Jesse Carter established his brick and tile business in Poole in 1873. It quickly expanded from floor tiles to wall tiles and had several potteries flourishing in the area. As an example of his success – the millions of tiles that line the tunnels of the London Underground Railway were made and supplied by Carter’s.
Jesse Carter (1830–1927) Founder Carter & Co.
While his was not the only pottery in Victorian Poole it was without doubt the most prosperous. Interestingly this same industry had a previous heyday in Roman times, 1800 years earlier and on many of the same sites. (The clay from Poole Harbour being ideal for this kind of work). Over the years several important artefacts were turned up by the employees at Carter’s Hamworthy site, which was once a Roman supply station, and even older Iron Age (Celtic) settlement.
‘Carter’s Tiles’ survives today under the name ‘Poole Pottery’. The original site on Poole Quay remains as a retail outlet but the pottery is now made at Cabot Lane.
As you enter Poole from Studland via the Sandbanks Ferry you are greeted by this cheerful and weathered old sign, made out of Carter’s tiles.
A close inspection of the bottom left tile clearly shows the name of the family firm.