Forgotten Moments in Nineteenth Century English History

Number 5: Cave, Grieve, and the Blue and White China Fragments

In 1812 it was proposed that a new canal be built to join the River Medway at Branbridges with the Royal Military Canal at Appledore. Quick to spot a commercial opportunity, two Brenchley potters called George Cave and James Grieve hurriedly designed and produced an alarming number of commemorative blue and white plates and other china items. They settled back to wait for the canal to materialise.

As history tells us, the new canal was never constructed and Messrs Cave and Grieve, whose workshop was somewhere close to the forge, although it is not known exactly where, were now left with impressive quantities of blue and white china which they could not sell. As the design was so specific it could not be passed off as anything else, and the china was eventually reluctantly donated to the Volunteer Infantry to use for target practice at the rifle range which was at that time opposite the Halfway House Inn.

The mass of broken china which this occupation produced was later sold locally for hardcore and for adding to soil to assist with drainage in domestic gardens.

(Substance of story taken from local legend and hearsay)

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