Loose Ends: Portobello Potteries


Loose Ends continues about half a mile from the last destination, in a housing estate in Portobello, Edinburgh’s seaside village. Porty was a Victorian seaside resort and it retains a certain elan today. It is also known for its pottery production and the power station that once stood by King’s Road. Two pottery kilns remain, though they are no longer used for that purpose, still standing and the last two bottle kilns in Scotland, used until 1972. The kilns, one from 1906 and the other 1909, were used for firing ceramics, piled high in the kiln and heated until properly glazed. They stand high on the landscape in red or golden brick, some on the 1909 kiln originating from a brickworks in Armadale, judging by the stamp on the top of a few of them. Ceramic production in Porty began in the 1770s, lasting over two centuries and involving all sorts of ceramic ware, the most recent more decorative. The 1909 kiln had been restored and it showed with the black iron rings around its base and middle to keep the thing up. The brickwork was more modern with the doorway bearing a mural showing what the inside would have looked like in use. I wandered around a couple of times, read the board and moved on, appreciating the reminder of this place’s history in a modern housing scheme.


To the connections, then, and I was thinking about Summerlee, an industrial museum in Coatbridge I am overdue a trip back to, or possibly a wander around the site at Prestongrange, which also had kilns. Maybe a trip to one of the Museums of Edinburgh on the High Street, which have a decent pottery collection. We’ll see what transpires.

7 thoughts on “Loose Ends: Portobello Potteries

  1. Alli Templeton

    How incongruous those kilns from the first decade of the 1900s look, sitting amid a modern housing complex! Still, at least they’ve actually preserved them and made them an historical feature within the maze of modernity. I look forward to finding out what transpires and further connections with pottery and kilns. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Digest: March 2019 – Walking Talking

  3. Pingback: Loose Ends Redux: Portobello Community Garden-Leakey’s Bookshop – Walking Talking

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