David Leach's pottery notes

Scope and Content

Files of David Leach's Dartington 'Pottery Notes', 1933-1934, recording experiments at Dartington in connection with clays, glazes, slips and pigments and notes, 1934-1937, on 'Pottery methods' from North Staffordshire Technical College.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in Tokyo, David Leach (1911-2005) the elder son of Bernard Leach, was educated at Dauntsey's School in West Lavington, Wiltshire. He began an apprenticeship with his father at the Leach Pottery in 1930 and learned much from Harry Davis who was working there. In 1934, when his father visiting China and Japan, David enrolled on a three-year pottery managers' course at North Staffordshire Technical College, Stoke-on-Trent. Bernard considered it a deceitful decision taken in his absence. He knew David had received encouragement from Leonard Elmhirst, with whom he had discussed plans to build a pottery on the Dartington Hall estate. The possibility that the two initiatives might be related added to the sense of betrayal. Yet the industrial knowledge gained brought new efficiency to the workshop at St Ives. When David returned to St Ives to be given responsibility for the workshop management, he initiated dramatic changes. The students continued to come for short study periods, but now local school-leavers were offered apprenticeships. They became the team capable of producing, to a consistent standard, the new high-fired domestic stoneware that Bernard had prototyped. He also changed over from a wood-burning to an oil-burning kiln.


  • DAL/1 Dartington pottery notes October 1933 - July 1934
  • DAL/2 Notes on 'Pottery methods' from North Staffordshire Technical College [1934-1937]

Access Information

Archive material may be viewed by appointment only.


This entry was compiled by Greta Bertram, Crafts Study Centre Curator, June 2020.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogue on Crafts Study Centre database. A pdf copy is available on request.

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