreet tile plaque in buff and brown worded ’These buildings were erected and presented to the Borough of Poole as a Free Library by John J. Norton Esq. Novr 19th 1887’.
On the northern edge of the town centre is a typically sprawling Arndale Centre, designed in 1963-9 by architects W. Leslie Jones & Partners, and now known as the Dolphin Shopping Centre. At first floor level inside the Centre is the Library, where readers are greeted by a jolly full-height Carter’s tubelined panel in black and white on pale blue depicting the architectural wonders of Poole. At the far end of the same floor is a brightly coloured mosaic of similar size showing a breezy yachting scene; this is unsigned. To return to the start of the trail, follow the pedestrianised route through the town centre, turning left at the Old Orchard junction.