Crown Lynn

A DigitalNZ Story by nixit

Many of us grew up with Crown Lynn crockery in our homes, work and community spaces. These days it's a popular collectible.

Crown Lynn, Te Toi Uku, New Lynn, New Zealand Railways, Crown Lynn swan, Portage Ceramics, Tom Clark

West Auckland history

 The history of Crown Lynn is indelibly marked on West Auckland. 

In the mid 1850s pipes and bricks were being made in Hobsonville, Northwest Auckland. British immigrant Rice Owen Clark needed pipes to drain his land and set up a business making the goods that other landowners would need. Several others set up similar businesses and eventually they joined together to become  Amalgamated Brick and Pipe Company.

In 1924 the business moved to New Lynn. By the 1930s the company was under the management of Clark's great grandson Tom Clark and  was producing all sorts of electrical and rubber items. Later in the decade the company started to look at the viability of producing crockery for the New Zealand market. World War II brought import regulations to New Zealand which meant that there was a market just waiting to be serviced. By the late forties the range of items had diversified and Crown Lynn Potteries was born from the specials department of Amalgamated Brick and Pipe.

Black and white image of clay quarry including tracks and carts

Early settlers of West Auckland mined clay for their pipe and brickworks.

Photograph - Clay quarry

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Amalgamated Brick & Pipe Company's Works and The Crown Lynn Pottery with Clay Workings at Rear

Photograph - "Amalgamated Brick & Pipe Company's Works and The Crown Lynn Pottery with Clay Workings at Rear. New Lynn Auckland New Zealand"

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Parker & Gardner Bros downdraught kiln

Built in 1926, the kiln has been restored to sit on the site of Te Toi Uku: The Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum, New Lynn.

Gardner's downdraught kiln, New Lynn.

Auckland Libraries

Photograph - AB&P truck

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Photograph - Car parked by a clay quarry in countryside

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Tom Clark

Great grandson of Rice Owen Clark, Tom Clark formed Crown Lynn in 1948.

Photograph - Portrait of Tom Clark

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Photograph - Tom Clark & Walter Nash

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Crown Lynn Potteries 1968

Crown Lynn Potteries was born in 1948 as the homeware division of the Amalgamated Brick and Tile Company (AMBRICO)

Crown Lynn Potteries, New Lynn, Auckland

Alexander Turnbull Library

Furnaces 1970

Black and white image of furnaces at the kiln at Crown Lynn

Photograph - Mino Kiln - View Over Furnaces "Crown Lynn 8/6/70"

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Famous in West Auckland (and far beyond)

Many older West Aucklanders have stories about working at Crown Lynn Potteries. The company produced millions of pieces of tablewear and even exported to Australia and Canada. 

Crown Lynn tour

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Crown Lynn workers

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Advertising their wares

The famous NZR cup

Crown Lynn won large government supply contracts. New Zealand Railways cups are the most well known but they also made crockery for the military forces, hospitals and other government agencies.

At one point coffee mugs and plates were even made for the American armed forces stationed around the Pacific.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_Lynn

New Zealand Railways cup

Uploaded by DigitalNZ user nixit

Cup - New Zealand Railways

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Crown Lynn mug

Uploaded by DigitalNZ user nixit

Crown Lynn swans

For many people,  Crown Lynn equals swans. These pieces were produced in large volume between 1948-70.

https://natlib.govt.nz/blog/posts/swanning-around-crown-lynn-archives

Swan

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Swan

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

shards - swans

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Crown Lynn swans shape 154

Uploaded by DigitalNZ user nixit

Patterns, Shapes and forms

There are so many patterns and many of us have stories about having them on our childhood dinnertables. 

Today, collectors will sometimes choose a pattern, a style or a form. Some people collect particular backstamps and some just collect!

Landscape coffee cup

This is the set that my family had around 1980.

Cup - Landscape pattern

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Vintage 982 at Te Toi Uku

Coffee cup, tulip cup and coupe on the wall at Te Toi Uku.

Three Vintage 982 items

Uploaded by DigitalNZ user nixit

Backstamp - Vintage

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Apollo

White rimmed lunch plate with a fluted moulded detail around the rim. Apollo was named after the spaceship used in the f

Luncheon plate - Apollo pattern

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Teal colour glaze jumbo cup and saucer

Decaf oat flat white with two Griffins gingernuts. 1970 meets 2021.

Teal colour glaze jumbo tea cup and saucer

Uploaded by DigitalNZ user nixit

Waretana 1025 wall platter

Even with a chip, this piece is highly popular with collectors

Plaque, Wall

Puke Ariki

Crown Lynn patterns

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Jug - McAlpine refrigerator

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

House of Representatives duo

Uploaded by DigitalNZ user nixit

Narvik

Plate

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Cake plate - floral

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Kelston Potteries Violette cup and saucer

Uploaded by DigitalNZ user nixit

Bread and butter plate - Blue Lagoon

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Cream jug - Pine pattern

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Egg cup - colour glaze

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Saucer - Willow pattern

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Cup - Autumn Splendour pattern

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Curious and unusual

Crown Lynn (and other local potteries) made a wide variety of ceramic items.

Egg cup - frog

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Salt pig

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Three pieces of Crown Lynn kitchenware

Uploaded by DigitalNZ user nixit

Ashtray - tiki shape

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Osaka 70 Expo platter

"Legends of Maui" platter designed by David Jenkins

Platter

Puke Ariki

Pair of power pole insulators

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Electrical insulator

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Chamber pot - miniature

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Sales sample miniature chamberpot

Uploaded by DigitalNZ user nixit

Bathroom plug

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Brochure - Crown Lynn porcelain hardware

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Door handle - Optima pattern

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Titoki bottle - bisque

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum

Dish - stamp

Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum