Pottery business which sold around the world to close after 50 years
PUBLISHED: 12:41 16 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:07 16 January 2020
Harleston and Waveney Art Trail
A Norfolk pottery which has produced items that have sold around the world is to close after five decades.
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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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