Unveiling the newly restored Pulham Manufactory in Broxbourne

On Friday 3 February staff from the museum attended a special launch event with partners Broxbourne Borough Council, B3Living and supporters The Heritage Lottery Fund, which funded the project, to proudly present the results of the special Pulham project.

This project has included the conservation of the former James Pulham & Son factory site in Broxbourne which is open for the public to visit for free. The newly refurbished Grade II listed brick kiln and horse-drawn puddling wheel were restored by conservation experts, Szerelmey Conservation, with all iron work completed by the Heritage Blacksmiths.

The land adjacent to the site has now been landscaped as a feature garden, with a seating area and permanent interpretation boards that tell the James Pulham & Son story. Valerie Christman, a descendant of the Pulham family, was involved in creating the new landscaped area and attended the launch.

The event was attended by staff involved in restoring the special part of the Borough’s history, local residents, and historians from across the Borough.

There were also speeches from Leader of Broxbourne Borough Council, Councillor Mark Mills-Bishop, B3Living Chair, Sandra Royer, and Heritage Lottery East of England Committee Member, Phil Rothwell.

The Victorian and Edwardian firm is perhaps most well-known for its beautiful artificial rock landscapes that can most notably be found in Buckingham Palace, its invention of an artificial rock, ‘Pulhamite’ and wide range of terracotta ornaments created in its Broxbourne factory.

Councillor Mark Mills-Bishop, Leader of Broxbourne Borough Council, said: “I applaud all those involved in this project and all those who care to care about our heritage and our environment; especially in this, the Borough’s Year of the Environment. Thank you to the many partners involved in making this important part of our history what it is today.”

B3Living acquired the factory site in 2006 during the transfer of council housing stock from Broxbourne Borough Council. It was restored thanks to a £55,200 contribution by the East of England Heritage Lottery Fund.

Sandra Royer, B3Living’s Chair of the Board said: “It’s unusual for a housing association to take on such a restoration project but we have a duty to our community and, especially to the residents of Courtfield Close who have lived adjacent to this site for many years.”

The finished works coincide with a special exhibition at Lowewood Museum, ‘Romance in Stone – The Pulham Legacy of garden design’, which was also supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The exhibition features history about the Broxbourne manufactory and examples of the stoneware and gardens that the family firm created.

The exhibition will run until 29 April 2017 and entry is free. The restored manufactory can be found off Stafford Drive near Broxbourne station. Pedestrian access is also available from Station road just the other side of the river from the station car park.

For more information, visit www.broxbourne.gov.uk/lowewoodmuseum

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Stephen Warner Diaries, Volume IV, January, February, March 2017

Saturday 6 January

“A marvel? Yesterday three of us were told we were going to England tomorrow. And so behold me writing this in Etaples station waiting for a train which as usual is some hours late. It seems a kind of dream and difficult to realise that I here have got so far towards a commission.”

Monday 8 January

“Ever since leaving Etaples and in fact just before, I have had a heavy head cold and cough and all this constant standing about in wet and draughty spots for hours at a time is not going to improve it.”

Saturday 10 February

“One of the men in the barrack room was saying that he once saw an 8 inch shell pitch within a yard of a man and fail to burst.”

“Today I have been on fatigue partly to help the res make a road – so behold me wielding pick and shovel like a blooming navy.”

Thursday 1 March

“Since Monday I have been on the seaside doing nothing except go for short route marches morning and afternoon. Blackpool is a much bigger place than I expect – one mass of lodging houses and vulgar places of amusement – one redeeming feature is that the confectionist’ shops, of which there are dozens, are really excellent with a large and varied display of delicious cakes.”