Broadside ballad sheet from the Enoch Wood scrapbook - The Orders in Council revoked and Biscuit and Gloss

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Description:Broadsheet containing two songs that were sung at the Anniversary Meeting of Potters and Company in Hanley, July 2nd 1812.

Cause for celebration

The Orders in Council revoked and Biscuit and Gloss both celebrate a recent government decision.

Years of war between Britain and France had cut trade ties with continental Europe.

To make matters worse, American ships had been caught up in the conflict - both sides had barred the United States from trading with each other.

US President Thomas Jefferson replied by banning trade with Britain.

No trade meant no business, and no business meant no jobs. Britain was close to ruin.

At home, the Potteries endured the worst of it. Potbanks struggled and many workers were left unemployed.

What a day of rejoicing is this

On June 16th 1812 Britain decided to abandon its 'Orders in Council' - a set of rules that had helped cause the row with the US.

Both songs celebrate the withdrawal of the Orders in Council imposed by the government.

Set to the tune THE YORKSHIREMAN and THE OLD IRISH FOX HUNT respectively, they look to the future and the prospect of jobs for the potters.

Supported by Delegates clever

The Orders in Council revoked praises the political skill of MP Henry Brougham who successfully petitioned parliament and made the case for lifting the trade restrictions.

The song also praises the efforts of local industrialist Josiah Wedgwood II. It looks to the future and a harmonious relationship between workers and manufacturers.

Biscuit and Gloss is a call to the Handlers, Painters, Squeezers, Throwers, Printers and Fire-men of the pottery industry to celebrate the good news.

Broadside ballads

Broadsides or broadsheets were a popular way of distributing and publishing songs.

It was a practice that had been growing in popularity since the birth of the printing press in the 1500s and carried on until the early 1900s.

These ballads covered many different subjects including romance, nationalism, famous individuals, current affairs and, in this case, politics.

Ballad singing was not only used as a form of entertainment. In this period there was a high level of illiteracy amongst the working classes. Ballad singing became a good way to spread news, ideas or propaganda.

Broadsides were often sold by street hawkers who would also sing the songs.

About this document

This document was printed by Allbut and Gibbs. It was collected by Burslem pottery manufacturer Enoch Wood and is now among the collections of Stoke-on-Trent Museums.


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