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Unexpected sadness

(37 Posts)
Jane10 Mon 21-Sep-15 12:43:09

I know its silly and is obviously a first world problem but- On a recent visit to a large department store I went to the china dept and was horrified. It was a tiny space, the only china available seemed to be white/boxed sets, glasses were nasty, cheap looking, moulded glass etc. Why was I sad? Because I used to work in the china dept of a large store. We had hundreds of different manufacturers and patterns available. Beautiful lead crystal glasses and fabulous paperweights and Scandinavian glass vases etc etc. Now taste seems to have merged into one sort of uniform Ikea style with little scope for originality. I accept that convenience and cost are important but it was so lovely to have a best tea set or special glasses for special occasions. Obviously the big manufacturers have gone bust or been bought up by China. A recent purchase of Spode vegetable dishes arrived with "Made in China" stamped on the bottom. What would Henry Sandon say?! Sorry. Moan over.

kittylester Mon 21-Sep-15 13:06:25

Not beautiful delicate china Jane but go to a Denby shop. I daren't go or we'd have a new dinner service every time they bought out a new one!

We have a Denby outlet near to us and I love going to look around at all the lovely stuff there. Mind you, my thing is kitchen ware rather than 'good' stuff. We also all know that I have more money than sense!! grin

Our local John Lewis is full of lovely stuff too but, admittedly, not hundreds of makes. But, life moves on doesn't it?

sunseeker Mon 21-Sep-15 13:12:50

Do people have "best" china anymore? I have a lovely bone china tea set purchased when I first married - I have used it maybe 10 times in the last 40 years. I also have a "best" dinner service which is only brought out on high days and holidays. I think homes are getting so much smaller that people just don't have the space to store these items now.

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 21-Sep-15 13:17:49

Yes, I've got a bone china teaset given to us as a wedding present. Never use it. Far to small cups and plates, and tea goes cold quickly.

John Lewis always seems to me to have loads of lovely stuff. Perhaps you need to find a bigger one.

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 21-Sep-15 13:19:14

Same as sunseeker with dinner service too. Wedding present one stays mostly in the sideboard. Used to come out at Xmas but don't use it then now because the plates are too small! Shame really.

cornergran Mon 21-Sep-15 13:22:32

We use Piortmeirion daily. DH is Welsh and we began collecting early days after a holiday visit. Can still buy the same range. Not to everyone's taste but it's colourful, tough and I love the variety. We keep a plain white set for 'best'. Never gets used. grin

Andyf Mon 21-Sep-15 13:29:44

I also want to start again when I'm in the Denby outlet shop Kitty. Can't justify it though. I still have a cupboard full of Arabasque which was collected 42 years ago (never used now) We now have Regency Green (which I wouldn't choose now).
We also have two boxes full of China dinner services up in the loft which came from MiL, never to see the light of day again ( China or mother in law).

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 21-Sep-15 13:31:18

AndyF "China or mother in law" grin

Jane10 Mon 21-Sep-15 13:43:09

It was a John Lewis I was so disappointed in! Maybe it looks like it stocks a lot compared to other shops but it was nothing compared to my old department. I agree about Denby btw. That's what we have for our everyday use. Problem is that its so heavy and the dinner plates so huge. Still like it though.
For my Mums 80th birthday tea party I got permission from her to use her good tea set -it was so good that it hadn't been used since my christening (almost 60 years before). My younger brother and sister obviously hadn't been important enough!

merlotgran Mon 21-Sep-15 13:46:30

My 'best china' is a dinner service my parents bought in 1957 in Aden. It was made in China (everything was) and has a beautiful pale green leaf pattern against an ivory background. It survived the journey back to UK and goodness knows how many subsequent moves. Mum passed it on to me fifteen years ago when she stopped cooking for visitors.

It's totally unique and very special. I'm hoping to leave it to one of my DGDs because they love the story of how my Dad collected it from a backstreet shop which was out of bounds to RAF personnel and then had to take a few emergency detours to avoid roadblocks.

Our everyday stuff comes from Sainsbury's. I like their kitchenware.

Maggiemaybe Mon 21-Sep-15 13:48:47

I had to scour the charity shops and car boot sales for 130 bone china cups, saucer and tea plate sets for DD2's wedding reception 3 years ago. I found some beautiful pieces and only summoned up the heart to ship them off to the charity shop last month. I kept 12 sets to roll out for the pudding course when we have friends round. They're very pretty, but jingl's right, they're too small and the tea goes cold. My DC won't put up with them and always get the mugs down, ungrateful and uncouth lot that they are. I was disappointed when I offered them to our local cricket club and they said they were too much trouble - they have a traditional gala every year and used to serve afternoon teas on bone china. Now it's all paper plates and cups. sad

absentgrandma Mon 21-Sep-15 13:55:26

Don't want to sell your Arabasque, do you AndyF? I've decided to add to the few bits I had in the sixties. It's so unbelievably kitsch, but I've fallen in love with it after all these years. And Debby is practically indestructible! I've just bought the coffee set on EBay, complete with ridiculously tall coffee jug which may not get used now we are using coffee machines. But it looks great on the kitchen dresser.

absentgrandma Mon 21-Sep-15 13:56:25

Denby!!!! B...y predictive text!.

hildajenniJ Mon 21-Sep-15 14:32:48

I have a set of Haddon Hall which comes out at Christmas and Easter, some of it is still in the original boxes. Here's a cup and saucer. How many people still use cups and saucers? My everyday china is Denby Intro in purple. I too love the Denby store, and want new crockery every time I go there.

janerowena Mon 21-Sep-15 14:37:56

All the potteries are closing, I know some of them only closed quite recently. One I used to buy mugs from relocated to China, for cheaper labour, and then ended up making cheap mugs with really horrible slogans on them rather than the beautiful large bone china floral mugs I used to buy. It's very sad - but Wedgwood is still going strong, online. Some of the more individual department stores still have good stocks of china, there is one in Sudbury and another in Bury St. Edmunds, but there is far less choice. You are better off going to an antique salesroom and hunting through the piles of it they often have. A friend of mine owned a lovely china shop in Kent - it closed down three years ago, everyone buys cheap sets from supermarkets or Wilko's now.

I do use the pretty cups if I have friends round for tea and cakes. I have twelve of them, but I shan't part with them. I shall lend them out for village events. I far prefer mugs.

Andyf Mon 21-Sep-15 14:40:49

Absent grandma, I have in the past thought about selling the arabasque but I really do still like it. (Maybe that's just sentiment).
Both of my DiLs have been offered it but apparently it's still not 'cool'.

Andyf Mon 21-Sep-15 14:46:15

Just remembered that I inherited a Susie Cooper 'red printtemps' dinner service. I love it and would use it if I thought it wasn't valuable.
Does anyone know anything about that range? I know that some Susie Cooper is valuable and some isn't.

Greyduster Mon 21-Sep-15 14:49:21

I don't use my Noritake dinner service much these days, although we used to have it out about four times a year for dinner parties, plus the crystal glasses. DD thinks bone china dinner services are very old hat! She has plain white from john lewis. DS has denby. We go to antique and collectables auctions sometimes and there are always large quantities of bone china, and often complete dinner services going. They don't go for a lot of money. I have a spode italian tea service i hardly use anymore, although the teapot was pressed into service at the weekend.

janerowena Mon 21-Sep-15 14:52:04

I couldn't find it for sale on Ebay, have a look at this lot, it should give you some idea.

I have a whole dinner service that my MiL gave me (I don't like it so have rarely used it) and she is thinking of taking it back and selling it on ebay. However one just like it came up for sale, and it is still there - three years on! For £25! It is pretty horrible grin but she still likes it - just doesn't want to use it!

Grannyknot Mon 21-Sep-15 15:03:20

hilda that's very pretty.

This is an aside - I've got one of those husbands who wants to have a say in every teaspoon that is bought and as a result I've never had really pretty or feminine crockery, linen, etc and have had to fight to have a few of my treasures out on display. He is all for minimalist and masculine.

So just recently when I bought a new every-day dinner service on a whim (our previous one was white with a navy blue stripe around the edge, how exciting) - my daughter commented "At least this time it has a bit of funk".

And for those who think I should have fought harder over the years to have more of a feminine influence around the place - my husband's trump card was always - I'm fighting the corner for the men who have had to sleep in pink rose bedlinen all their lives confused. When we were first married he used to say "Why don't women ever leave the loo seat up?" grin

Andyf Mon 21-Sep-15 15:04:32

Thankyou Janerowena ( must checkout how to do bold). Mine is the same as the coffee pot the seller is describing it as pink printtemps.
It doesn't appear to be really valuable but I suppose a whole dinner service with tureens etc would mount up. Thanks again.

ninathenana Mon 21-Sep-15 15:10:10

Grannyknot DD's ex was the same. The first thing she did when they separated was to go and buy a pink kettle grin

Stansgran Mon 21-Sep-15 15:11:16

I loved a Susie Cooper design when I was engaged but it was too dear and I collected some rather dreary brown stuff from John Lewis piecemeal . I passed it onto dd1 who lost it in a move. The next lot was a royal doulton pottery one which got too expensive to replace so I went with woolworths white Italian which I loved. It is now getting too chipped and I treated myself to a set of soupplates wedgwood festivity for my birthday to match a tea service I had. A few years ago iterated myself to a grown up dinner service conran night and day I think it's called and I really enjoy using my best everyday. I've still got my mothers and grandmothers but I hoping to pass them on to unsuspecting relatives when they get married.

Stansgran Mon 21-Sep-15 15:16:09

Iterated= I treated

PRINTMISS Mon 21-Sep-15 15:40:36

I would just now like to buy some very ordinary CUPS & SAUCERS. Nothing fancy. I do not want huge cups with no saucers, or tiny cups & saucers. Just TEA cups. I hate tea in a mug or large cup. I do not want a whole tea-service, just a few cups and saucers for our own use. I am sure lots of you will now tell me where I can purchase these, so in advance thank you.