Sunday, December 11, 2016

Transferware and Murder! Guest post by Judie Siddall

The following post by my sister, Judie Siddall, and originally appeared on Dishy News: A Transferware Blog. Judie has operated Merlin Antiques (, specializing in 19th century British transfer printed pottery, since 1990. She is a founding member of the Transferware Collectors Club, and has served as its president and vice president. She is  presently the membership secretary and editor of the animals category and co-editor of children's patterns of the TCC pattern and source print database. 


The Commandments/Thou shalt do no murder" 19th century child's plate
I rarely see transferware patterns that feature murder. I shall qualify this statement by saying I did write a post about the sixth commandment: "Thou shalt do no murder." Arguably, the murder of Abel by his brother Cain is the first and most famous murder. It appears on a plate intended for a child, one of a series illustrating the Ten Commandments. However, the pattern of a unattractive building with a sign over the door, seen below, was an enigma. Luckily, the words on the sign were a key to searching the Internet. I learned that the pattern showed the Bills o'Jacks pub or inn, where a double murder was committed.

"Bills O Jacks April 2nd 1832" 3/12 inch souvenir child's mug
Old photo of Bills o' Jacks Inn (later called the Moor Cock Inn). The Inn was demolished in 1937.
On April 2, 1832, the landlord of the Bills o' Jacks Inn, Thomas Bradbury, and his son, William, were violently murdered. The popularity of the murder, or shall I say infamy of the murder, was because it was so grisly, and the crime was never solved. After nearly two hundred years, the mystery of the murders is still exciting interest. I know this because I have seen many sites on the Internet dedicated to the Bills o'Jacks murders. The inn no longer exists, it was demolished in 1937, but the grave of the victims can still be seen in the churchyard of St. Chad's Church in Saddleworth in Yorkshire, England.

If this mug was really intended for a child, I could add it to my list of inappropriate patterns for children. (For other examples of inappropriate patterns, you might like to see my blog post titled "Inappropriate Or Frightening Patterns For Children.") If you are interested in more history of the murder, take a look at the blog post, "Bills o'Jacks" from the blog titled "Wessyman."

I wrote this post because after collecting and studying transferware for more than 30 years, I am still surprised by some of the patterns. Please let me know about patterns that have surprised you.

1 comment:

Priscilla said...

Absolutely fascinating!