Jason and the Argos Gnomes (Part Six): The Biltons Stonehaven Pottery Tableware Collection

Any colour so long as it’s brown and cream

After a heavy session with the Sportel 600, several rounds of squash and football took its toll. Being as Mum and Dad wanted to use the television for tonight’s instalment of The Benny Hill Show, we had to pack away for tea. Tonight was our favourite: Birdseye Beef Burgers, home made chips and a healthy dose of Bachelors’ processed peas. To follow was a bowl of raspberry ripple topped with Bird’s Ice Magic.

To be honest, I’m not too impressed with my mother’s new plates. I wanted the lurid orange set I saw in Arcadia on Saturday.

The Biltons Stonehaven Pottery collection

If you’re a child of the 1980s, chances are your relatives may have had any of the Biltons Stonehaven range of tableware. Each plate, saucer, teacup and bowl was characterised by the brown swirls. With a wrought iron style look, marked with flowers at the centre and the inner part of the pattern.

The rustic yet demure style won over many 1970s households. Each crockery item from the Stonehaven range was robust owing to its ironstone work. In other words, just the thing for taking egg nests out of the oven.

The Stonehaven pattern was introduced in 1973 – the same year when Argos began trading. Designed by Biltons’ first dedicated designer Craig Sumner, the Stonehaven pattern went on to sell 27 million pieces by 1979. In 1976, there was a selection of saucepans, bread bins, trays, storage jars and household linens using the ubiquitous design. All of which lovingly made in Staffordshire.

Sadly, Biltons incurred heavy losses in the early 1980s, though a return to profitably would be followed by a sale to Coloroll in 1986. Today, there’s every chance their most popular works will be seen in flea markets and vintage shops up and down the country. Needless to say, there are few crockery items today that have the solidity of Biltons’ efforts.

  • Argos Catalogue edition: Autumn/Winter 1977;
  • Page and item numbers: page 173, item 14;
  • 1977 Prices: £11.45 (£16.52, RRP);
  • 2014 Prices: £72.00 (£103.89, RRP).

S.V., 06 December 2014.

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