White earthenware vase by Carter, Stabler & Adams c1956
Carter, Stabler & Adams are better known today as ‘Poole Pottery’, the name they adopted in 1963. Poole is a big name in 20th century ceramics; all the more remarkable for being hundreds of miles from the UK’s main pottery-making region in and around Stoke-on-Trent.
The company grew out of Carter & Co, makers of tiles, lustred wares and other ‘Art Pottery’ in the 1920s. At that time Charles Carter brought in Harold and Phoebe Stabler, both accomplished artists and designers, who in turn enlisted another talented couple, John and Truda Adams.
Harold and John became partners in the revamped company with Cyril Carter, Charles’ son. The women took less part in the running of the firm, but they were influential in design terms. Truda in particular created what is still seen as the definitive Poole look using contemporary Art Deco elements and a unique range of colours. This is her ‘CS’ pattern (company code letters), designed around 1940. By this time she had parted from John and married Cyril, so is more often referred to as Truda Carter.
Poole Pottery was in the news in 2006, having been on the brink of complete closure. Sadly, after a history of independence from Stoke-on-Trent some of the company’s production is to be moved there. Importantly, though, a design studio and showroom will remain in Poole. So it’s to be hoped that strong and innovative design, from which they benefited so much in the 20th century, will help them to flourish again in the 21st century.