Amman Valley Artifacts and Memorabilia

Souvenir Crested Ware

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Improved transport systems meant that working class people were able to visit other towns and cities, seaside destinations being very popular. During the period between the late 19th century and early 20th century, miniature crested ware became so popular that perhaps nine out of ten UK households had it in their homes.

British pottery manufacturers created all kinds of objects with coats of arms of practically any town but European companies also got in on the act, undercutting their British rivals.

The examples above show various designs from different manufacturers. The piece on the far left shows a crest labeled "Cwmamman" with the three feathers mounted on a shield, flanked by two red dragons. The shield itself shows four lions and is regarded as being the coat of arms of Llewelyn the Great though the colours on the souvenir piece are inverted. The motto on the crest's banner states "Cymry Am Byth". This translates as "Wales Forever". It should be mentioned however that Llewellyn the Great had no connection with Cwmamman.

The makers mark underneath states "RITA" CHINA SERIES L & L W.S. MARE.

The next four pieces were made in Czechoslovakia by Schmidt & Co using the mark of "Gemma" between 1918 and 1945. The crest displayed depicts a collier on the left side with a red dragon on the right. The shield is made up of a part image of colliery winding gear, diagonally opposed by the three feathers emblem. It is crossed by a diagonal band depicting three red lions and headed by two crossed leeks. The underlying banner carries the name "Garnant".

It is interesting to note that the pair of Gemma Candlesticks shown in the main image found their way to Melbourne, Australia.

The now defunct Amman Valley History Society which was based at Glanamman, adopted a logo based on a piece of broken china found in the village. It is very likely that the china found was a Gemma Souvenir piece as the logos show striking similarities. There was a shop known as "Mrs Evans Siop y Lamb" at Osborne House, situated near the eastern end of Garnant opposite the Lamb and Flag public house. Siop y Lamb was known to have been a retailer of crested souvenir ware.

There was also another reputed outlet for crested ware at Garnant. This was known as Prospect Shop which was a grocery business run by Jeremiah Thomas and his wife Hannah. Prospect shop was sited next door to the Workmen's Hall at a location known as Prospect Place.

On the right of the top image is a miniature puzzle jug. There is no manufacturer mark, but the following print is found under the base:

"Model of
an Old English
Puzzle Jug at the
South Kensington
Museum London
Made in England"

The rear of the object holds the following challenge:

"Try how to drink
and not to spill
And prove the utmost
of thy skill"

The shield bears the image of a three towered castle with a single feather on either side. A bird, known as a Cornish Chough (or Crow of Cornwall) rests on each outside tower and the base of the shield shows an image of a lion. The banner underneath the shield bears the text in Welsh stating "RHYDD-DID HEDD A LLWYDDIANT". This translates as "Freedom Peace and Success". Both shield and motto became part of the civic coat of arms of Carmarthen Borough Council in 1936. The banner is underlined with the word "Garnant".

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