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Strictly speaking, I’m not supposed to be buying anything at the moment.

You know the old William Morris quote: “have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”?   Well I think it should include…”and have adequate room for”.  Because I believe that all of my treasures are beautiful (yes ALL of them Phillip, I know you’re reading this!) and I know that I have a use (or at the very least a plan!) for everything else….but we are running out of space :-S

So currently I am living with a self imposed ban on vintage shopping!  Phill likes to pretend that he’s played a part in this, but he hasn’t really lol.  I know that his eye rolls and protests and the door of each and every vintage/craft/antiques fair are really just for show!  He even aided and abetted my most recent purchase!  He actually turned the car around so that I could take a look at a ‘flea market’ in Barton and handed me an extra £10 as i didn’t have much cash on me.  So his look of disdain when I quite predictably emerged clutching one of those ‘good strong bags’ (which are like gold dust at such events and reserved only for ‘very heavy’ or expensive delicate items)….was all an act 🙂

“What have you been buying now?”

“Nothing darling, you’re imagining this bag”

bell china shore and coggins 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s spot red and green

In actual fact I had (quite by accident) bought this beautiful and almost perfect Bell China tea set.  It’s missing one tea cup 🙁 but I can handle that.  The set now consists of a large cake plate, six individual cake plates, six saucers, five tea cups, a sugar bowl and a milk jug.  And all that cost me the princely sum of just £15.00.  The worth of a vintage item is determined only by how much a person is prepared to pay for it, but I think I can safely say that I got myself a bargain!

The set is a delicate milky white with orangey red spots that are slightly raised and touches or minty green.  The milk jug is almost tulip-like in design and the plates are shaped like flowers.  It’s gorgeous, absolutely lovely!

bell china shore and coggins spot 1930s 40s 50s 60s milk jug

plates bell china shore and coggins spot 1930s 40s 50s 60s

Bell China was made by Shore and Coggins, a British firm that dates back to 1887.  The marking on the bottom of my pieces tell me that the set was made between 1936 and 1966, but when?

bell stamp 1936 - 1966 shore and coggins

I’ve trawled through image after image of tea cup shapes, patterns and sizes and I think I’ve narrowed in down to the late 1940s – early 1950s, however someone is listing a similar set (with the same 1936-1966 maker’s mark) claiming that they are from the 1920s.  Clearly somebody hasn’t done very much research before they try and squeeze an extra few pounds from their customers :-/

bell china shore and coggins spot 1930s 40s 50s 60s

I wish I knew more about china.  I have so much of it and I’ve collected the pieces for their beauty and not necessarily their age or value; but it would be nice to know a little more.  I wonder who used to own it?  Was it considered a cheap set to them or did it sit on display as their proudest possession?  That’s what I love about antiques and vintage items, the story behind them.   I can drink my tea from these cups and eat cake from these plates and imagine all the things that this china has seen and heard!  The fine ladies that would use it and the gossip they would share and how did that missing tea cup get lost/broken?

bell china shore and coggins spot 1930s 40s 50s 60s

I’ll never know, but I will take great care of it now until one day it belongs to someone else and they can wonder about my story.

Love Rachel


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