15/09/2022Battle of Britain Commemorative Plaque
A recent visit by local residents, Michael Landon and his daughter Sue Shaw, sparked a research project for Middleport Pottery. A Level History student, Georgia, along with long-time volunteer and researcher Phil Knott.
The striking Battle of Britain commemorative plaque shown was brought to Middleport Pottery by local resident, Michael Landon, and his sister, Susan Shaw.
Michael first saw the plaque in the house of his father-in-law Harry Sutton, hanging on the chimney breast by a piece of string. Harry in turn left the plate to Michael and his wife.
There are other commemorative ceramics to the Battle of Britain, but much about the plate intrigued Michael. Since he brought it into us a month or so ago Phil Knott a volunteer here at Middleport, and Rebecca Loughhead, The Heritage and Learning Manager have searched for any clues and identified the moulds from the archive held by Re-Form Heritage.
As a young volunteer, undertaking community volunteering during my Sixth Form studies, I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview Michael and Sue, and to learn how human interest stories can be researched though archive material and the piecing together of remembered conversations.
Harry Sutton lived just around the corner from Middleport Pottery, and we have been able to find records in the archives of Harry having worked at Burgess and Leigh as a placer in 1941 when he was 29 years old.
We believe the plaque was made in 1942. The presence of the yellow roundel on the wing of the Spitfires is intriguing because this bright identification was removed by the RAF in 1939 to decrease visibility during the Battle of Britain.
We think that six plaques were made at this time, however, we are not certain whether all six were decorated in the same way.
We are not sure how Harry Sutton came by one of these six plaques; however, both Winston Churchill and Stoke on Trent council are rumoured to have received one. As to the other four, their location is unknown to us.
The Re-Form Heritage collection contains 3 moulds of this design, one dating back to 1941 and the other 2 produced in 2000.
Research continues, and any verifications or additions will be added to our records.
Researchers: Georgia Bialkowski, Phil Knott, Rebecca Loughhead