Cock o’th North

There was a craze for collecting crested china in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In Market Lavington, Alf Burgess stocked many of these ornaments in his photographer’s shop on the High Street. (SeeAlf Burgess – Photographer for more information and a photograph of his business premises.) At the museum we have quite a little collection of these trinkets and have just acquired one more.

It is a china cockerel, about 10 cm tall and it will be displayed alongside a chair, a tank, a frog and many others. They all have a badge emblazoned upon them in the shape of a shield with St Mary’s Church on it.

Apparently, Alexander, the fourth Duke of Gordon was known as Cock o’ the North and this name is shared by a bagpipe tune, a whisky liqueur, a railway locomotive, a brambling bird and a greyhound race, so our ornament is in good company.

Not only does its badge link it to our village, but it also bears the name of the shop which commissioned it.

Alf Burgess set up business in Market Lavington in 1886. His earlier photographs just have his name on them. After his death in 1918, the business was continued by two of his sons trading as Burgess Bros. As this ornament has A Burgess & Son printed on its base, we assume it to have been on sale in the early 20th century.

Many of our Burgess crested ornaments were Arcadian ware, but this one is stamped with Clifton as the maker.

For more information on the Burgess photographers and some more of our crested ornaments, type Burgess in the search box on our blog’s home page.

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