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Pottery business which sold around the world to close after 50 years

PUBLISHED: 12:41 16 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:07 16 January 2020

Anne Frewin and her son Paul have continued to run Millhouse Pottery in Harleston since the death of Alan Frewin in 2016, but it is now to close. Picture: Harleston and Waveney Art Trail

Anne Frewin and her son Paul have continued to run Millhouse Pottery in Harleston since the death of Alan Frewin in 2016, but it is now to close. Picture: Harleston and Waveney Art Trail

Harleston and Waveney Art Trail

A Norfolk pottery which has produced items that have sold around the world is to close after five decades.

Self-employed potter and painter Alan Frewin set up Millhouse Pottery in Harleston in 1970. Picture: Harleston and Waveney Art TrailSelf-employed potter and painter Alan Frewin set up Millhouse Pottery in Harleston in 1970. Picture: Harleston and Waveney Art Trail

Alan Frewin produced tens of thousands of fine slip-decorated pots, bowls, tiles and plates of all shapes and sizes at Millhouse Pottery in Harleston, winning loyal customers and avid collectors, until his death in 2016.

Since then his son Paul Frewin, 59, who lives in Norwich, has been firing all his father's remaining pots and finishing the remaining prepared clay, but the pottery and shop is now set to close.

Millhouse Pottery workshop where Paul Frewin has fired his father's remaining works. Picture: Harleston and Waveney Art TrailMillhouse Pottery workshop where Paul Frewin has fired his father's remaining works. Picture: Harleston and Waveney Art Trail

He said: "It has been emotional to complete my father's work, but the final firing will be next month."

Initially wanting to be a painter, Alan Frewin discovered his skill with clay working from a garden shed in Surrey from 1959, going on to study at the famous Briglin Pottery in London in the mid-1960s, before moving to Harleston with his wife Anne to start Millhouse Pottery in 1970.

A series of DVDs produced by Alan Frewin and his son Paul in the 1990s. Picture: Millhouse PotteryA series of DVDs produced by Alan Frewin and his son Paul in the 1990s. Picture: Millhouse Pottery

His son said: "It was a huge part of my father's life. He literally lived in the workshop and loved his work.

"He was one of the few potters who was very successful but was not well known, mainly because he never exhibited. He never went to galleries, most of his customers were shops who would come straight to him. He did very well and was very talented.

Alan and Anne Frewin set up MIllhouse Pottery on Station Road in Harleston in 1970. Picture: Harleston and Waveney Art TrailAlan and Anne Frewin set up MIllhouse Pottery on Station Road in Harleston in 1970. Picture: Harleston and Waveney Art Trail

"He was a one-man factory really. He did employ a few people back in the 1970s, but he said it slowed him down. He would throw 200 mugs at a time and he could fill a whole 70ft long bench with bowls in a day."

Mr Frewin is now recording every pot and painting before the 22-room building and two-story workshop on the corner of Station Road is sold. He said: "My mother has continued running the pottery shop, but she is now 85 and is going to downsize as it is getting a bit much for her."

Millhouse Pottery produced by Alan Frewin has fans and collectors all over the world. Picture: Harleston and Waveney Art TrailMillhouse Pottery produced by Alan Frewin has fans and collectors all over the world. Picture: Harleston and Waveney Art Trail

News of the closure of the pottery has brought goodwill messages from collectors around the world.

"To help my mother I have been selling some pots online and I have been getting messages from people saying 'I bought pieces from your father 20, 30, 40 years ago, and I am still collecting'," he said.

"His work turns up all over the place. During the first Iraq war there was a TV interview with someone in Baghdad and on the wall were a load of my father's pots."

- The Millhouse Pottery shop can currently still be visited. For times and details call 01379 852556.

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