Gone but not Forgotten ... The Pretty Pot House - Issue 32 (Jan - Feb 1985)
The Pretty Pot House ... Revisited - Issue 33 (Mar - Apr 1985)
From 'The Lenton Listener' Issue 32
January - February 1985
Gone but not Forgotten ... The Pretty Pot House
The Pretty Pot House
The Pretty Pot House - now there's a name to conjure with in this age when few new houses merit a second glance. And where was this oddly named house? Well, if it were still standing, the house would be halfway between the Dunkirk flyover and University Boulevard, on the southern side of Beeston Road. When it was built in 1900 there was, however, no University Boulevard. Beeston Road simply petered out and was replaced by a footpath that ran across the Highfields Estate to Beeston.
More or less at the corner of Lace Street and Beeston Road a Mr Daniel Amos and his wife had erected a solid, detached house with further buildings at the rear to store materials for Mr Amos's business. He was a jobbing builder, concentrating on repairs and extensions. The Beeston Road house appears to have been the only one Mr Amos completely built himself. Perfectly ordinary in its design and layout, what made it totally unique was the way Mr Amos and his wife set about decorating inside and out.
This drawing courtesy of
the County Record Office
is taken from original
plans submitted to the
City Council for Building
Drawn by a Nottingham
architect, Mr Fred Ball, it
gives no indication of Mr
Amos's intended scheme
Almost every available inch of space on the front of the building was covered with pieces of broken pottery and tile, much of it collected from the open air market in Nottingham where it had been discarded by pottery stall holders who traded there. Although pottery pieces of all colours were attached to the wall, the dominant colour was dark green. Within the dark green diamonds on the upper storey were Mr Amos's initials and the year in which the house was constructed. It was also said that portraits of King Teddy (Edward VII) and Queen Alexandra were among the many adornments. If anyone can remember these decorations or has other memories of the Pot House, then we would love to hear from them.
Inside the house, most of the rooms owed more to the potter's wheel than the hand of any painter or decorator. The walls of the staircase were encrusted with a pottery mosaic that spread into the living rooms and was especially fancy around the fireplaces and mantle pieces. Among the pieces attached were even portions of cups with their handles sticking outwards.
Despite all the time and effort that Mr Amos and his wife devoted to their creation, fate was to ensure that the Pretty Pot House didn't remain a local landmark for very long. University Boulevard was opened in the late 1920s and its construction meant that Beeston Road had to be widened. This brought the Amos's uncomfortably close to the roadside. As the land alongside Beeston Road was to be developed for housing, it was decided to demolish the Pretty Pot House and replace it with new houses set further back from the road. This took place in the early thirties. Mr Amos and his wife moved to another house in Dunkirk, but never again used their skills to such obvious effect.
Our thanks go to Mr Jack Hall of Dunkirk and Mr Herbert Heason, grandson of the Amos's, who provided us with recollections of the Pretty Pot House.
From 'The Lenton Listener' Issue 33
March - April 1985
The Pretty Pot House Revisited
In the last issue we included an article on the Pretty Pot House, which once stood on Beeston Road in Dunkirk. Daniel Amos and his wife had built the house themselves in 1900 and thereafter Mr Amos spent much of his spare time adorning the interior and exterior of the building with pieces of tile and pottery. Florence Gooding, who is the granddaughter of Mr and Mrs Amos, heard about the article and wrote to ask if she could have a copy of the magazine. We subsequently received the following letter, which tells us much more about the house and its occupants.
This photograph appeared in the Evening Post
for 15th September 1933 under the headline
'Dunkirk Jeu d'Espirit To Go'
Thank you for the Lenton Listener with its interesting article about my grandparents' home, 'Pretty Pot House'. You asked me to let you know of any mistakes. The article is substantially correct, except for the ending, for neither of my grandparents moved to another house in Dunkirk. My grandfather, Daniel Amos, died in 1918, the year I was born, and so I never knew him. My grandmother died in 1931 in Pretty Pot House. The authorities had wanted to pull down the house, but allowed my grandmother to end her days there. She had been previously married to Mr Bowling, and it was two of her children by her previous marriage who lived with her at Pretty Pot House. They were her son, Mr Percy Bowling, and her daughter, Florence, who married Mr William Heason, and they had two sons, Herbert Heason, whom you have contacted, and Kenneth Heason. Mrs Amos left the house in her will to her son, Percy Bowling, who with the compensation money granted when it was pulled down in 1933, bought 59 Ednaston Road, Dunkirk. Mr Bowling, Mr and Mrs Heason and their two sons were therefore the ones who had to move house when Pretty Pot House was pulled down.
I was named after my aunt, (or half-aunt) Florence, who was like a second mother to me, as I spent a lot of time in my childhood at Pretty Pot House. One or two recollections may be of interest to you. There was a big washhouse adjoining the back of the house and the doorway to it was partly surrounded by tiles but they appeared to me to be rather irregular, as if unfinished.
When I asked my mother about it, I found this was indeed so. My mother said that grandfather had intended to tile all the washhouse walls, but had died before he could complete the work. He had, however, tiled the outside of the bath which was in the wash-house, and had also beautifully decorated the entrance part to the greenhouse at the bottom of the garden, which housed a vine from which we got luscious grapes. On the wall of this greenhouse was a picture in tiles of the Chinese Bell in the Arboretum. The fireplace in the living room always fascinated me for the number of little heads, from Toby jugs etc., set into it. There was a woolly lamb from some ornament, which looked very realistic, and I always wanted to stroke it. But, of course, its woolly curls, being made of pottery, made it rather a scratchy thing to caress.
My grandfather originally came from Loddon in Norfolk, and his Norfolk background probably accounted in part, for his love of decoration, since, as you probably know, many of the Norfolk houses are decorated with flints. Grandfather did use local pebbles in his decoration. You can see them quite clearly in your photograph, set into the garden wall at the front of the house, but there were others in the wall of the house itself, used for decorative effect. The house was not, of course, 'open to the public', but my aunt Florence often showed visitors inside if they expressed an interest, and they had a number of American visitors who were fascinated by it.
My grandfather was a craftsman in other media, and I still have a workbox and some other articles he made out of wood, and a photograph of him sitting proudly on a boneshaker bicycle, which my mother told me he made himself.
Since the appearance of our original article on the Pretty Pot House, we have discovered that there has been at least one other piece written about Mr Amos and his house on Beeston Road. This appeared in the Evening Post for 15th September 1933 under the headline 'Dunkirk Jeu d'Espirit To Go' (see photograph above). The Post reporter covered much the same material as we did, but also included the odd personal detail of which we were unaware. Unfortunately we don't have enough space to carry this extra information, but anyone wanting to get hold of it, can do so at the Local Studies Library in Angel Row, where a copy of the article is kept in one of the cuttings boxes at Ref. No. L.92.1.!