Riaz Ahmed

I worked at a few potbanks -- Enoch Wedgwood, Britannia Pottery, Myott Meakin, and I went to the Wedgwood Group in Buckland New Road for a while. I was a caster, making creamers, teapots, sugar bowls and coffee pots. You had to be strong to do the work, as some of the moulds were huge.

Casting involves pouring earthenware slip (liquid clay) into plaster moulds. You fill the mould, and gradually water from the slip is absorbed by the plaster. When you sense the thickness of the setting clay is right (generally about fifteen or twenty minutes) you pour out the rest. The timing is important. After you have left it to dry to the right consistency you cut the clay evenly around the top with a sharp knife. I never did sponging off the ware (to remove the marks of the mould) – that was a job for the women. The roles were divided – casting was heavy work, a job done by men.

I didn’t specially enjoy work. It was just something I did. I worked a seven days a week, from six in the morning to eight at night. It was always the Black Minority Ethnic Community who did the overtime.