Inspiration comes from far and wide in product design but it takes a keen and imaginative eye to come up with coffee sets and home wares influenced by ribbed electrical insulators!

Carlton Ware have been known for salad ware, money boxes, coffee sets, tea pots, Cadburys promotional ware, ginger jars, crested ware, branded pub ashtrays and everything in between but this range is one that seems to be often overlooked despite the iconic design and representation of the period.

This range, one of the more forward thinking designs at the time, came about after a takeover of Carlton Ware in the late 1960’s by Arthur Wood & Sons. Out went the leafy dishes and dainty coffee pots and in came an altogether more ‘of the time’ and a bit more forward thinking vibe.

We’ve seen two different base marks on these wares, a mixture of the Carlton Ware script and the more modern era basic text semi circle rubber stamp.

Images Left to right : Caramel – Michael Perry, Acid Green – NoodleSoup, Navy – Iconic Design, White Flowers – Retro Mojo


Is it Wellington?

We’ve seen this range referred to as Canterbury on a number of sites, it’s been called both Wellington and Canterbury on the CarltonWare.biz website, a group we would deem to be quite authoritative on the matter. A Carlton Ware literature collector on one website states ‘The first Wellington advert I have is dated February 1971 and it seems that this range was introduced at the Blackpool Trade fair in February that year.’

A Carlton Ware author’s website lists the Pattern numbers for Canterbury Tea & Coffee sets as numbers 2900 – 3000 and dates it to 1969 – 1970, which completely goes against the dates for the ‘Blackpool trade fair’ literature!

A Google image search turns up next to nothing for Carlton Ware Canterbury but turns up a huge number of images for Carlton Ware Wellington. It may well be that the terminology has evolved over time for right or wrong but we will always refer to these as Wellington Ware.


all available for sale at Retro Mojo


IMAGES LEFT TO RIGHT : NAVY cream jug and cups – ICONIC DESIGN, Acid green cups, saucers,cream jug and sugar bowl – ebay, three footed mugs – ebay


Produced from around 1971 to about 1974, so a fair few units must’ve shipped to keep it going for four years or so! Either it was so popular no one wants to let it go or a lot was damaged through use because generally we don’t see a huge amount of it in the marketplace.

The coffee sets, (Coffee Pot, Cups, Saucers, Cream Jug and Sugar Bowl), could be found in three transfer printed colourways – A caramel with sunflowers, a petrol blue set with flower pattern and a white set with flower pattern, (Seen in Miller’s ‘Collecting the 70’s’).

These also came in plain colours, white, red, orange lime/acid green, caramel, petrol blue, navy blue, dark brown and we believe black although we’ve only seen this in a vase.

IMAGES LEFT TO RIGHT : white coffee set – ebay, caramel sunflower coffee set – retro mojo, orange coffee set – dee speed


More common shapes are the coffee pots, coffee cups and saucers, cream jugs and sugar bowls, closely followed by footed coffee cups. For the table, although a little harder to find, are salt and pepper shakers, oil/vinegar flasks, butter dishes, lidded jam pots, spice jars and some fantastic vases.

A great range of candle sticks could also be found; these appeared in two, three and five flanged versions, very similar in style to Timo Sarpaneva and Robert Welch designs.

IMAGES LEFT TO RIGHT : Spice jars – planet utopia, salt and peppers – our work shop, vase, vinegar jar, candlestick – potshots


image 20th Century Collector


orange vase – NOODLESOUP


Lastly on the scale of ‘Good luck to finding one’ we have a cigarette box and matching lighter!

image pineapple retro


What’s it worth?

Of the transfer printer coffee sets the white with pink and red flowers seems to be the more desirable although they are all very cool! The single colour coffee sets tend to fly of the shelves a bit quicker and full sets of either in good condition can be found from £50 to £75. Expect to pay £5-8 for individual coffee set components depending on the colour and pattern.

The lesser seen individual items can be picked up from around £20 for salt and peppers, £30-40 for vases and up to £50 for the cigarette box and lighter.


Please let us know if you find any colours, patterns or shapes not covered here. We really do love this range and are always looking to learn more 🙂


Just in at Retro Mojo, this cute little storage jar in acid green, shoes crazing and signs of use but a great little item none the less!

Click here to view


Also just found this image from a lot sold at Denham’s Auctioneers and had to include it!



Many thanks to Heather @ 20thCenturyCollector, Sophie @ Pineapple Retro, Jay @ Planet Utopia, Dee Speed, Valerie and Robert @ Iconic DesignMichael Perry, Rachel Kay, Pui @ Orson Workshop, Harvey @ Pot Shots.

I have tried to contact some image rights holder to no avail, so I hope an image credit and link back will suffice.