When I think of stories of luck it is one story I think of. How one mans luck became the luck of many. John Caldwell Bloomfield inherited Castle Caldwell and the Caldwell estate upon his father’s death. In addition to inheriting that he also gained a severe problem. His people were struggling for food and work.
It was the aftermath of Irish potato famine and included the town of Belleek of County Fermanagh and County Donegal, Ireland.
He was unsure how to take care of his tenants. John was an amateur mineralogist and hoped to find minerals on his land that could in some way help his people. In his desperation, he ordered a geological survey of his land and was not disappointed. The land was mineral rich. It contained clay, feldspar, flint, kaolin, and shale. This was all of the raw materials he needed to make pottery.
The luck of Belleek was forever changed
Armed with this information he went into business with Robert Williams Armstrong and David McBirney to create a pottery business. Before the first pottery was made a rail line was built to the town, buildings were erected and jobs were created. John Caldwell took the care of his people to another level when the first wares the company ever produced were products meant for domestic use. He was able to provide dishware and other household items to the community at a fair price.
Soon the wares became higher quality and more diverse. Mortars, floor tiles, hospital pans, tableware, telegraph insulators, washstands among other things. In a short amount of time Parian porcelain was added in small amounts to the pottery and Belleek Pottery in its modern form was born. The company has changed its focus over the years from high-end items back to more everyday items.
John Caldwell Bloomfield was lucky that all of the materials he needed were on the land. It was not just his luck, it became the luck of all the people, all the families that needed that help. I like to think that by having a piece of Belleek it becomes our story and out luck too.